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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Facts About The Spitting Cobra...

There are currently several known species of Spitting Cobras (for example, the Banded Spitting Cobra - Naja nigricollis nigricincta, the Black Necked Cobra - Naja nigricollis nigricollis and the beautiful Red Spitting Cobra - Naja mossambica pallid). The size of the Spitting Cobras can differ greatly between the species; some Spitting Cobras are only a few feet long, whereas other Spitting Cobras such as the large Brown Spitting Cobras - Naja Ashei, have a maximum length of over 9 feet long. The color of the Spitting Cobras is vary variable, they may be black, brown, red, yellow, pinkish (with or without patterns) etc. Nevertheless, they do have one feature in common; all Spitting Cobras are hooded, like the King Cobra. Spitting Cobras can be found mainly in Africa, although some species live in the southern forests of Asia.

As its name indicates, this snake has a particularly effective method of defense. When it feels threatened, the Spitting Cobra rises up in typical cobra fashion, erecting its hood in warning. Holding its head high off the ground, it then “spits” large quantities of venom over a distance as great as 2m (6.5ft), aiming for the attackers eyes. An interesting fact about the Spitting Cobras is that it does not actually “spit” but spray venom in geometric patterns by contracting its jaw muscles and squeezing the poison out of small holes in the fangs. It uses a burst of air from its lungs to propel the venom out of its mouth.

The venom is a very potent defensive weapon, causing blindness if introduced to the eye and left untreated. It does not harm the skin, but if it lands on open wounds, it can prove deadly. Nevertheless, bites can be very dangerous if you happen to be unlucky and get bitten. These Cobras, however, are very reluctant to bite, preferring a run and spit tactic, making off while their enemy´s eyes are stinging.

Of course, Spitting Cobras do not hold back when they come across prey animals such as small mammals, birds, eggs and even other reptiles. They are rapidly killed by the powerful venom via the snake’s fangs. Adults are predominantly nocturnal, hiding inside termite hills, old logs or piles of leaves during the day. Young Cobras are active during the day, and with good cause (adult Cobras will eat them). Spitting cobras lay clutches of up to 15 eggs. The newborn snakes are fully independent and able to bite.

Source of image

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