Forest cobra

Naja melanoleuca

SUBFAMILY

Elapinae

TAXONOMY

Naja melanoleuca Hallowell, 1857, Gaboon.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The forest cobra has a length of 79-118 in (2-3 m). With its large, thick body, it is Africa's largest cobra. Its color is variable by region but usually is dark with crossbars or blotches.

DISTRIBUTION

Western and central Africa and eastern coastal parts of southern Africa.

HABITAT

This species generally inhabits forest and woodland, but it can also be found in open savanna and grassland in some parts of its range.

BEHAVIOR

The forest cobra is fast, very active, and an agile climber. It is active both day and night and can be aggressive if not able to retreat.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This is an active forager that feeds on a wide variety of prey, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The female lays 15-26 eggs.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This species is venomous, but little is known about the effects of a bite because the snake is successful at avoiding humans. ♦

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