The Spitting Cobras

April 19, 2010

in Cat Health

The species of snake called the spitting cobra is very unusual as it not only has a poisonous bite but it also spits venom into the eyes of its prey and aggressors. Contact of this venom with your eyes is very painful and can even blind you temporarily, therefore, if you get cobra venom in your eyes, irrigate them with water at once in order to prevent permanent tissue damage.

The King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is also remarkable in this large family of snakes (elapidae) because it feeds almost entirely on other snakes with mice and small birds also falling prey to its poison.

The King Cobra is also a record-holder because of its size – it can reach almost twenty feet (585 cms) in length, which makes it the largest poisonous snake in the world. The most recent discovery of a new species of cobra was made in 2003 as part of an illegal shipment of exotic pets at London Zoo.

DNA studies revealed that this new species of snake is similar to the red spitting cobra but has different genes. It seems to originate from an area between Sudan and Egypt and it has been called 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.

Statistics of a study conducted on Malaysian cobra snake victims indicate that only 55% of the bites involved poison release and the same statistics indicate a mortality rate of only 10% for people bitten, since the poisons injected into the blood of the prey destroy the nerves (neurotoxins), which induces respiratory failure approximately half an hour after being bitten, so you have 30 minutes to seek help.

The colouration is variable from light green-grey to black, while juveniles are yellow and black banded. This snake can find a habitat all over south-eastern Asia.

Are you interested in the Cobras? To learn more about snakes visit Caring for Snakes our brand-new web site.

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