This is a genuinely terrifying clip of a cobra captured in a village in India. The magnificent snake is wedged between a family’s door and the door frame and has no intention of letting anybody into the house. Occasionally, it strikes with lightning speed, demonstrating that it feels threatened and how deadly these snakes can be! Luckily, no one is close enough actually to get bitten.
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How Many Different Types of Cobra Are There?
The term cobra is often used to refer to a group of more than 40 species of snake that span more than six genera. The snakes have a few things in common. Most of them are venomous and inject the venom through large, permanently erect fangs at the front of their mouths. The exact formulation of the venom varies, but most contain a neurotoxin, sometimes mixed with hemotoxins and cytotoxins. In this clip, the snake raises its head as a defensive gesture. This is common amongst cobras, who also spread their hood to make themselves look more prominent. The hood is an enlarged flap of skin around the neck that varies in size and color between species. Some examples of cobra species are the Indian cobra and the Egyptian cobra.
How Dangerous Are Cobras?
There’s no doubt that snake bites are potentially very dangerous. The World Health Organization estimates that 5.4 million people are bitten by snakes yearly. Of these, between 1.8 and 2.7 million are envenomings. The humans in this clip were very sensibly kept away from the snake. Cobra venom is potentially deadly to humans. Also, the snakes can spit their venom some distance. If it touches the skin, it can cause blistering and even more damage if it gets into your eyes. The symptoms of envenomation are variable but usually include drowsiness, nausea, pain, swelling, and bruising around the bite. People bitten by cobras must receive medical treatment immediately.
How likely is a cobra to bite you? As with most snakes, they would prefer to avoid you than get into a confrontation. Most of the time, the snakes are not aggressive but use their bite to defend themselves when they feel threatened. Cobras are particularly likely to feel threatened if they have nests to protect.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/insaneDynamix
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