Naja siamensis – Indochinese Spitting Cobra

Naja siamensis - Indochinese Spitting Cobra

Naja siamensis – Indochinese Spitting Cobra

Of all Thai snakes, the Indochinese Spitting Cobra, Naja siamensis, is by far the snake I ‘fear’ the most to handle. It’s a very fast, and agile snake, and a surprisingly fast and accurate spitter! DO NOT underestimate this on your first encounter!
For those who have no experience with this species, let me warn you that it is able to spit in your face within a split second when you touch the tail. Even when initially the head is facing away from you. It does not need to be in defensive posture with the hood up first to be able to spit… As soon as you grab it, it can turn almost instantly and spit at you before you can turn your face away. So I repeat: do not underestimate this snake! If you decide to handle this species, make sure to wear proper eye-protection and cover any external wounds on your body. I have seen the snake handlers of the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute wear protection glasses and wrap a shirt around their face when catching a wild spitter. This actually seems quite a wise thing to do, because only the glasses won’t stop the venom from dripping down with your sweat from your forehead into your eyes.
But enough of all this safety-talk, let’s talk about this amazing cobra species.

facts

Dangerous? Very dangerous, bites potentially fatal, and able to spit venom possibly causing blindness; fixed front-fanged, potent venom, and a fast agile snake.
Venom Neurotoxic & cytotoxic
Length 0.90m – 1.5m
Diet Rodents, snakes, amphibians
How easy to find Uncommonly encountered, even though locally common.
Best time of year We have encountered this species in different seasons, both in the winter and in the wet season.
Best time of day Our personal experience with this species has been primarily during the day, mostly in the mornings. Many books however state they are nocturnal. This could perhaps vary per season/ or even habitat.
Threats Human persecution, some restaurants serve dishes based on cobra meat, and road killing victims
Notes: Does not quickly run out of venom, can spit surprisingly often. And as noted in the introduction, they do not first have to get in a good pose before spitting. They can spit instantly as it turns its head towards you when you grab the tail. Beware.
Marking on Naja siamensis hood

Marking on the hood of the Naja siamensis, Indochinese Spitting Cobra

Description

To be continued…

Similar-looking species

Venom spitting cobra

Venom of the spitting cobra on the lens

Behaviour

To be continued…

Indochinese Spitting Cobra

Indochinese Spitting Cobra, dark morph in Cha-am, Thailand

Range & habitat

To be continued…

Side view head Naja siamensis

Side view of Indochinese Spitting Cobra’s head, Naja siamensis

Taxonomy

To be continued…

Self portrait with Naja siamensis

The author versus an Indochinese Spitting Cobra

How to find this species in Thailand?

To be continued…

Spitting cobra in normal state

Whenever a Indochinese Spitting Cobra gets the chance, it will try to flee and spare its venom. The ‘hood’ is only visible in defensive posture.

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