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Spitting Cobra Facts

This article dwells on spitting cobra facts. Spitting cobras are known for their jet of venom, sprayed aiming at the eyes of the predator. There are different species of spitting cobras. Though we will not get into specific facts about the red spitting cobra and black spitting cobra facts, here are some general spitting cobra facts.

We're all aware of the famous cobra with its threatening hood. There are 270 types of cobras that have been identified as of today. One such type is the spitting cobra. Most of us are familiar with the uniqueness of the spitting cobra. The minute we think of the spitting cobra, we picture the cobra spitting out a stream of venom. Spitting cobras are quite intriguing reptiles. Let's have a look at some more spitting cobra facts. Read more on snakes.

The Spitting Cobra

The misleading name...
The name spitting cobra is actually misleading, causing one to think that the cobra actually spits venom. However, the underlying truth is that spitting cobras are those species of cobras that actually spray venom into the face of the predator. The venom is not ejected by puckering the lips and blowing the venom outward, instead is sprayed out in distinctive patterns from the venom glands.

Venom spraying fangs...
Spitting cobras eject venom from their fangs as a defensive response, on encountering their predators. The muscles of the venom sacs contract and force out the venom, via the holes at the tip of the fangs. As the venom is ejected from the fang tip, a blast of air is expelled from the lungs, which propels the venom forward. This gives the venom its force. It's this venom spray that makes these spitting cobras one of the most feared snakes. They can spray their venom to a distance of 10 feet. This venom will not harm the skin, however, if it comes in contact with the eyes it can cause blindness. Now we know why these snakes aim at their predator's face! Read more on types of snake venom.

Venom spray is only a defense mechanism and is not used to obtain food. However, the venom is used to kill the prey via lovely bites. Spitting cobras relish birds, lizards, carrion and other snakes. In captivity, spitting cobras are found feeding on small rodents, frogs, lizards and toads. Read more on what do snakes eat.

Effect of the venom...
This venom is a neurotoxic, tissue-destroying, blood-cell-destroying venom stored in the fangs. The accuracy with which the cobra sprays its venom on the face of the predator is simply quite remarkable! As the venom hits the predator's eyes, the cobra gets its chance to escape. When the neurotoxic venom comes in contact with the eyes, besides causing the stinging sensation, the venom gets completely absorbed by the capillaries of the conjunctiva in the eyes. This conduces to irritation in the cornea, followed by the tissue damage caused by the venom. All this results in temporary blindness. Extensive tissue damage can conduce to permanent blindness, thus, eyes hit by spitting cobra venom need to be washed as soon as possible. Wash your eyes quickly with water or milk.

Species of spitting cobras...
There are at least 10 species of spitting cobras existing on the planet. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. Some of the species of spitting cobras are Naja pallida (red spitting cobra), Naja mossambica, Naja nigricollis, Naja siamensis, etc. In 2007, researchers in Kenya and UK stumbled upon a new species of spitting cobra called Naja Ashei, which happens to be the world's largest species of spitting cobra. They are capable of injecting twice as much venom, as any other snake would inject in one bite. One bite of this species has enough venom to kill 20 people. Then there are the black spitting cobras, however, we won't get into any black spitting cobra facts now.


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