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False Water Cobras

False Water Cobra Care: Facts & Breeding Tips

Have you ever heard of a snake that mimics venomous species without being poisonous? Meet the false water cobra, a captivating reptile native to South America that belongs to the family of cobras and true cobras. Despite its name, the false water cobra is not a true cobra but has earned its moniker due to its physical resemblance and behavior.

Unlike other cobras, false water cobras are non-venomous and have become popular pets for reptile enthusiasts. Also known as Brazilian smooth snakes or American water cobras, these reptiles are excellent swimmers and can be found near rivers and lakes in their natural habitat.

One of the most intriguing facts about false water cobras is their ability to mimic venomous snakes when threatened. They will flatten their necks and hiss loudly, imitating the behavior of true cobras. This unique adaptation makes them an enthralling species to observe.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into this fascinating creature’s characteristics, behaviors, and more!

Appearance and Description of False Water Cobra: A Closer Look

Impressive Size

False water cobras, also known as falsies, are large snakes that can grow up to 7 feet long. Their impressive size is one of the reasons why they are popular among reptile enthusiasts. However, it’s essential to note that falsies require a lot of space and care due to their size.

Striking Appearance

The dark eyes of false water cobras add to their striking appearance. They have a light olive green body with dark spots that create an eye-catching display. The coloration of falsies is a distinguishing feature that sets them apart from other snake species.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism in false water cobras is evident in their average length. Males are typically larger than females, with an average length of around 6 feet compared to females’ average length of 5 feet. It’s important to consider sexual dimorphism when setting up a habitat for your falsie.

Maxillary Teeth

Maxillary teeth are located at the front of the upper jaw and contribute significantly to the intimidating appearance of false water cobras. These teeth are long and sharp, allowing falsies to grab onto prey easily.


When setting up a habitat for your false water cobra, there are several factors you should consider:

  • Space: As mentioned earlier, falsies require a lot of space due to their size.
  • Temperature: Falsies prefer temperatures between 75°F and 85°F during the day and cooler temperatures at night.
  • Humidity: False water cobras need high humidity levels (around 70%) in their enclosure.
  • Hiding spots: Provide plenty of hiding spots for your falsie as they like to hide during the day.
  • Substrate: Use a substrate such as coconut fiber or cypress mulch that retains moisture well.


False water cobras can grow up to 7 feet long, making them one of the larger snake species. It’s essential to consider their size when deciding whether a falsie is the right pet for you.

Habitat, Behavior, and Reproduction of False Water Cobra


False water cobras are native to South America and prefer to live in wetlands and swamps. They can also be found near rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. These snakes are semi-aquatic and spend a significant amount of time in the water.

They are known for their ability to swim well and can even stay underwater for up to an hour. False water cobras have adapted to their watery environment by developing scales that help them move through the water more efficiently.

Conservation Status

The false water cobra is not currently listed as an endangered species. However, they still face threats from habitat loss due to human activities such as deforestation and pollution.

It is important to note that although the false water cobra is not endangered, it is still illegal to keep them as pets in some states due to their venomous nature.


False water cobras are known for their aggressive behavior and venomous bites. They are highly territorial snakes that will defend their territory fiercely if threatened. When threatened, they will raise their heads off the ground in a defensive posture similar to that of a cobra.

Although they are not true cobras, they mimic the behavior of true cobras by flattening out their necks when threatened or agitated. False water cobras also have a unique hissing sound that they make when feeling threatened or cornered.

Their venom is potent but not considered lethal unless left untreated. The bite can cause severe pain, swelling, and necrosis (tissue death) around the bite area.


False water cobras reach sexual maturity at around 2-3 years old. Mating typically occurs during the rainy season when males will actively seek out females for breeding purposes.

Females lay clutches of eggs which hatch after about 70 days of incubation. The number of eggs laid can vary from 10-30, depending on the size and age of the female.

Once hatched, the young snakes are independent and must fend for themselves. They grow quickly and can reach sexual maturity within a few years.

