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Housing: a wooden vivarium of at least 48" in length and 18'' in height
Heating: basking temperature of 88oF, cool end of 85oF
Diet:carnivore with a diet comprising of frozen prey
Decoration: large water bowl, humid hide, natural wood pieces.
False water cobras require a wooden vivarium as their enclosure. This is because wood is an excellent insulator of heat and so a wooden vivarium will make it easier to control the crucial temperatures required inside the habitat. Other enclosures such as glass terrariums are far too efficient at releasing heat. The wooden vivarium should have good ventilation to allow air flow in and out of the enclosure.
The snake's vivarium should be at least 1200mm (48") in length and 450mm (18'') in height. There are 2 main reasons for this; firstly False water cobras are not small reptiles and can easily grow to 6-8ft in length. They require a proportionate amount of space to live happily. Secondly, the vivarium needs to have a sufficient length to allow for the creation of a temperature gradient. The enclosure needs to be warm at one end, but have enough distance for the temperature to drop at the cool end.
False water cobras require a warm basking area but a near constant air temperature. The ambient air temperature want to be around 88oF is created by using a ceramic night bulb. These radiate heat but produce no light. This bulb should be protected with a bulb guard and controlled by a good quality thermostat. This temperature can remain constant day and night. Temperatures should be monitored daily using a thermometer.
To light the enclosure we would use LED bulbs that do not radiate much heat or light. These can be on for 10-12 hours a day but should be turned off at night to ensure the snake gets a good day/night cycle.
False water cobras should be kept on a slightly moist substrate to increase the humidity inside the vivarium. Whilst many substrates are available we have found bark chips to be a great substrate which absorbs some moisture and that is what we keep our false water cobras on. It is also very easy to clean.
The false water cobra should be provided quite a large water bowl on the cool end of the enclosure. It should be large enough and deep enough for the snake to be fully submerged.
The snakes vivarium can be decorated with artificial plants for a more natural look. A hiding spot at each end of the enclosure will allow the snake to move freely and thermoregulate without feeling insecure.
As hatchlings, false water cobras should be fed weekly on defrosted pinky mice, as the snake grows the food size should be increased. Adult snakes can be fed once every two weeks as they can become overweight if fed weekly.
A water bowl large enough for the snake to get in to should be used providing it does not raise the vivarium humidity too much.
If you keep a male and female together, they may breed. You do not need to do anything to encourage this, providing they are healthy and the conditions are good, it will happen naturally. You need to consider whether you want this to happen. What will you do with the babies if you incubate the eggs?
A gravid female should have access to a nesting box to lay her eggs. The box should be large enough that she can fully turn-around inside it. We use moss to keep the box moist and humid.
The eggs should be incubated in an incubator at 84oF. We incubate our eggs in sealed boxes on a moisture rich substrate (such as Hatchrite) to trap the humidity around the eggs. After approximately 60 days the eggs will start to hatch, the first babies to emerge will encourage the rest of the eggs to hatch.
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