Mfezi Breeding Project

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Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Mehelya » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:33 pm

Ok, so I've been humming and haa-ing about doing a project with an indiginous cobra species, and I know that there are a lot of Snouties, and the other various Naja species being bred in captivity at the moment. So, I settled on possibly trying our wonderful, ever-friendly, ever-ready, venom-loaded Mozambique Spitting Cobra...

Now, I just have a single question before I finalize my decision to try and tackle a project of this magnitude:

Would people be interested in captive bred Mozambique Spitting Cobras?

I'm not asking this question from a financial side, as I'm not in this for the money, and I know that I'll never make money out of my passion, but for the love of the hobby. Also, if I do tackle this project, then I do not want to be left stranded with a multitude of voracious, venomous little beasties that could quite easily make my life a living nightmare. Adults are not the easiest things to work with in this world, and I can only imagine how much more of a mission miniature versions are.

Yes, I know that in the wild they are a dime a dozen, and probably one of the most common cobra species found all over SA. But, that's the thing... I've only seen them in the wild, and have not yet come across anyone breeding captive specimens. I know they can be high-strung, aggressive, and spit readily. I have had the pleasure of working with these beasties on several occassions, and I know it's no joke with the seemingly endless supply of potent venom that this species seems to have in reserve! And their marksmanship is bar none! I am purely interested in doing this project for the sake of getting more of our indiginous reptiles into the trade as captive bred, and to have the sense of accomplishment in having done it to the best of my abilities.

So, guys and gals, what would the verdict be?
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby monopeltis » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:37 pm

Recipe for disaster, i know numerous people who have developed elapid allergies from mfezi's.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Mehelya » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:05 pm

Thanks Monopeltis, I realise, and understand all the dangers involved with working with these "lovely" beasties. I have kept a few of our indiginous elapids over the years, and fully understand what I am letting myself in for. Are you talking about allergic build-up from envenomation, including venom sprayed in the eyes/mouth?
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby marc bt » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:24 pm

Mehelya, i think you have mentioned a lot of good reason's why they should not be bred or kept in captivity. They are just not suited for captivity.
This is just my opinion. I like the indigenous idea though, maybe do another project with another species?
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby snake kid » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:42 pm

Well in the near future I would't mind getting some CB babies from you Rian so by all means go for it. Just be careful. It will be a huge task and you need to get all the safety tips possible. Good luck and be safe.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Mehelya » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:11 am

Monopeltis, forgot to also say: are you perhaps referring to breathing in dried venom dust/particles? If so, do you have any documentation in regards to that? Can't find anything.

Marc bt, I see your point of view completely, and I have mentioned a few cons (which are constantly on my mind) of working with them. That aside, they aren't as big as our Forests and some of the other cobras, and are not as confrontational as the Snouties, of which I have kept both. They also tend to (not always though, some individuals remain irrascible and easily provoked) get used to human interaction (not handling), and like many of our other species of reptiles, can quite easily live around/co-habit with humans for years without making their presence known. I have to say that many of our local species have been overlooked for many reasons, including the "aggression" and "danger" factor. I'm looking at this from several angles, and I'm sure that even the guys who started breeding Mambas and Forests had the same trepidation, and thoughts that I am pondering.

Snake kid, I think one needs a suite of armor to work with these boys... Or at least a bio-hazard suit! :lol: They have a seemingly endless supply of venom, trust me, and they are not afraid to use it. The venom is also not something to laugh off either. They generally don't get too large, and can settle down quite nicely, as long as you don't spook them, as they don't have to rear to "spit" and have an approximately 98%+ chance of hitting you in the eyes. They will give any sniper a run for their money. There is a lot of documentation in regards to their "spraying" abilities, and how it's done. Quite a fascinating read. The other plus side, is they don't spit at everything that moves like the Naja pallida, which I have also kept, and respect for their accuracy and potency.

Marc bt, if you had to suggest a species that hasn't been done yet, what would you suggest? ;)

I like this kind of constructive critisism, makes for a healthy chat. Keep 'em coming.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby vuduman » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:47 am

I think you might sit with most of the babies at first ,however...I've had some captive hatched babies before and they where very chilled compared to every other one you get.Secondly-I have seen some very light coloured ones.I think with a bit of celective breeding,you can make caramel coloured cobras with black edged scales.You never know -maybe it catches on at some stage.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby monopeltis » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:54 am

Mehelya wrote:Monopeltis, forgot to also say: are you perhaps referring to breathing in dried venom dust/particles? If so, do you have any documentation in regards to that? Can't find anything.



Yes I was referring to aerated venom and dried venom particles. I know it is a problem from personal experience as well as several friends who now have allergies(cannont even handle ne or walk into a room without getting a rash, itchy eyes and coughing). Also, look for papers by Bryan Fry on venomous keeping where he approaches the subject Don't have a link right now. They are not common in the local trade because they are common as dirt and are not worth the effort.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Smeegle » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:15 am

I know they are not for everyone, but I have four Mozams and two Reds and I have found that they settle down well and make easy and happy captives.