Diet and Nutrition of False Water Cobra: A Comprehensive Guide

False water cobras are carnivorous snakes that primarily feed on rodents, birds, and other small mammals. In the wild, their diet consists mainly of rats, mice, birds, and even lizards. These snakes are active hunters and will often ambush their prey by hiding in burrows or crevices.

Feeding Frequency

The feeding frequency for false water cobras varies depending on their age. Juveniles require more frequent feeding than adults because they have a faster metabolism and need to consume smaller prey items. As they grow older, they can be fed less frequently. Adult false water cobras should be fed once every 7-10 days.

Prey Items

It is important to provide a varied diet for captive false water cobras to ensure proper nutrition. Frozen-thawed prey is an excellent option as it reduces the risk of injury to both the snake and its prey. Some common prey items include:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Quail
  • Chicks
  • Guinea pigs
  • Rabbits

It is essential to ensure that the size of the prey item matches the size of the snake’s head. Feeding a snake too large of a meal can cause regurgitation or other health issues.

Nutritional Supplements

While it is not necessary to supplement a captive false water cobra’s diet with vitamins or minerals regularly, occasional supplementation may be required if there are signs of nutritional deficiencies such as weight loss or lethargy.

Calcium supplements can also be provided by dusting prey items with calcium powder before feeding them to your snake. This helps prevent metabolic bone disease which can occur due to calcium deficiency.


False water cobras require access to fresh drinking water at all times. The enclosure should have a large enough bowl for your snake to soak in if desired.

Reptile Food for False Water Cobra: What to Feed Your Pet

If you are a proud owner of a false water cobra, then you know that feeding your pet reptile can be an exciting and challenging experience. These carnivorous snakes require a diet that is high in protein and low in fat.

Carnivorous Diet

False water cobras are carnivores, which means they eat meat. They prefer rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, and other small animals. It is important to provide them with a varied diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients. Feeding them the same type of food every day can lead to malnutrition or boredom.

Frozen-Thawed Prey Items

It is recommended to feed your false water cobra frozen-thawed prey items rather than live prey. This helps prevent injury both to the snake and the feeder during feeding time. Live prey can also fight back and injure your pet reptile.

Frozen-thawed rodents are readily available at most pet stores specializing in reptiles or online stores. If you choose to feed live prey, make sure it is not too large for your snake as it can cause choking or digestive problems.

Separate Enclosure for Feeding

Feeding time can be an aggressive time for your false water cobra as they may mistake your hand for food. To avoid this situation, it’s best to feed them in a separate enclosure.

The enclosure should be easy to clean as there might be leftover food or feces after feeding time. You should also remove any uneaten food after 30 minutes as it can attract pests such as rats or mice.

Monitor Weight and Adjust Feeding Accordingly

Overfeeding can lead to obesity and health problems such as heart disease or liver failure in false water cobras. It is important to monitor their weight and adjust feeding accordingly.

A healthy false water cobra should have a visible waistline when viewed from above. If you notice that your snake is gaining weight, reduce the amount of food you feed them or switch to smaller prey items.

Caring and Breeding False Water Cobras in Captivity

False Water Cobra

Spacious Enclosures for Adult Females

False water cobras are a species of colubrids that originate from Bolivia. They are commonly kept as pets among enthusiasts due to their unique appearance and docile nature. However, it is essential to provide them with the proper care they require to thrive in captivity.

One crucial aspect of caring for false water cobras is providing spacious enclosures, especially for adult females. Unlike males, adult females require more space due to their larger size. The recommended enclosure size for an adult female false water cobra is at least 6 feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet tall.

Providing ample space will allow your pet to move around freely and exercise, which is vital for its physical and mental well-being. It also prevents stress-related health issues that can arise from living in cramped quarters.

The Popularity of Captive Breeding

In recent years, captive breeding of false water cobras has become increasingly popular among colubrid enthusiasts. Breeding these snakes in captivity ensures a sustainable population while reducing the demand for wild-caught specimens.

Captive breeding also allows breeders to select healthy individuals with desirable traits, such as coloration or temperament, resulting in higher-quality offspring.

However, breeding false water cobras requires extensive knowledge and experience. It involves creating the ideal environment, monitoring temperatures and humidity levels carefully, selecting compatible mates, and providing proper nutrition.

