False Water Cobra

False Water Cobra      Hydrodynastes gigas

Type of Animal:

Streams, wetlands, marshland, tropical forests

S Brazil, E Bolivia, Paraguay, & N Argentina

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

Amphibians, fish, small mammals, birds, other snakes (including members of own species), lizards, turtles, young crocodilians

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & herpetoculture


Additional Info:


Male-5 lbs
Female-10 lbs

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.

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