False Water Cobras
This page has been moved to : False Water Cobra Caresheet
Caring for your False Water Cobra
Congratulations on purchasing your new False Water Cobra from Paws for Thought. We pride ourselves on being voted Best Independent Pet Centre in the U.K by “Which” Magazine.
If in the first few days of your False Water Cobra coming home you are concerned about its health or well being, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are open seven days a week and often a quick phone call can put your mind at ease.
2 - 5 foot Vivarium or larger (depending on age)
Orchid Bark Substrate
Pinkies/Fluffs/Mice (Depending on age)
Calcium D3 and multivitamin supplements
Heat Mat for juveniles in a small enclosure, but a ceramic or incandescent heater is highly recommended,
False Water Cobras are a rear fanged snake from Brazil that have been becoming more popular as they have recently been taken off the DWA (Dangerous Wild Animal) list and so a license is no longer required to keep one. The reason there was cause for concern originally is because False Water Cobras have a strong venom, however they are a rear fanged snake, like the Western Hognose which is more common with reptile keepers, and so have a poor venom delivery system.
Being venomous as well as being an aggressive species with a very powerful feeding response, great care must be taken with this species and so False Water Cobras are only recommended for experienced snake keepers and deserve the highest respect from their owners. A bite from a False Water Cobra isn’t considered dangerous to humans as they have a poor venom delivery system though the bite is painful and can result in swelling and bruising around the bitten area.
A baby/juvenile False Water Cobra will live quite happily in a 2-3 foot tank. Keeping a young False Water Cobra in an enclosure much larger than this will make it a lot harder to control your snake when you need to move him.
When kept in a tank this size it is possible to provide ample temperatures with a heat mat covering one third of the tank floor. Depending on sex, False Water Cobras usually grow to around 5 – 8 feet long (males usually 5-6 feet, and females 7-8 feet) and are quite active so the bare minimum vivarium size would be 60 x 24 x 24 for an adult up to 7 feet long. The size of the vivarium should be no shorter than two thirds of the snake’s body length, so if you False water cobra grows over 7 feet they will need a larger vivarium.
False Water Cobras require quite high temperatures (between 26 on the cool side and 28-30 celcius on the hot spot) and so either a ceramic or incandescent heater is required for larger enclosures. Position the heater on one side of the vivarium to provide a suitable temperature gradient. Use a guard around any heating element to prevent your False Water Cobra from burning themselves.
NB With all heating equipment, please be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
We recommend using orchid bark as the substrate as it holds humidity well and creates a more natural look and feel to the vivarium.
Some people prefer to use Reptile Carpet, which is a coarse, felt-like, material which eliminates the risk of your False Water Cobra accidentally swallowing the substrate though is not a very natural substrate and makes it impossible for your False Water Cobra to burrow into the substrate.
Provide a large bowl of water that is large enough for your False Water Cobra to soak in. The humidity of the vivarium needs to maintained at around 65-75% which can be achieved by monitoring the hygrometer and spraying the vivarium daily.
Juvenile False Water Cobras will eat mice "fluffs" or larger juveniles may prefer rat "pups". At this age they need to be fed at least once a week. The best method for feeding False Water Cobras is to use long feeding tongs and dangle the prey in front of the snake.
False Water Cobras have a very strong feeding response and so will normally strike on to the prey immediately. Great care must be taken to be sure your hand doesn’t come into range of its strike. They are incredibly fast.
When young it is best to feed them Mice Fluffs but as they get older you can then move onto small mice, then large mice and eventually small rats. If feeding very young prey items (like pups and fluffs) you will need to dust the rodents with a mineral supplement to make sure your False Water Cobra gets all the nutrition it needs. We recommend Nutrobal as it contains both Calcium and D3 which aids in the use of the calcium supplement. This is more important for young snakes as the rodents they eat are also very young and do not have the same nutritional content of adult rodents. The best way to apply the dust would be to dip the head of the rodent into the powder so it has a dusted cap. This ensures you do not use too much of the supplement.
Extreme care must be used when handling False Water Cobras. They are very fast, unpredictable and of course have a painful bite. Only ever handle your False Water Cobra using “snake hooks.” If you are not familiar with handling snakes with snake hooks, then we recommend you practice on a safer snake to get used to them before getting a false water cobra as this is an essential skill. Do not handle your False Water Cobra in areas where they could easily escape.
Check the vivarium daily and remove faeces immediately. Wash out the water dish daily. Place the False Water Cobra in an escape proof container (using the hooks) while cleaning the vivarium. The vivarium should be washed monthly in hot water and the substrate changed. Use a Reptile Safe disinfectant to sterilise the tank such as BEA Reptile Disinfectant. Rinse well with hot water and dry thoroughly.