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COILED COBRA

Chris Lord

New York, United States

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Cobra, a coiled snake at rest

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The Cobra is the largest, most venomous snake in the world as well as the deadliest in terms of human deaths caused by snakes. Just like the coral snake they belong to the Elapidae family. Snakes in this family are found around the world including the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.
A cobrasnake can reach a length of almost 20 feet.
The preferred diet of the Cobra consists of a mixture of rodents and birds, yet they also eat other snakes. Some particular species, such as the King Cobra, are said to have a preference for other snakes. They kill their prey by injecting their neurotoxic poison into the prey through their fangs. The neurotoxin of a cobrasnake destroys the communication between nerve cells. When this communication is destroyed the victim’s muscles cannot be used in any kind of defense.
Not all cobra bites are venomous; some bites are so called dry bites which may cause serious infections due to bacteria from the cobras mouth. It is estimated that approximately 75 % of people receiving a bite from a cobrasnake will eventually die from the medical complications arising from the bite. A real (not dry) bite from a cobra snake will in the most severe cases cause death within 10 minutes.
Since its neurotoxic venom acts by inhibiting the transfer of transmitter substances across the synaptic cleft, mechanical ventilation of a victim may be a way of increasing the victim’s chance of survival. If antivenin is necessary, it is of the upmost importance that the species of snake that caused the bite is correctly identified because the patient must be administered the correct antivenin and monitored properly.
Some, but not all cobras, build small nests where the females lay their eggs. The number of laid eggs varies from season to season as well as other natural factors, such as the weather and the amount of available food. Approximately 9 weeks after mating, an average of 20 to 40 eggs are laid. New cobras emerge after two too two and a half months. The mother leaves the eggs, by instinct, just before they hatch. This is a smart trick from Mother Nature because else she will eat the eggs in most cases, even though it sounds like an illogical behavior. The baby cobra snakes are venomous right from the start and their lengths vary depending on the species.
The king cobra has a special preference for other snakes but it will also feed on small lizards and even mammals. It is found in Asia where it prefers to live in tropical forests and grassland. It is 10-12 feet long and will attack if provoked even though it is considered shy.
The king cobra snake can be found in India, southern parts of China, in the Philippines and in Malaysia. The snake occupies a wide range of habitats but prefers areas with access to water. It is, by the way, an excellent swimmer.
Several species of the cobra snakes can spit. Spitting is used as a defence against predators. Generally a human can’t die from cobra snake saliva only. The venom in the snake’s saliva can however cause permanent blindness and give scars if untreated.

Artwork Comments

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  • © Kira Bodensted
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