Monocled Cobra - Naja kaouthia - Deadly even at just 12 inches long.
One friend I have said, out of all the snakes in Thailand (about 200) – he likes the monocled cobras the best.
I asked – why?
They are always angry and ready to bite! They never chill out. They never relax. They are always ready to serve up a plate of death for you – if you’re dumb enough to get too close.
He has yet to be bitten by the monocled cobra, but he works with snakes everyday and he’s right – these snakes were born to kill. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 12 inch juvenile Naja kaouthia – like this one in the photo is – they are ready to kill you if you make one mistake.
I’ve kept the smaller monocled cobras for a short time – two weeks at most. I find that I have to watch them very, very closely. Every second I’m working with them – my eyes are on them and aware of what they are doing and what they could do. I don’t take any chances with these snakes. I have seen first-hand the damage their venom does. It is not pretty stuff.
He asked me too – what is your favorite snake?
I do like the King Cobra – and that’s what I answered, since I couldn’t think fast enough. Even now – if you ask me – I’m not sure. The Malayan kraits are very interesting snakes… as are the monocled cobras, and the king cobras. I definitely like Ridley’s Racer as well – the one that lives in caves and catches bats in mid-air. That’s a cool snake. Some of the big rat snakes are very cool – a lot of energy and wicked fast.
All in all – you know, it might just be the king cobra!
What is your favorite snake? Have you caught one before? Seen one before?
Naja Kaouthia - Venomous - VERY dangerous and very common Thailand snake.
Naja kaouthia, the monocled cobra is one of Thailand’s most deadly snakes – with highly toxic (neurotoxic + cytotoxic) venom. One bite on your toe from one that jumps out of your outdoor refrigerator can kill you. I just wrote a story about that on ThaiPulse.com/blog/. Monocled cobras seem to be everywhere in Thailand. I had a friend that found them in his kitchen often. I’ve seen them crossing the road (see video below), and there was a family of these cobras living under the office of my wife’s workplace – with many 18″ baby cobras.
Currently I have 2 baby monocled cobras and even at 12-15 inches – they are fierce. One snake handler described monocled cobras as “spastic” – and I have to agree.
If you are bit by any cobra – get to the hospital as fast as you can. Monocled cobra venom is more toxic than kraits, and much more toxic than the King Cobra venom. Even if the bite is a very small one – get to the hospital immediately. All it takes is a drop of venom to hit your blood stream for chaos to ensue.
(Thailand Monocled Cobra)
Appearance: Monocled cobras are easily identified by looking at the back of the hood – there is a monocle – or – eye type shape there. They are light brown to dark grey. The two I have now, and the two I had before were almost black.
Thais say: Ngoo how hom, Ngoo how mo (long o sound)
Length: Typical maximum length about 1.5 meters. Recently I saw one in a mangrove forest that was 2 meters or larger. They can get up to 2.2 meters – about 7.5 feet long.
Range: All over Thailand and most of southeast Asia.
Notes: Neuro toxic venom affecting nerves, brain, and causing death very quickly without treatment. They are very fast strikers. The baby monocled cobras are every bit as deadly. Please be CAREFUL!
Habitat: Both flat and hilly regions. I’ve seen them on hills, but usually near people – under houses and in places rats and frogs are likely to be found. In the mornings they can be in trees and bushes – trying to get some sun to warm up. They love to hide under leaves, wood, anything really. Lifespan is around 30 years.
Active Time? The snake is mainly nocturnal – active at night, but I’ve seen plenty of monocled cobras active during the daytime. In fact, in Thailand – I’ve only seen one active at night – the rest – dozens, active during daytime.
Food: Rodents, lizards, frogs, birds, eggs, other snakes.
Defensive Behavior: Lift head off ground and flatten out neck. The hood flares quite wide compared to the width of the body – versus that of the king cobras that don’t flare out that widely.
Offspring: Lays 25-40 eggs. Young are fully prepared to envenomate as they hatch. Mating takes place after the rainy season stops. Eggs incubate about 2 months. Eggs hatch between April-June. Hatchlings are between 8 and 12 inches at birth.
Thailand has 200+ snake species with over 60 of them - venomous.
I created this site as a way to educate Thais and visitors to Thailand about snakes. Many people kill the snakes they see in Thailand, while in many cases - they are non-venomous and completely harmless. With this site I hope to give people a better idea what is harmful and what isn't.
Browse the many snake photos and videos here so you can identify snakes you see on your porch, in your bed, or underfoot.
If you have been bitten by a snake - go to a hospital FIRST. Don't waste time looking it up on the internet. With some snakes you need to have medical help as fast as possible. With others you have some time. I know a Thai man whose brother died in less than 10 minutes from a snake bite.
There are venomous (some say 'poisonous' erroneously) snakes everywhere in Thailand. Friends have had cobras in their kitchen, and others had kraits in the garage. Vipers love bushes and trees near water and walkways.
Bookmark this site so you can quickly identify snakes you have seen. Notice the variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes in Thailand - and realize that they come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns.