A large Colubrid snake, the False Water Cobra is not related to true Cobras. It does however exhibit a small hood when threatened, but does not rear up. It has been recorded as growing to around three metres in length, and although regarded as only mildly venomous caution should be exhibited, especially with a full-grown adult snake. The fangs are at the rear of the mouth, they need to bite and chew – a larger specimen has more chance of envenomation.
They originate from tropical rainforest areas of South America, and are found in wet humid areas such as marshes. For this reason, and the venom, this species is best suited to those with a little more experience. Providing a humid area in captive conditions can be tricky, get them to wet and they will get skin blister disease – in reality its quite easy, just provide a contain damp area such as a plastic box filled with sphagnum moss. This allows then to dry out when not in the box, alleviating the risk of ailments. A large vivarium for an adult will be required, many keepers consider a six feet long vivarium to be a minimum. Plenty of hides, including the humid area, and a large water area will cater for their needs – they do occasionally climb, so branches may be appreciated. Heating is best provided by an overhead heater, we use ceramic heaters, some keepers prefer halogen or incandescent bulbs. Temperatures should be around 30C under the basking area during the day, lowering to an ambient of around 24C at night. Lighting is often provided by keepers, we would suggest a T5 tube of no more than 7%, Arcadia’s ShadeDweller is ideal. They are a messy snake, so particular attention to hygiene must be adhered too – regular careful cleaning and maintenance of the vivarium is essential.
Food is in the way of appropriately sizes rodents, available commercially in frozen form.