IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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The dangerously venomous Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia) occurs in Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, northeastern India (Assam), Thailand (in wetter areas), northern Malaysia, Cambodia, southern Laos and southern Vietnam, and southwestern China (Sichuan, Yunnan). Leviton et al. (2003) report that in Myanmar this species is widely distributed in wetter habitats, occurring in Ayeyarwady Division, Chin State, Kachin State, Magway Division [part], Rakhine State, Sagaing Division [part], and Yangon Division. (In the drier central region of Myanmar, in dry and moist deciduous forests spanning Mandalay, Magway [part], and Sagaing [part] Divisions, this species is replaced by Naja mandalayensis.)

Naja kaouthia is often encountered in villages, agricultural areas, and grasslands as well asin  primary coastal rainforest. It can be found swimming in lakes and rivers as well as beneath rocks and in the burrows of other animals. Individuals have been observed climbing trees. In Myanmar, N. kaouthia has beed recorded from sea level to 820 m. Although most active at dusk and at night, these snakes can be active during the day as well. (Leviton et al. 2003)

Leviton et al. (2003) provide a technical description of this Naja kaouthia: Body scales smooth, arranged in 19-21 (usually 21) longitudinal rows at midbody; throat pale with little dark mottling, often followed by a single dark band; ventrolateral throat spots distinct; remainder of venter either pale or increasingly cloudy with darker pigmentation toward the rear. In adults, hood markings usually distinct, typically pale, oval or circular with a dark center (occasionally with a narrow dark outer border); occasionally one or two dark spots are present within the pale oval. Fangs are not modified for spitting, venom discharge orifice is large. Ventrals 164-196; subcaudals 43-58. Total length 1500 mm, tail 300 mm  (possibly larger specimens, but rare).


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© Leo Shapiro

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