Anchieta's Cobra, Angolan Cobra Naja anchietae
(Anchieta se Kobra)
Family: Elapidae. Subfamily: ElapinaeCharacteristics
• Often basking near its retreat
• Found along wooded river banks
• Broad head
• Non-spitting, but spreads its hood when cornered
• Active at duskDescription
This is a large, slightly depressed, tapered and moderately slender-bodied species with a medium-length tail. It has a large and impressive hood, with a distinctive brown neck band in juveniles. Anchieta's Cobra has a broad head, flattened and slightly distinct from the neck. The canthus is distinct. The snout is rounded and the eyes are medium in size with round pupils. Adults average around 1m in length.
Colouration varies from yellowish-brown to dark brown or almost black for the plain phase. Prominent dark bands occur on juveniles's necks but fade as they age. The venter is usually yellow, heavily blotched with dark brown, and the throat band, covering ca. ventrals 12-23, becomes purple-brown in mature snakes.
There is also a banded phase which usually has 7 yellowish bands on the body and 2 on the tail. The banded phase is more common in males.
Similar species: Regarded as conspeciﬁc until recently, the Anchieta’s Cobra Naja anchietae
is restricted to south-western Africa whereas the Snouted Cobra Naja annulifera
occurs in the south-east (also distinguised by scalation: it has 19 midbody dorsal scale rows, 19 dorsal scale rows around neck). Both are large mainly crepuscular snakes.Scalation
Midbody scales are in 17 rows, with 179-200 ventrals and 51-S6 paired subcaudals. The anal shield is entire. There are 7 (sometimes 8) upper labials that do not enter the eye and 8 or 9 (rarely 10) lower labials, as well as 1 preocular and 2 postoculars. Temporals are variable, 1 + 2 or 1 + 3.
The non-spitting cobra sare characterised by the possession of a row of subocular scales separating the eye from the supralabials, which distinguishes it from all other cobras except N. nivea, which lacks this distinguishing feature.Geographical distribution
This species is found in northern Botswana and northern Namibia and further north into Angola and Zambia.Taxonomy
Historically, the distribution of the Egyptian Cobra Naja haje
was thought to extend from Morocco to Egypt along the northern edge of the Sahara, along the Nile valley, and then in the savannas of tropical Africa from Sudan to Senegal and South Africa. Several subspecies have been recognised, amongst them N. h. annulifera
Peters, 1854, in eastern parts of southern Africa, and N. h. anchietae
Bocage, 1879, from western parts of southern Africa. Based on morphological character analysis, Broadley (1995) raised N. annulifera
to species level, with N. a. anchietae
as a subspecies, thus including all the southern populations of N. haje
sensu lato. This was later confirmed through mtDNA sequence analysis by Broadley & Wüster (2004), who also found evidence to recognise N. anchietae
as a separate species from N. annulifera
This cobra is usually found in arid savanna (often along rivers) or grassland, never forest or desert regions.Behaviour
This is a terrestrial and nocturnal species, emerging at dusk to forage. It is often seen basking under the sun near its home base during the day. It usually has a preferred home base in abandoned termite mounds, rock holes, or burrows to which it returns. It is not generally aggressive, but if confronted, it will rear up the front of its body and spread an impressive 10-12-cm-wide hood, hiss and may strike. It may also feign death. Diet
It feeds on a wide variety of prey, including toads, rodents, birds (including poultry), bird eggs, lizards and other snakes.Predators
This species is preyed upon by birds of prey, especially snake eagles and secretary birds. It is also prey to some mongoose species and other snakes.Reproduction
This species is oviparous. The female lays between 47 and 60 eggs in summer. The hatchlings measure 22-34 cm.Venom
This cobra will bite readily when confronted.
Venom of this species is primarily neurotoxic and cardiotoxic. As a large species, it can inject relatively large quantities of venom in a single bite. It has been known to have caused human fatalities.
Links: Johan Marais: What's that Snake?: A Starter's Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa
; Johan Marais: A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa
Last edited by aat on Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.