The snouted cobra is a relatively large species. Adult specimens average between 1.2 and 1.8 metres (3.9 and 5.9 ft) in length, but they may reach lengths of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft). Colouration of dorsal scales may vary from yellowish to greyish-brown, dark brown or blue-black. Ventral scale colouration is yellow with darker mottles. A banded phase occurs throughout the species' range and is blue-black with 7-11 yellow to yellow-brown cross bars, the lighter bands being half the width of the darker bands. The latter colour phase is more common in males. Ventrally, it is yellow mottled with black. A darker throat band is present and is usually more prominent in juveniles.