NNTRC Snakes

Scientific Name

Naja pallida

Common Name 

Red Spitting Cobra


Physical Characteristics

Length, 28-47 in. (70-120 cm). Longest recorded length 60 in. (153 cm). The tail is relatively long and can be as much as 20% of the total body length. Body color varies from dark to pale red, orange red, yellow, or grey. There is a single, broad dark band across the throat which encircles the body and crosses the neck. However, the throat band can fade or even disappear in large mature adults.

Geographic Range (Africa)

Northern Tanzania, Kenya, southeast Ethiopia, and Somalia. Found from sea level to 1200 m.
Map button button

Grassland, semiarid desserts, and savannah, where they are often found near water areas.


Amphibians, small mammals, birds, eggs, and other reptiles including snakes.


Contains Cytotoxins resulting in tissue destruction, localized bleeding, and extensive painful swelling. Also contains Neurotoxins causing paralysis of the muscles of swallowing and respiration.


The fangs are modified to allow the venom to be projected or sprayed forward and is aimed at the highest point of the attacker. Spitting cobras can be quite accurate, spraying venom up to 2.5 meters (8 ft.) or more. Because of the ability to spray venom from several feet away this snake is considered very dangerous.

This page was last updated on: February 12, 2016