But yeah, most (I think all?) of the keepers I personally know hate them with a passion, so you would most likely only have one person interested in your babies:)
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby michael » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:19 am

Every species is worth the effort. The captive bred babies I’ve had in the past settled down very well. One in particular even totally stopped spitting. While I agree with Monopeltis on the dangers of working with these cobra’s regularly I still think that they are very beautiful and could make a nice addition to any cobra collection especially captive bred animals.

My only question is why not try get some of the rarer species that are occasionally available like N. woodi these would definitely be very popular in the trade, and supplying captive bred babies would create less market for wild caught animals. Even trying to get specific colour varieties of N nivea would be worth breeding.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Sly » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:08 am

Riaan , just my 20cents: Why not Rinkhals mate, i know not a true cobra.....blah blah, but man what a beautiful snake, live bearers apose to egg layers, make fantastic display animals, not as venomous as your African spitters and colour varities already exsist, some nice banded rinkhals, also not alot of work or effort has been put it this snakes breeding and research.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Smeegle » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:23 am

Sly wrote:Riaan , just my 20cents: Why not Rinkhals mate, i know not a true cobra.....blah blah, but man what a beautiful snake, live bearers apose to egg layers, make fantastic display animals, not as venomous as your African spitters and colour varities already exsist, some nice banded rinkhals, also not alot of work or effort has been put it this snakes breeding and research.


I was thinking the exact same thing! I often wonder why they are not more popular in the trade.

They handle much easier and most importantly they have very good toilet habits. Spitters defecate everywhere and all the time!
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Bushviper » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:28 am

At the moment Craig is trying to sell his N. nigricincta and that would be a far better project to attempt. They also spit, they also calm down but the nice thing is they are rare and the babies will sell very easily.

I cannot see people buying snakes that can be captured (and are released) on a daily basis. They are so easy to keep and if there was a slight market for them the snake catchers would be keeping back gravid females and hatching the eggs. I have never once had a request for a Moz spitter.
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Mehelya » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:04 am

Thanks all, this is beginning to sound interesting.

Vuduman : Caramel Mozambique Spitters?! That would be interesting! But even with all their drawbacks, they are still amazing animals to have. I've seen more of the reddish with fishnet effect, and some grays hanging around, but they have eluded me over the last few years.

Smeegle : I know what you mean... Getting drenched in venom is not anyones cup of tea, even when you can't see the little beggars! The Red Spitters are no joke either! My one kept me on my toes, and was amazingly accurate, and completely unpredictable! But still a "fun" animal to have around.

Michael : I had wanted to start another project on a different species, which shall remain nameless for now, but Nature Conservation denied my specific permit applications. Maybe I should just keep bombarding them with permit applications and letters until they relent! :lol: The biggest constraints in doing the rarer species like woodi, is financial constraints (being self-employed), and transport. I live in the middle of nowhere, and am also saving up to try and import a pair/trio of Drymarchon melanurus melanurus, which will set me back quite a bit... But that's one exotic that I would love to work with! The other problem with those rarer species is that they will definitely be wild-caught, and that is 99% illegal within their range, and I don't want to start something good based on something bad. Nivea, and even annulifera I'm not too keen on working with, as they are prone to standing their ground, and are more than willing to be confrontational, and I have utter respect for them, and prefer to work with the more "retiring" species. I have also thought of Rinkhals, but am personally unable to sex them due to lack of probing experience, seeing as the latest developments show that the dimorphism we've always relied on can be quite incorrect. I would love to work with the zebra, western barred, or black spitters, but for reasons mentioned just now, that would be a little hard. I'm not planning on doing this right away, as there are still many factors to consider, and I am planning such an undertaking over the next 2 or 3 years, as I don't want to just rush into something like this without getting my head around it properly. If something had to go bad, then it could be a life-threatening situation, and I want to be prepared for any and all eventualities.

Sly! Long time dude! I am wanting to do a rinkhals project, but I didn't want to poach on your territory! :oops: I know you are working hard on that one! I'm also a bit "bad" at sexing them, as I just said to Michael (no probing experience), and with my luck, I'd probably end up with 2 males... Kind of hard to breed with that... :lol: Must still send you a pic of my little rink I've got. Got some nice greens coming out on him/her... I'm also going to hopefully have some CBB puffies next season, so will see how that pans out, and if my pair is willing and able. Now, that is going to be an interesting project, seeing as the male has some interesting things about him. but I've said too much on that already! Shhh! ;)

Bushviper : Nigricincta is a really nice species, and I would love to work with them, and as you say, they are not very common in the trade, so maybe that is the way to go. I'm not overly concerned as to whether they spit or not, but I am just wanting to do something that is not common in the trade as far as our indiginous goes. Both as a personal project, and for introducing an uncommon species into the trade as CBB. The money-making side is immaterial to me, I just do this for the passion of the hobby!

Thanks guys, you have all given me some very valid points and opinions to think about! Always best to ask, and be prepared for something before one just dives in head-first. You never know what rocks you'll bang your noggin on when you hit the water!
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Re: Mfezi Breeding Project

Postby Sly » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:10 pm

Hi Riaan, yes i'm looking at doing some nice Rinkhals this year, but the more the guys doing breeding projects the better mate, go for it
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