Naja siamensis

Naja siamensis
Indo-Chinese Spitting Cobra
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Naja
Species: N. siamensis
Binomial name
Naja siamensis
Laurenti, 1768

Naja siamensis or the Indo-Chinese Cobra is a species of spitting cobra found in Southeast Asia. It is one of the six spitting cobras found in Asia.



This is a medium-sized cobra with a rather thick body. The body color of this species is variable from grey to brown to black, with white spots or stripes. The white patterning can be so prolific that it covers the majority of the snake. Adults average 90–120 cm (3–4 ft) in length, and can reach a maximum of 1.6 metres (5 ft).

This species should not be confused with Naja kaouthia, the Monocled cobra, which has similar habitat, size and appearance.

Distribution and habitat

It is found in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Burma. It occupies a range of habitats including lowlands, hills, plains, and woodland. It is sometimes attracted to human settlements because of the abundant populations of rodents in and around these areas.


It is a primarily nocturnal species.[citation needed] Interestingly, it shows variable temperament depending on the time of day it is encountered. When threatened during daylight hours, the snake is generally timid and seeks refuge in the nearest burrow. However, when the snake is threatened at night, it is more aggressive and is more likely to stand its ground, rear up and display its hood.

This cobra is capable of spraying venom up to 3 metres (10 ft). It usually aims for the intruder's head.


It usually feeds on rodents, birds, and small reptiles.


Like most elapids, its venom is primarily neurotoxic. Bite symptoms include pain, swelling and necrosis around the wound. The bite of this snake is potentially lethal to an adult human. Deaths, which generally happen due to paralysis and consequent asphyxiation, mainly occur in rural areas where the procurement of antivenin is difficult.

If the snake spits venom into the eyes of an individual, he/she will experience immediate and severe pain as well as temporary and sometimes even permanent blindness.


The snake is oviparous. The female will lay 13-28 eggs 100 days after oviposition. Eggs will hatch after 48 to 70 days depending on the temperature of incubation. Offspring are independent as soon as they have hatched. Hatchlings are 12–20 cm in length and, because they possess fully developed venom delivery systems, should be treated with the same respect as adults.


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