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the web of life in southern Africa

Naja annulifera (Snouted cobra, Egyptian cobra, Banded cobra)

Wipneuskobra, Bosveldkapel [Afrikaans}; isiKhotsholo [Xhosa]; uPhempethwane [Zulu]; iLoyi [Ndebele]; Masumo [South Sotho]; Mungu [Shona].

 Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria > Squamata > Serpentes (snakes) > Family: Elapidae > Genus: Naja

Naja annulifera (Snouted cobra, Egyptian cobra, Banded cobra), KwaZulu-Natal [B. Maritz from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Naja annulifera (Snouted cobra, Egyptian cobra, Banded cobra), Limpopo [G. Tomsett from SARCA Virtual Museum]


This snake species can be identified by the following features; a particularly large hood, a dark throat band, its dark brown or blue black colouration (however some individuals have a banded colouration) and its habit of basking in close proximity to its retreat. It grows to an average length of 1.8 meters but can be as long as 2.5 meters in length.

Distribution and habitat

This snake is present in the following areas Limpopo, the North West, northern Gauteng and northern KwaZulu-Natal. It is also found in southern Mozambique, eastern Botswana and Zimbabwe. Its favoured habitat includes savanna, lowveld and bushveld areas. It is also able to climb trees. 


Feeds on toads, rodents, birds (especially poultry), other snakes (especially Puff adders).

Predators, parasites and disease

It is fed on by birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles) and other snakes


Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 8 and 33 eggs in early summer.


This cobra species has an average life span of 20 years.

Medical importance

The Snouted cobra has a very powerful and potentially fatal neurotoxic venom which causes respiratory failure and intense pain in the affected limb. Luckily an antivenom is available.



  • Broadley, D.G. 1983. FitzSimons' Snakes of Southern Africa. Delta Books, Johannesburg.

  • Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa. Struik Publishing, Cape Town.