Species of Thailand

Indo-Chinese spitting cobra

Naja siamensis, Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti, 1768

(In Thai: งูเห่าสยามพ่นพิษ, ngu haow Sayam ponn phit)

The Indochinese spitting cobra (Naja siamensis) (Thai: งูเห่า, pronounced: nguu hao) also called the Thai spitting cobra, Siamese spitting cobra or black-and-white spitting cobra, is a species of spitting cobra found in Southeast Asia.

Description

This is a medium-sized cobra with a rather thin body compared to other cobras. The body color of this species is variable from grey to brown to black, with white spots or stripes. The white patterning can be so prolific that it covers the majority of the snake. The highly distinctive black and white colour phase is common in central Thailand, specimens from western Thailand are mostly black, whereas individuals from elsewhere are usually brown. The hood mark can be spectacle-shaped, irregular or missing altogether, especially in adults. Adults average 0.9 to 1.2 m long, and can reach a maximum of 1.6 m sigfig=1 though this is very rare.

This species should not be confused with the Monocled cobra (Naja kaouthia), which has similar habitat, size and appearance.

Scalation

There are 25-31 scale rows around the hood, 19-21 just ahead of midbody; 153-174 ventral scales, 45-54 subcaudal scales, and basal pairs are sometimes undivided.

Distribution and habitat

It is found in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. May occur in eastern Myanmar but no records are known. It occupies a range of habitats including lowlands, hills, plains, and woodland. It can also be found in jungle habitat and it is sometimes attracted to human settlements because of the abundant populations of rodents in and around these areas.

Behavior and diet

It is a primarily nocturnal species. It shows variable temperament depending on the time of day it is encountered. When threatened during daylight hours, the snake is generally timid and seeks refuge in the nearest burrow. However, when the snake is threatened at night, it is more aggressive and is more likely to stand its ground, rear up and display its hood and spit out its venom. If spitting venom doesn't work, it will strike and bite as a last resort. When biting, this species tends to hold on and chew savagely. It usually feeds on rodents, toads, and other snakes.

Reproduction

The snake is oviparous. The female will lay 13-19 eggs 100 days after oviposition. Eggs will hatch after 48 to 70 days depending on the temperature of incubation. Offspring are independent as soon as they have hatched. Hatchlings are 12–20 cm long and, because they possess fully developed venom delivery systems, should be treated with the same respect as adults.

Venom

Like most other spitting cobras, its venom is primarily a postsynaptic neurotoxin and cytotoxin (necrotizing or tissue-death). The of its venom is 1.07-1.42 mg/gram of mouse body weight. Bite symptoms include pain, swelling and necrosis around the wound. The bite of this snake is potentially lethal to an adult human. Deaths, which generally happen due to paralysis and consequent asphyxiation, mainly occur in rural areas where the procurement of antivenin is difficult.

If the snake spits venom into the eyes of an individual, the individual will experience immediate and severe pain as well as temporary and sometimes even permanent blindness.

Taxonomy

This species was long confused with the monocled cobra (Naja kaouthia) and the Chinese cobra (Naja atra), and extensive variation in pattern and scalation contributed to this confusion. Detailed morphological and molecular analyses revealed it to be a distinct species during the 1990s.

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Site notes

This species shows both nocturnal and diurnal behaviour.

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Subphylum
Vertebrata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Suborder
Serpentes
Family
Elapidae
Genus
Naja
Species
Naja siamensis

Common names

  • German: Indochinesische Speikobra
  • English:
    • Indo-Chinese spitting cobra
    • Siamese spitting cobra
    • Black and white spitting cobra
    • Thai spitting cobra
  • Thai:
    • งูเห่าสยามพ่นพิษ, ngu haow Sayam ponn phit
    • งูเห่าอิสานพ่นพิษ, ngu haow Isaan ponn phit
    • งูเห่าด่างพ่นพิษ, ngu haow dang ponn phit
    • งูเห่าพ่นพิษสีน้ำตาล, ngu haow ponn phit see namdtan
    • งูเห่าดำพ่นพิษ, ngu haow damm ponn phit

