ANIMAL: False Water Cobra Hydrodynastes gigas Type of Animal: Colubrid Habitat: Streams, wetlands, marshland, tropical forests Location(s): S Brazil, E Bolivia, Paraguay, & N Argentina Appearance: Males larger than females, large eyes w/ circular pupils, adults olive green or brown w/ dark spots/bands covering much of body, color darker towards end tail, yellow or brown ventral scales w/ spotted dark flecks, hatchlings/juveniles darker than adults & lack dark eyes of adults, males yellowish & black or dark brown w/ distinct transverse pattern, females light tan or brown w/ indistinct transverse pattern, some males & females same color, females have shorter tails Food/Diet: Amphibians, fish, small mammals, birds, other snakes (including members of own species), lizards, turtles, young crocodilians Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & herpetoculture Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young-Snakelet Group-Solitary Weight: Male-5 lbs Female-10 lbs Gestation: 2 months Life Span: 12-15 years Body Length: Male-4.5-6 ft Female-6-8 ft Young-2.5 ft Tail Length: Male-2.5 ft Female-2.3 ft Main predators of adults are jaguars, crocodilians, anacondas, boa constrictors, large raptors, & otters. Horned frogs, smaller raptors, pigs, other snakes (including adults of own species), raccoons, coatis, weasels, opossums, & tegus eat young. These snakes not true cobras & rear-fanged. True cobras front-fanged & unlike true cobras, these snakes may be dangerous but they’re not deadly. Also known as Brazilian smooth snakes, falsies, FWC’s, false cobras, & South American water cobras. These snakes rising stars in pet trade/reptile hobby due to name, size, & mild venom. These snakes are fast, alert, & fairly active. Fun Fact(s): Called “cobras” since they flatten neck to look larger/more intimidating but unlike true cobras, stay in horizontal position when hooding rather than vertical. Unlike true cobras, they can also flatten lower down the body. Since rear-fanged, they must chew in toxin. Saliva from these snakes nontoxic but secretions from Duvernoy’s gland (gland posterior to eye) are. Bite symptoms include necrosis, high pain, edema, tenderness, swelling, & discomfort. These snakes prefer to save venom for prey w/ most bites to humans being dry but very painful often resulting in scars due to slashing motion of bite. Pattern bears some resemblance to the true water cobras of Africa.