False Water Cobra

As the name suggests, the False Water Cobra is not an actual cobra but hoods like the latter, especially when threatened. However, unlike other cobras, it does not rise vertically but remains in a horizontal posture.

Scientific Classification


Table Of Content

Scientific Classification


This South American native is known to inflict painful bites out of aggression.  Yet, they have a docile temperament and are easy to maintain, making for a preferred pet choice among many.

False Water Cobra


Size: Length:  6 to 7 ft (2 m) ¸ Weight: 10 pounds (4.53 kg)

Body: They are medium-sized, though heavy. The males are smaller than the females.

Hood: The hood ranges from 4-8 inches in width, made of appendages projecting from their neck vertebrae.

Coloration: It is brown or olive green at the base, with dark bands or spots covering its body, getting deeper at the tail.


Through breeding, the False water cobra has developed several morphs. The most common one is ‘hypo’ , a combination of orange, light brown, and yellow. Also, ‘lavender’, a shade of grey and light purple, is seen but is rarer.

Range and Distribution

The False water cobra is found in South America, mainly Paraguay, Argentina, eastern Bolivia and southern Brazil.


The snake inhabits marshlands surrounding the tropical rainforests. They are sometimes spotted in dry regions, though it is rare.

False Water Cobra Enclosure
False Water Cobra Picture


It can live for around 10 years in the wild and almost 20 years in captivity.


The False water cobra’s diet consists of fish, frogs and other aquatic amphibians, mammals, birds, rodents alongside other reptiles.


  • This snake is primarily diurnal.
  • It is very curious and loves to explore its surroundings by swimming, climbing, or burrowing.
  • They are generally docile and even-tempered but display fierceness while hunting. It will grab its prey and coil its body around them, typical of most snakes.
False Water Cobra Snake
False Water Cobra Setup


It faces few natural enemies, only threatened by other snakes and crocodiles.


  • The False water cobra can flatten its neck and other parts of its body to form a hood, a feature not seen in true cobras.
  • It has large eyes allowing excellent daytime vision.
  • The snake can camouflage in rainforests easily with its natural color.

Mating and Reproduction

The mating season depends mainly on the females as their sexual activity may be either seasonal or annually, while the males are sexually active year-round. Up to two clutches are laid annually, each consisting of an average of 14 to 24 eggs.

False Water Cobra Baby
False Water Cobra Size

Life Cycle

The eggs hatch after incubating for 60 days. The juveniles are darker, eventually taking on the coloration of the adults.

Are they venomous

This snake doesn’t have a venom sac and cannot spit. Instead, it relies on its Duvernoy’s gland (separate from its salivary gland) to inject poison via a bite.

Their venom causes allergic reactions in humans, and if exposed to large doses, uncomfortable swelling may occur. The bite itself can leave bruising and discomfort.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the False Water cobra has not been recorded.

False Water Cobra Fangs
False Water Cobra Hood

Interesting Facts

  • A study about venomous snakes in 1999 reported that a False water cobra bit an 18-year old pet shop employee who went through severe muscle paralysis. However, his symptoms were assumed to be due to the anxiety from the attack and not the bite itself.

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