Friday, February 17, 2012

Black Spitting Cobra and Black-necked Spitting cobra

Black Spitting Cobra (Naja Nigricollis)

Black Spitting Cobras are strong build and long cobras the colour can be variable depending on the region of origin. Some specimens are blackish, pale grey from colour with a yellow or reddish ventral side with a broad black neck band, and often do they have a orange or pinkish bar on the neck. Other specimens can be yellowish brown or have a yellow copper colour and are missing the bandings around the neck and also the reddish colour on the belly. Other specimens are known to be deep red-brown from colour, agqain other specimens maybe olive brown or greenish in colour and some of them are often mistaken as the Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica).

Black Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis woodi) ; Also this species is a strongly build snake but is much smaller than the Black-necked. Adults are shiny uniform black from above and on the belly with sometimes a blue gloss over the ventral scales. Juveniles are often lighter in colour and seem to be greyish with a black head and neck.

Black Spitting Cobra Habitat
This Black Spitting Cobra subspecies lives in savanna regions and semi-dessert. They can be found on heights up to 1800 m. They also live in coastal scrubs and dry grassland. They hide in termite mountains and abundant rodent holes, but also hollow trees and trunks are favorit hiding place. This subspecies is nocturnal. Its often found in human surrounding hunting for pest animals like rats and mice. This species is also a good climber and is often found in trees. Naja nigricollis woodi; This species can be found in rocky area and mountains they are often found nearby permanent water holes. They hide in rock outcrops and is pretty rare and not often seen. Black Naked Spitting Cobra Naja nigricollis nigricincta; This species is also nocturnal and can be found in semi dessert and dry savanna regions. In the morning can they be found basking nearby there hiding places that are mostly termite mounts and abundant rodent holes.

Naja nigricollis nigricinta; This is probably the on of the most beautiful cobras in Africa the main colour is greyish brown, yellowish or pink with a yellowish, light brown or white belly. They have all over the body and tail dark bands which gives them their second name Zebra Spitting Cobra, these bands can be black, or dark brown from colour. The throat of this species is dark coloured or black. According to Bill Branch do these cobra have 51-86 bands over the body and 13-32 bands over the tail.

Geographic range:
Black Spitting Cobra: Eastern Africa , Western and eastern Kenya ,wide spread in Uganda , South-western Africa , Tanzenia , Rwanda , Burundi , Senegal and Namibia . Naja nigricollis woodi; South Africa Cape province, Western and central Namibia . Naja nigricollis nigricincta; Central and Northern Namibia probably in South Angola .

Behaviour (only Naja nigricollis nigricollis)
Black-necked Spitting cobras can be very pleasant animals to keep captive bred specimens are often pretty docile in captivity but wild catch adults are furious spitters and shy animals to keep. Depending on the day temperature are day diurnal or nocturnal. In day time they often bask or hide in the enclosure at night they crawl around searching for food. Black-necked Spitting cobra are large snakes that need to be kept in fairly large enclosures to keep them happy. Handling them is fairly easy by the tailing technique or locking them in a hide box. 

Captive bred specimens can be easily fed with rodents like mice and rats also chicks will be accepted often dead or alive. Wild catched animals can often give problems in feeding especially when the snakes come out of a region were they ate mainly frogs and lizards. In the wild do they eat almost everything depending on the place where they live.

Black Spitting Cobra Breeding
In the wild is mating season at end of winter or beginning of summer and the babies hatch from the eggs in April and may. This season is often also the mating season in captivity but some snakes start mating in February or march and after a gestation period of 90 – 100 days does the female lay 10-24 eggs the eggs will hatch after 60-70 days and the baies are at birth 20-25 cm in length. The eggs need to be hatched on a temperature of 28-300C.

Black Spitting Cobra Enclosure
Black Spitting Cobras are large and active snakes that need a large enclosure to crawl and climb around the size for a pair of these snakes should be 120 x 50 x 50 cm (length x height x wide). As a substrate we can use river sand, gravel or henna chips. As decoration we can use rocks, trunks, and plastic plants for hiding. Even when this snakes lives in a dry habitat do they like a large water bowl
to take a bath. The average temperature in the enclosure should be 25-320C in daytime and at night 22-250C, the humidity most be around 60%.

This Black Spitting Cobra is recognized in tree subspecies:
1. Black-necked Spitting cobra (Naja nigricollis nigricollis)
2. Black Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis woodi)
3. Western Barred Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis nigricincta)

Naja nigricollis (Black Spitting Cobra); This is the largest species and can measure a lenght of 120 -220 cm but specimens are known to grow up to 280 cm.

Naja nigricollis woodi; This species has a average length of 120 – 150 cm with a max. of 200 cm. Which makes this subspecies a medium size spitting cobra.

Naja nigricollis nigricinta; Is the smallest subspecies of these cobras with a average length of 100 – 120 cm with a max of 150 cm.


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