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Care and Maintenance of the Monacled Cobra

by Frank S.

General Info
In captivity the N. kaouthia are probably the most often kept cobra. Although its large size, highly toxic venom and sometimes very unpredictable, aggresive behavior makes the monocled cobra a dangerous captive. This impressive snake can reach a size up six feet with a girth of about the size of a man's wrist.

Monocled cobras are bred in many differant forms in captivity. Albino specimens are almost as common as the normal colored snakes. A bit more rare but still seen from time to time are aberrant, luecistic, suphan, and sunset albino spiecimens are offered for sale. It is often not uncommon for their monocle hood marking to be missing or to have multiple hood markings.

The monocled cobra is found India, Southeast Asia and Malaysia in most habitats including areas of human habitation. They prefer a damp environment and are very commonly found looking for frogs and rats in rice fields at dusk.

Keeping such a charge must be done safely. In doing so a safe cage is of upmost importance. Some people prefer top opening cages to front opening but that is only to be decided by the keeper. Many people like the pre-made cages like vision or neodeshia. These cages offer a safe locking enviroment that has an easy to clean surface. Others choose to build their own cage that if done right, is also fine, but because of their humidity requirements some materials may not be suitable.

Because they spend alot of time in rodent burrows they need a hide box. They prefer a box of a size that they can fit into comfortabley but still touch the walls when coiled. Because of their liking of hide boxes some keepers construct a trap (shift) box. This hide has a sliding door that can be slid shut with a snake hook and locked to aid in safety in cage cleaning and water changing. Others use a cage that has a shift built into it and clean the half of the cage at a time.

Because they are most active during dusk and spend most of their time underground, a temp of upper 70 - mid 80 is fine. Many keepers will heat the room if they have a large collection of snakes or you may use lamps with a low to mid range wattage or heat tape.

Feeding a hatchling can be a bit of trouble every now and again but most will take a pinkey mouse with no problems. If you are unluckey enough to get a reluctent feeder, you can try scenting with frog, toad, chick, lizard, egg, and fish. Often they may take a brained pinkey (a pinkey that has its head cut open and its braines squeezed out a bit). Strange as the person who first figured out that this brings a feeding responce out. Another trick is to put the snake and prey item into a deli cup with air holes back into its cage and left over nite or a top opening hide with the food right on the outside of the opening. As they grow you need to feed appropriatly sized mice and rats. An adult kaouthia can eat a nice sized adult rat with no problems. Because of their high metabolism their feeding schedule should be of every 3-5 days as a hatchling and slowing down to every 7-10 days as they reach maturity.

Humidity should be high of about 60% up and just plain wet before a shed. A light daily misting is needed to keep humidity up and a large water bowl is often used for soaking if offered. If you keep you humidity to low you will have very bad sheds and retained eye caps.

The skill of handling venomous snakes cant be taught by reading a paper. It is something that can only be acquired through years of experience with non-venomous snakes and less dangerouse snakes after that. There are a few basic tools: hooks, tongs, plastic tubes, pinning sticks (jiggers), large tweezers for hatchlings, and trap boxes. Handling should be limited and pinning is only rarely neccessary and should be avoided. NEVER underestimate the captive, be cautious and remember thet one bite can and has been deadly.

It is very important to have the phone numbers of your local hospital and Poison Control Center (800-876-4766) by the phone or on speed dial. Also you must have at least 10-15 vials antivenom avalable for a bite. At You can get a medical bite protocol that should be printed and read and ready to go to a hospital long before a bite was to ever happen.