Forest cobras (Naja melanoleuca) are members of family Elapidae. They are big cobras. Called "black and white cobras" due to their body patterning, forest cobras are often combinations of black and white, with dark upper bodies and pale white or off-white undersides. Their shiny top portions, however, are frequently brownish-yellow rather than black.
Forest cobras tend to weigh between 5 and 8 pounds, they measure 6 to 8 feet. The arboreal meat-eating reptiles have broad, flesh-based diets; some of their typical prey include fellow fish, rodents, birds, frogs and other reptiles. In captivity, they generally eat rats. These venomous snakes employ neurotoxins to paralyze their targeted meals. When forest cobras live in captive settings like zoos, they can live for as long as 18 years. They lead independent, rather than companionable, lifestyles. They are highly aquatic. In times of breeding, the females of the species produce between 15 and 26 eggs. They are oviparous, and their eggs hatch externally.
For living environment, forest cobras are found in a multitude of habitat types. They can adjust swiftly to diverse surroundings, and as such inhabit damp savannas, thickets, rainforests, lowland forests, rivers, wetlands, plantations, streams, grasslands and coastal locales. Forest cobras can reside at heights of more than 9,000 feet. They are rapid, nimble snakes and are swift whether they're within trees or on the ground.
Forest cobras hail from Africa -- specifically the central portion of the continent and then further south. Their geographic grounds are made up of nations such as Uganda, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Congo, the Central African Republic and Cameroon, among others.
Forest cobra bites intimidate many due to their venomous natures. When forest cobras encounter human beings, they often react by retreating immediately to clandestine hiding spots. If they are frustrated and feel out of options, however, they will bite. The sturdy snakes' venom can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. If you ever experience a bite from a forest cobra, seek medical assistance immediately. Without urgent attention, death is a possibility, so take the matter seriously and do not hesitate to get help.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images