Western Barred Spitting Cobra


A long snake of medium-build. Adults measure from1,2 – 1,75 m long. The head is distinct from the neck. The eye is medium with a round pupil and a black iris. Adult colouration is light-grey to pinkish, with 70 – 100 black bands that encircle body and tail, accounting for the name ‘Zebra Cobra’.  The throat has a single broad, black band. Smooth dorsal scales are in 21 rows at mid-body, the subcaudal scales are paired and the anal shield is entire.

Fixed front fangs, modified with L-shaped canal that exists on front of fang, enabling snake to defensively spray venom towards attacker’s eyes.

Potent cytotoxin causing pain, swelling, blistering and extensive, superficial tissue destruction which may require surgical repair. Numerous bites are reported. Venom in eyes causes extreme pain and should immediately be washed out with copious amounts of water to prevent permanent damage and blindness which after medical attention must be sought as soon as possible. Polyvalent anti-venom is not specific, nor apparently effective but further testing is currently underway. Polyvalent anti-venom should however be administered in serious bites.

Arid, savanna bushveld.

Mainly nocturnal, but also active during the day. A shy snake that will choose to escape, but if cornered it will spread a hood and spit or bite readily. Attracted to human habitation by the presence of rodents, frogs, and water. People get bitten by this cobra while asleep in their bed at night.
Reproduces by egg-laying.