There are lots of venomous Cobras found in Southern Africa. Generally reclusive, cobras prefer to retreat than to face an attacker. When confronted, they rear up, spread a hood to appear more menacing and will strike repeatedly if provoked. This article concentrates on cobra species endemic to Botswana in Southern Africa.
Cape Cobra (Naja Nivea)
This beautiful snake ranges in color from a mottled, sandy brown to lemon yellow. The average length is between 1.2 to 1.4 meters. The Cape Cobra lives in arid savanna and desert regions of Southern Africa. This African cobra one of the deadliest snakes in the world, having a powerful neurotoxic venom.
Spitting Cobras: Black-necked Venomous Cobras Found in Southern Africa
Mostly found in Northern Botswana, the most common species found in this region are the Black-necked Spitting Cobra and two sub-species; the Western Barred Spitting Cobra and the Black Spitting Cobra. They actively search for toads, small mammals, birds, lizards and geckos at dusk or during the day. If confronted, Spitting Cobras will spit venom at the eyes of their attacker. They can also bite which can prove to be fatal.
Shield Cobra (Aspidelaps Scutatus)
A short, stocky species of snake, this cobra is well adapted to blend in to a sandy or stony environment and is found in most of Botswana, Namibia and into Southern Mozambique. They conceal themselves during the day and come out to forage in the early evening and night. This cobra species cannot spread a hood.
These are distinctive looking, Two species belong to this category, the true Bushveld cobra (Naja annulifera) and the Snouted cobra (Naja anchietae). Preferring to live in savanna, they are not aggressive unless threatened.
All the above cobras are very dangerous to humans and you must go to hospital if a cobra bites you.
If walking in the bush in Botswana, always wear thick soled shoes or boots and keep alert, particularly where there are stone pathways where snakes will bask at dusk. If you see a cobra, retreat slowly. After bitten, try to identify the snake or at least give a good description to hospital staff. Do not apply a tourniquet or attempt to suck the poison out of the bite. Immobilize the affected limb and get immediate medical attention. Many well-equipped bush and game lodges in Botswana have anti-venom available.
Be careful! These venomous cobras found in Southern Africa could be dangerous!
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