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Naja haje

Geographical Locale

  • Found throughout Africa


  • Two enlarged venom fangs fixed in the front of the mouth.
  • Solid teeth in both jaws.
  • Dark grey-brown in colour developing to almost black as they get older.
  • Across the neck is a broad black band.
  • Young snakes are a sandy-yellow colour with a black band on the neck.
  • Main characteristic is the head and the hood; head is large and depressed with a broad snout. Necks can be as much as:
    • 7" wide.
    • Eyes are large with a round pupil.
    • Males larger than females; average size 5' to 6.5' metres in length.


  • Highly poisonous. Neurotoxic – attacks central nervous system.

The Bite

  • Wound shows two punctures; is extremely painful and swollen round the bite.
  • Does not show severe Oedema or bleeding.


  • Oviparous; females lay between 8 & 20 eggs, usually in termite mounds.
  • Incubation period is about 60 days.
  • Hatchlings between 7 3/4" and 13 3/4" in length.
  • Hatchlings shed their skin after 7 to 12 days.
  • Hatchlings feed after their first shedding.


  • Favourite ‘homes’ are termite mounds but can also be found in grasslands.
  • Active at night; foraging from early evening – often found in poultry runs.
  • Very timid; always basks in the sun near home to enable ‘a quick retreat’.
  • Generally only attacks if cornered or provoked.
  • Diet consists of amphibians, rodents, birds & their eggs, lizards and other snakes – particularly Puff adders, (Bitris arietans).

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