Saturday, October 22, 2011

Creature Feature: Red Spitting Cobra.

What would a month marked by the most magical, creepy holiday around be without at least one snake? While we're at it, let's make it one that was more or less built to intimidate, even if you know nothing about snakes already:

From here.

The red spitting cobra (Naja pallida) is one of those poisonous snakes that just looks menacing. It's native to eastern Africa, and, like most snakes, feeds on rodents. It also eats other snakes like the larger king cobra. This cobra happens to be blood red, so you know it's cool.

Spitting cobras do not really spit their venom. Instead, their fangs are designed to spray venom. They usually do not bite humans, instead preferring to aim straight for the eyes. Their aim is to blind their enemies, not kill them. In the wild, blindness can easily mean death, especially if one happens to be a visual hunter like a lion:

 (This doesn't look like a red spitter...but you get the idea.)

That lion was fairly close. Spitting cobras have a spray range of up to 2 meters, so do not anger the snakes from afar, either. As the video said, they have evolved very good aim. If the venom reaches the eye, it may cause corneal swelling and permanent blindness. A regular bite has neurotoxins and hemotoxins, and requires proper medical attention ASAP. Yeah, the same goes for any cobra.

From Wiki. :)

Spitting cobras, probably of the Egyptian variety, inspired the uraeus, the cobra so often found on Egyptian headdresses. The uraeus snake, a symbol of the primordial goddess Wadjet, was said to grant the Pharaoh divine authority. According to legend, it could also spit fire from between the pharaoh's eyebrows. We fail to see a part of that image that is not awesome.

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