Snouted Cobra (Naja annulifera) – “Phemphetfwane”
More commonly found in the Lowveld, but also found in the Middle and Highveld regions of Swaziland. It is reasonably common, but bites from this snake are quite rare in humans. Surprisingly, with the drought we have experience the last two years, we have rescued more of this species than ever before, and we have had to treat several humans and their pets.
This non-spitting cobra is slender, averaging 1.2m but can reach 2m or longer when it becomes quite thickset and robust. The head is distinct from the neck and large specimens have very distinct, bulging temporal muscles.
The colour is variable but more often brown or light brown on the back, with lighter cream scales inbetween. The underside is a light yellow, which is usually heavily mottled. It is easily identified by the broad, dark honey-coloured band on the throat. When threatened it will left the head off the ground and spread an impressive hood. These snakes are very defensive and they will strike readily and repeatedly whilst possibly making a hissing sound.
A banded phase occurs throughout the range of the species, but has to date not been found in Swaziland. The banding is hardly discernable in hatchlings, but by the time a snake attains a length of 600 mm, it is black with seven to nine yellow bands on the body and one or two on the tail. The light bands are usually about half the width of the dark ones and may be divided by a narrow black transverse line. The yellow bands may encircle the body, but are frequently mottled with black ventrally.
Venom: Predominantly Neurotoxic and mildly Cytotoxic