The Mozambique spitting cobra (Naja mossambica) is a dangerous snake, endemic to the south of the African continent. They have a slender structure and are considered to be one of the smaller cobra species.
Being spitting cobras, these snakes are able to project their venom at a distance of about 6.5-9.8 ft (200-300 cm), which is comparable to other species of spitting cobras that can spit their venom up to 7.8 ft (240 cm) or more. The venom of a Mozambique spitting cobra is cytotoxic, meaning those who are bitten experience tissue damage, accompanied by pain. However, a more serious condition arises if their venom comes into contact with a person's eyes as it can lead to blindness. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that these snakes are described as being nervous and prefer fleeing, rather than using their venom to defend themselves. The carnivorous diet of this snake includes various small mammals, insects, and even other snakes like the puff adder. They make homes out of hollow logs, termite mounds, and rocky areas near water bodies. The hatchlings can be found during the daytime, but most adults are active at night.
The Mozambique spitting cobra (Naja mossambica) is a kind of venomous snake seen in Africa, deemed as one of the deadliest and most dangerous snakes. Their bite results in local tissue damage and pain.
This snake belongs to the class Reptilia. They are a part of the genus Naja which comprises the true cobra species.
The exact population of this snake has not been ascertained, but their distribution seems to be widespread. They are fairly common in southern Africa which comprises their natural range.
The Mozambique spitting cobra is endemic to southern Africa and not found anywhere else in the world. Their geographical distribution is in countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Angola, and Zambia.
The habitat of Mozambique spitting cobras mainly constitutes savannas in tropical and subtropical zones of Africa. They are also found in forests and shrublands. They prefer living near water bodies and reside in hollow logs, rocky areas, and termite mounds.
Generally, cobras are solitary creatures who only come together to reproduce. The same can be assumed about the Mozambique spitting cobra. Additionally, they like to avoid interactions with humans.
The lifespan of a Mozambique spitting cobra is 20 years in captivity.
The mating season occurs in April or May for this snake. A gestation period of two months is followed, after which the female snake lays 10-22 eggs. The eggs hatch after 65-90 days. The hatchlings only measure about 9-10 in (23-25 cm).
The conservation status of the Mozambique spitting cobra (Naja mossambica) is marked as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. There are no known threats to cause endangerment to this snake.
Mozambique spitting cobras have quite a distinct appearance which sets them apart from other kinds of snakes. Their upper parts are described as being brown or olive with scales which has black edges. The skin appears net-like due to the presence of black between their scales. On the underside, the scales are yellowish or salmon pink in color with brown or black edges or speckles. They also have black bands across their throat.
This snake species from southern Africa is considered to be one of the most dangerous snakes. They are not really considered cute, except by snake enthusiasts.
The communication methods in cobras are limited to low-frequency sounds, pheromones, and vibrations. It is thought that the Mozambique spitting cobra also follows similar communication patterns. Additionally, this snake is also capable of rearing up and spreading its hood as a form of visual cue for its defense.
The Mozambique spitting cobra is considered to be one of the smaller cobra species. Their length ranges between 35-41 in (90-105 cm). However, the largest snake of this species was measured at 60.6 in (154 cm). When compared to another related cobra species, the Indian cobra which measures between 39-59 in (100-150 cm), it quite a bit shorter than the largest snake!
In general, cobras are known to move or strike with exceptional speed. The same goes for Mozambique spitting cobras which are quite fast, both while moving from one place to another, or while striking their prey or humans.
The weight of a Mozambique spitting cobra is between 10-15 lb (4.5-7 kg).
The male and female snakes of this species are known as male Mozambique spitting cobras and female Mozambique spitting cobras.
A baby Mozambique spitting cobra is known as a hatchling snake or a snakelet.
These snakes are carnivorous in nature and feed on birds, small mammals like mice, insects, amphibians, and decomposing carcasses. They also eat other snakes like the venomous black mamba and puff adder as they are immune to their venom.
This African snake species is better described as venomous than poisonous. They have cytotoxic venom which they can either deliver through a bite or through spitting with the help of their fangs.
Considering the venomous nature of this snake and its needs and requirements, it would be best to let it be in the wild.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The special arrangement of fangs in these snakes helps them in spitting their venom which covers an impressive distance. Their fangs have openings in the front in such a way that the venom is produced at a right angle to each fang. They can spray or spit their venom out with their hood raised or on the ground.
The Mozambique spitting cobra is not among this list of cobras found in India.
Spitting cobras can spit venom as far as 4-8 ft (1.2-2.4 m).
The Mozambique spitting cobra (Naja mossambica) was first described by Wilhelm Peters in 1854 after he traveled to Mozambique and collected specimens of various plants, animals, and reptiles. This snake is capable of spitting its venom through its fangs. It can spit venom after rearing up and spreading its hood or while being on the ground. The collection of this snake from Mozambique and its capability to spit venom has resulted in its nomenclature.
The Mozambique spitting cobra is a highly dangerous African snake. This species has cytotoxic venom and a bite from them is certainly fatal for their prey and highly dangerous for humans and can be fatal. Their bites are most commonly reported to occur when people are sleeping. The toxins in their venom cause considerable tissue destruction and pain. Additionally, these snakes are known to spray or spit their venom towards the eyes which could lead to blindness if not taken care of immediately. They can spit their venom up to a distance of 6.5-9.8 ft (200-300 cm).
An antivenom is being developed to counter this venomous snake. However, like other spitting cobras, if their venom only comes in contact with other body parts like arms and face, there are no adverse effects. Additionally, the first line of defense for these cobras is to flee as they do not like wasting their venom. Fortunately, the Mozambique spitting cobra is nearly not as deadly as the Caspian cobra, the deadliest cobra species in the world.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our thorny dragon and northern curly-tailed lizard facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Mozambique spitting cobra coloring pages.