Synonyms

  • Naja siamensis, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
  • Naja (Naja) siamensis, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2009)
  • Naja siamensis, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Naja siamensis, Wolfgang Wüster & Roger Stephen Thorpe (1994)
  • Naja cf. atra, Wolfgang Wüster & Roger Stephen Thorpe (1992)
  • Naja atra, Wolfgang Wüster & Roger Stephen Thorpe (1991)
  • Naja sputatrix isanensis, Lingenhöle & Ludwig Trutnau (1989)
  • Naja sputatrix atra, Lingenhöle & Ludwig Trutnau (1989)
  • Naja isanensis, Wirot Nutaphand (1986)
  • Naja naja atra, Wirot Nutaphand (1982)

Conservation status

Vulnerable (IUCN3.1)

Vulnerable (IUCN3.1)

Photos

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Naja Siamensis - Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
Naja siamensis
Naja siamensis (juvenile)

Range Map

Distribution map of Indo-Chinese spitting cobra, Naja siamensis in Thailand
  • Bamnet Narong District, Chaiyaphum
  • Ban Dung District, Udon Thani
  • Ban Khai District, Rayong
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phue District, Udon Thani
  • Ban Tak District, Tak
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Banphot Phisai District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Bueng Bun District, Sisaket
  • Bueng Khong Long District, Bueng Kan
  • Bueng Na Rang District, Phichit
  • Cha-Am District, Phetchaburi
  • Chai Badan District, Lopburi
  • Chom Phra District, Surin
  • Chonnabot District, Khon Kaen
  • Chum Phuang District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Dan Khun Thot District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Doem Bang Nang Buat District, Suphan Buri
  • Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai
  • Hang Dong District, Chiang Mai
  • Hankha District, Chainat
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Thap Than District, Sisaket
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khai Bang Rachan District, Sing Buri
  • Khanu Woralaksaburi District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Khao Chamao District, Rayong
  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khlong Hat District, Sa Kaeo
  • Khlung District, Chanthaburi
  • Khok Samrong District, Lopburi
  • Khok Si Suphan District, Sakon Nakhon
  • Khong Chai District, Kalasin
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Kha District, Lampang
  • Lam Plai Mat District, Buriram
  • Lan Sak District, Uthai Thani
  • Lat Yao District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Li District, Lamphun
  • Mae Chai District, Phayao
  • Mae La Noi District, Mae Hong Son
  • Mae Poen District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Mae Ramat District, Tak
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Wang District, Chiang Mai
  • Makham District, Chanthaburi
  • Manorom District, Chainat
  • Muak Lek District, Saraburi
  • Muang Sam Sip District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chainat District, Chainat
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Kalasin District, Kalasin
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Lopburi District, Lopburi
  • Mueang Mukdahan District, Mukdahan
  • Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Mueang Nan District, Nan
  • Mueang Pan District, Lampang
  • Mueang Phayao District, Phayao
  • Mueang Phrae District, Phrae
  • Mueang Rayong District, Rayong
  • Mueang Roi Et District, Roi Et
  • Mueang Sa Kaeo District, Sa Kaeo
  • Mueang Surin District, Surin
  • Mueang Udon Thani District, Udon Thani
  • Na Dun District, Maha Sarakham
  • Na Klang District, Nong Bua Lamphu
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nang Rong District, Buriram
  • Nikhom Kham Soi District, Mukdahan
  • Noen Maprang District, Phitsanulok
  • Non Sung District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Nong Bua Daeng District, Chaiyaphum
  • Nong Han District, Udon Thani
  • Nong Prue District, Kanchanaburi
  • Nong Ruea District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pai District, Mae Hong Son
  • Pak Chom District, Loei
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pho Sai District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Pho Thale District, Phichit
  • Phon Phisai District, Nong Khai
  • Phu Khiao District, Chaiyaphum
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Si Than Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Wua Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Pong District, Phayao
  • Prachantakham District, Prachinburi
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Sam Chuk District, Suphan Buri
  • Sam Ngao District, Tak
  • San Kamphaeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Sattahip District, Chonburi
  • Sawankhalok District, Sukhothai
  • Si Bun Rueang District, Nong Bua Lamphu
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Sirindhorn District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Sung Noen District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Takhli District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Tha Mai District, Chanthaburi
  • Tha Muang District, Kanchanaburi
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Tham Pha Tha Phon Non-Hunting Area
  • Tron District, Uttaradit
  • U Thong District, Suphan Buri
  • Wang Saphung District, Loei
  • Warin Chamrap District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Watthana Nakhon District, Sa Kaeo
  • Wiang Pa Pao District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Sa District, Nan
  • Yod Dom Wildlife Sanctuary
Range map of Naja siamensis in Thailand