False Water Cobra Caresheet


Background Information
False Water Cobra's are a large colubrid species from South America. Mainly found in Brazil but also in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. Growing up to 8ft in length, they get their name from displaying the famous cobra hood when threatnened however they are not an actual species of cobra, hence the name false cobra. They do come equiped with venom that once listed them as DWA but due to their poor rear fanged delivery system they were removed from the list. Gold, brown and black in colouration with a stocky strong build this species has the pace to chase down prey as well as amubush

Level of Experience



Marshy areas prefrably but also dry woodlands

Life Span

20 years

Active Time of Day


Natural Prey

Rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, bats, fish

Terrestrial / Semi Arboreal / Arboreal / Aquatic / Fossorial

Terrestrial / Semi - Aquatic


Mate: Spring
Lay: Summer

Clutch Size

Average is normally 14 – 24 but can be up to 30

Breeding Weights / Length / Age

Males: 160g+ / 3ft / 2 years of age
Females: 300g+ / 5ft / 4-5 years of age

Brumation Time

2 months

Brumation Temperature

12 – 18 ‘C

Incubation Time

60 - 85 days

Incubation Temperature

28 – 31 ’C

There are 2 types of false cobra colourations you can find in the wild:

Classic (Wildtype) - Hypomelanistic

Captive Requirements and Welfare
This species is very wired so respect must be given and they should be treated as a DWA even though they were removed. False Water Cobra's have a crazily aggressive food response so if you do get bitten don't let them chew for too long as their venom is not greatly understood in terms of potency and has been compared to the toxicity of the Timber Rattlesnake. Reactions vary from person to person, some have severe pain and the area swell up where as others don't seem to get as affected. Worse case scenario permant function damage therefore when attempting to handle it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that a hook is used as a first line of handling to make them aware that food isn't present. With regular handling false water cobras do tame down very well and can give the reward of having a calm cobra. Hatchlings are a bit more unpredictable therefore gloves could always be a safe way to go until they calm down and feel used to being handled. Temperatures over 32'C have proven fatal and although they come from a humid climate this is not an important factor as they prefer wet and dry over humidity. 65% is ample and every so often is best.

Vivarium size

60x45x45cm for hatchling
4 - 5ft x 2ft x 2ft for adult

Daytime Temperature (cool – warm)

22 – 28 ‘C

Night-time Temperature

18 – 22 ‘C

Heating / Lighting Equipment (on timers)

Spot bulb during day, room temperature at night

Lighting - T8 2% Natural sun Arcadia UV tube


Most Natural: Dried Forest Floor Bedding mixed with dry soil
Alternatives: Aspen or Dried Reptile Bark


2 at minimum: one on each side a 3rd moss hide during shedding would be beneficial


Branches and fake plants allow the opportunity to climb and aids shedding


Fresh water topped up when needed clean out water bowl every few days to prevent slime build up

Food (Feeding)

Pinkies for hatchlings then increase the size as they grow. Always take the snake out and feed in a separate box to prevent substrate being eaten.


Spot pick weekly, full clean monthly