Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Naja sumatrana Müller, 1890

Species:N. sumatrana
Common Names:Black Spitting Cobra, Equatorial Spitting Cobra


The Black Spitting Cobra has a robust body with a large head slightly distinct from the neck. It has a stretchable fold of skin on both sides of the neck, which forms a hood, is unpatterned. The dorsal surface is uniformly iridescent black, while the ventral side is bluish-grey with white blotches on the throat and neck. It can grow to a total length of up to 1.5 m.

Read more about the Squamata order.
Read more about the Elapidae family.


The species ranges from southern Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, the Riau Archipelago to Borneo, Palawan and the Calamianes Archipelago in the south-eastern Phillippines.


In Singapore, this species is found throughout Singapore.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Black Spitting Cobra is mainly diurnal and terrestrial. It inhabits forest, scrubland, and gardens. It is highly venomous and when provoked, it will raise the front part of itsbody, extend its hood and hiss loudly. It may also eject fine sprays of venom from its fangs, targeted at the eyes of the provoker. The spray can cover a distance of more than one metre, causing discomfort to the provoker and even temporary blindness, should venom enter the eyes. If bitten, the venom affects the nervous system and could potentially be fatal. This species is usually not aggressive if left alone.


It feeds on small animals, such as rats and toads.

Life Cycle

Oviparous; clutches contain 6–23 eggs.

Other Resources

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Naja sumatrana. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Naja&species=Sumatrana. (Accessed September 2012).


Baker, N. & K.K.P. Lim, 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.

Cox, M. J., P.P. Van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata & K. Thirakhupt, 2010. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd. 144 pp.

Das, I., 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. 376 pp.

Lim, K.K.P. & F.L.K. Lim, 2002. A Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.

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