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The Spitting Cobras


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, also distinguishes itself in this large family of snakes (elapids) by the fact that it feeds almost entirely on other snakes with mice and small birds also falling prey to its venom.

The King Cobra is also unique because of its size - it can reach 5.85m (almost 20 feet) in length, which makes it the longest poisonous snake in the world. The latest discovery of a new species of cobra was made in 2003 when it was identified by 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.

According to a study conducted on Malaysian cobra snake victims only 55% of the bites 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 destroy the nerves (neurotoxin) , which induces respiratory failure half an hour after being bitten, giving you 30 minutes to get 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.

 


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