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The False water Cobra (Hydrodynastes Gigas), also commonly known as the Brazilian Smooth Snake, is one of natures most intriguing herps. FWC's are rear fanged colubrids that are becoming more and more popular in today's herpetological trade.

As far as I can tell, these snakes natural habitat includes South America, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and northern Argentina. It is possible that they may be found in other locations. Hydrodynastes Gigas can be found in mashes and wet lands, and do not often stray far from water. In captivity the False Water Cobra spends much of its day in it's water dish. The temperature in your cage should be kept around 80-85° during the day with a slight deferential of 70-75° at night. A basking spot with a larger temperature as well as a cool spot should be included for digestion purposes. False Water Cobras also require a high humidity in their terrarium, somewhere between 60-85%. Closer to the later if possible. Substrate in the terrarium should be capable of retaining some water, and although not recommended for all types of snakes, Jungle Floor ( large pieces of mulched bark and wood ) is ideal. Lastly but not at all in the least, a hide box or tree stump placed in the cage will add decoration to you terrarium as well as provide you snake some much needed privacy.

The cobra's natural diet consists of small mammals, fish, birds, frogs, reptiles and smaller FWC's on occasion. In captivity mice and rats are the main staple of the FWC's diet. I also tend to throw a few good sized gold fish in my cobra's dish for variety. If your terrarium is large enough, and you don't mind spending twenty dollars, you could feed you cobra a parakeet from time time. Some people prefer to feed their snakes frozen mice or rats. I am extremely against frozen food, as much needed enzymes as well as other things that are present in live food are destroyed in the freezing process. Be warned, to feed your snake live you must pay close attention to the kill and make sure your animal is not bitten in the process. Bite wounds on your snake can become infected and kill your snake (worst case scenario). For this reason it is advised that if you have any adult snake a diet of multiple mice is better than rats. Rats have extremely strong jaw muscles and large teeth, and for lack of a better metaphor, they know how to use them.

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics

Although this species hoods as the name cobra implies, the False Water Cobra's body remains in a horizontal postion rather than vertical. Also unlike a true cobra the False water cobra is rear fanged. Preferring to hunt during the day, the false water cobra uses sight as much as smell to locate prey. They do not coil back as a rattle snake or python would. They generally just strike and are extremely fast. After prey is acquired the false water cobra constricts it's meal while it delivers it's venom. The venom delivery consists of a fist strike followed by a side to side chewing motion. There is some debate as to the potency of the false water cobra's venom. I have read some reports that venom is mild and human bites are superficial with side affects ranging from an itching sensation, redness, discomfort and bleeding due to the anticoagulant produced to deliver venom.

Other reports have indicated that this specie's venom is substantially more potent than a rattle snake, and that the method of delivery combined with low volume causes humans no harm. Still other resources say that heart palpitations could be induced by this venom. To date this controversy is unresolved. I can say that I do not fear my false water cobra, but rather respect it's boundaries.