Cape cobra

The Cape cobra (Naja nivea), also called the yellow cobra is a moderately sized, highly venomous cobra inhabiting a wide variety of biomes across southern Africa including arid savanna, fynbos, bushveld, desert and semi-desert regions. The species is diurnal and is a feeding generalist, preying on a number of different species and carrion. Predators of this species include birds of prey and different species of mongoose. The Cape cobra is also known as the "geelslang" (yellow snake) and "bruinkapel" (brown cobra) in South Africa. Afrikaans speaking South Africans also refer to the Cape cobra as "koperkapel", mainly because of a rich yellow color variation. This species has no known subspecies.

The Cape cobra is a medium sized species of cobra. Specimens typically average around 1.2 to 1.4 metres (3.9 to 4.6 ft) long, but it may grow up to 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) in length. Males are slightly larger than females. The longest specimen on record was a male from Aus, Namibia and measured 1.87 metres (6.1 ft) long. Another very large specimen was also a male found in De Hoop Nature Reserve with a total length of 1.85 metres (6.1 ft). This species shows a wide range of colour variation; from yellow and golden brown to dark brown and even black. In addition, individuals show a varying degree of black or pale stippling and blotches, and although it has been stated that colour and marking are geographically related, it is also possible to observe virtually all colour varieties at one location. For example, it is well known that the Kalahari Desert specimens in Botswana and Namibia are usually more consistently yellow than the more southerly populations. However, at DeHoop, and other specific locations in the Western Cape, all colour variations have been recorded.