If you plan on breeding false water cobras in captivity, it’s essential to research extensively beforehand or seek guidance from experienced breeders.

Bedding Requirements for Hatchlings and Adults

False water cobra hatchlings and neonates can be kept on cypress mulch bedding. Cypress mulch provides excellent moisture retention while allowing adequate ventilation. It also helps prevent respiratory infections that can occur when using substrates that lack humidity.

However, adult false water cobras prefer a more humid environment. Using cypress mulch alone may not provide sufficient humidity levels for your pet. Consider using a substrate mix that includes sphagnum moss or coconut coir to increase moisture retention.

It’s also crucial to maintain proper humidity levels in the enclosure by misting regularly and providing a large water dish for drinking and soaking.

False Water Cobra Venom: Is It Dangerous to Humans?

False water cobras are large, semi-aquatic snakes native to South America. They are often kept as exotic pets due to their unique appearance and docile nature. However, like all venomous snakes, false water cobras have the potential to cause harm if they feel threatened or provoked.

False Water Cobra Venom is Not Lethal to Humans

Despite their intimidating size and reputation as venomous snake, false water cobras are not considered highly dangerous to humans. While their venom can cause discomfort and pain, it is not usually lethal unless the victim has an allergic reaction or pre-existing medical condition.

The toxicity of false water cobra venom is similar to that of a rattlesnake. The main components of venom include enzymes that break down tissue and proteins that affect blood clotting. These toxins can cause swelling, pain, and redness around the bite area.

False Water Cobra Bites Can Cause Pain, Swelling, and Redness

If bitten by a false water cobra, symptoms may include:

  • Immediate pain at the site of the bite
  • Swelling and redness around the bite area
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Difficulty breathing

It’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a false water cobra. If possible, try to identify the snake so that appropriate treatment can be given.

Antivenom for False Water Cobra Bites Is Not Widely Available

Unfortunately, antivenom for false water cobra bites is not widely available. This means that treatment typically involves managing symptoms rather than neutralizing the effects of the venom directly.

If you are bitten by a false water cobra:

  1. Stay calm: Panicking will only increase your heart rate and spread the venom throughout your body more quickly.
  2. Seek medical attention: Call emergency services or go to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
  3. Keep the affected limb immobilized: This will help slow down the spread of venom through your bloodstream.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins from your body.
  5. Monitor for symptoms: Be aware of any changes in your condition and report them to medical professionals immediately.

Why False Water Cobra is a Must-Know Reptile

In conclusion, false water cobras are fascinating and unique reptiles that require specialized care. Understanding their appearance, habitat, behavior, diet, and venom can help you provide the best possible care for your pet. If you’re considering owning a false water cobra, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility of caring for this exotic animal.


Q: Are false water cobras dangerous?

A: While false water cobras are venomous and can pose a threat to humans if mishandled or provoked, they are generally not aggressive unless they feel threatened.

Q: What should I feed my captive false water cobra?

A: In captivity, false water cobras should be fed a diet consisting mainly of rodents such as mice or rats. It’s important to avoid feeding them live prey as this can be dangerous for both the snake and its food.

Q: Can I keep multiple false water cobras together in one enclosure?

A: False water cobras are solitary animals and should not be housed together as they may become territorial and aggressive towards each other.

Q: How often should I clean my false water cobra’s enclosure?

A: False water cobras require frequent cleaning to maintain their health and prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. Their enclosure should be spot-cleaned daily with a full cleaning at least once a month.

Q: Do I need any special permits or licenses to own a false water cobra?

A: Yes, in most states owning a venomous reptile like the false water cobra requires special permits or licenses. It’s important to check with your local wildlife agency before purchasing one as a pet.

Q: How long do false water cobras typically live in captivity?

A: With proper care, captive-bred false water cobras can live up to 20 years in captivity.

Q: Can false water cobras be handled?

A: While false water cobras can be handled, they are not recommended as a handling mistake can result in a bite that may require medical attention. It’s important to only handle them when necessary and with caution.

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