måndag 16 november 2009


By Colin Jones

The spitting cobra is one of the most peculiar species of snake as it not only has a deadly bite but it also sprays venom into the eyes of prey and aggressors alike. Contact with the eyes can be very painful and even blinding, therefore, if you accidentally get cobra snake venom in your eyes, wash them out immediately so as to prevent permanent damage to the tissue.

The King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is also unusual in this large family of snakes (elapidae) because it feeds almost exclusively on other snakes with mice and small birds also making up part of its diet.

The King Cobra sets another record in terms of size: it can get to nearly twenty feet long, which makes it the largest venomous snake in the world. The most recent discovery of a new cobra species was made in 2003, when a specimen was identified at a London Zoo as part of an illegal shipment of exotic pets.

Going by DNA reports, this new species of snake is similar to the red spitting cobra but differs in genes. It apparently originates from an area between Sudan and Egypt and it has been named the 'Nubian Spitting Cobra'.

Though highly dangerous when it is threatened cobras will not attack if you leave them alone, although the spit is very accurate for about two meters. Compared to the strike of a rattlesnake, the cobra is fairly slow in its attack and furthermore, many bites prove to be blank, that is without venom.

A study conducted on Malaysian cobra snake victims indicates that only 55% of the wounds involved venom release and the same statistics indicate a mortality rate of 10% for people bitten, since the toxins injected into the blood of the prey devastate the nerves (neurotoxin) inducing respiratory failure half an hour after being bitten, giving you 30 minutes to seek an antidote.

Their colouration varies from light green-grey to black, although juveniles are yellow and black banded.This snake is widespread throughout south-eastern Asia.

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