Forest Cobra Bite: Why it has Enough Venom to Kill 65 Humans & How to Treat It

Written by August Buck
Published: April 23, 2022
Image Credit Kurit afshen/Shutterstock.com
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Think You Know Snakes?

You know about cobras and their distinct potency, but how much do you know about the forest cobra bite? This cobra species is known for having enough venom in a single bite to kill 65 humans, but why is this snake so powerful? And how much venom does this snake have in its bite exactly?

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the forest cobra and its potent bite. We will address the style that forest cobras tend to bite in, how they interact with humans, and what you should do to treat a forest cobra bite if you ever happen to be in such an unfortunate situation. Let’s get started and learn all about this deadly snake now!

Why is the Forest Cobra Bite So Powerful?

forest cobra bite
The forest cobra has an average venom yield of 570 mg, and can bite with as much as 1100 mg per bite.

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The primary reason that the forest cobra’s bite is so powerful is because of the high level of venom that it injects. However, the forest cobra also bites with a very specific neurotoxin that incapacitates its prey with very little effort. In fact, the forest cobra bite can kill a human within 30-100 minutes, depending on the amount of venom injected.

Another primary reason why the forest cobra’s bite is so powerful is the fact that it is an aggressive snake when defending itself. Not only does this lead to more bites at a time, but the forest cobra is quick to attack. It is fast and fierce, often attacking long before an unsuspecting person or animal is ready.

How Much Venom Does a Forest Cobra Bite Have?

The forest cobra has an average venom yield of 570 mg, and can bite with as much as 1100 mg per bite. This is a significant amount, especially when you consider the fact that the black mamba bites with a maximum of 400 mg of venom in a single bite. This is the primary reason why the forest cobra is so deadly. No animal on earth needs that much venom in a single bite!

The venom has many potent neurotoxins, including ones that lead to paralysis and organ failure. In fact, recent studies have been performed to ensure that a more accurate and powerful antivenom can be manufactured. The forest cobra isn’t capable of spitting like some of its snake cousins, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a powerful and dangerous force!

Do Forest Cobras Bite Repeatedly?

It is unclear whether or not forest cobras bite repeatedly, even though they don’t need to. There is enough venom in a single bite to incapacitate anyone or anything, but the aggressive nature of this snake may mean that it bites more than once. Like many other cobras, the forest cobra rears up when it feels threatened, often capable of biting from an extreme distance. 

forest cobra bite
The forest cobra is particularly nimble, often dashing forward to attack if it is surprised or deems someone as a severe enough threat.

Kurit afshen/Shutterstock.com

What Animals Do Forest Cobras Hunt?

Forest cobras are a highly adapted species of cobra, capable of swimming and climbing trees over 30 feet into the air. They also live at multiple altitudes and locations, making them even more adaptable than other snakes. They eat and hunt a variety of prey for this reason, including:

  • Fish
  • Other types of snakes
  • Many types of lizards
  • Birds
  • Bird eggs
  • Amphibians
  • Rodents
  • Small mammals

Depending on the specific location of the forest cobra, they adapt to eat whatever is most commonly found in their area. This is another reason why this snake is potentially so dangerous. Not only can it be found on the forest floor or hidden underneath debris. It may also be swimming or dwelling in the trees above your head!

forest cobra bite
Like many other cobras, the forest cobra rears up when it feels threatened, often capable of biting from an extreme distance.

iStock.com/takeo1775

How Do Forest Cobras Interact with Humans?

Given that forest cobras exist in relatively remote locations, they do not interact with humans often. In fact, very few people have been bitten by the forest cobra overall, but this doesn’t mean that its bite should be taken lightly. Let’s discuss what happens should a person stumble upon a forest cobra and how this snake will potentially react!

Given the aggressive nature of this particular snake, many forest cobras rear up in a defensive stance when surprised or threatened. Like most other cobras, the forest cobra can rise up and reach up to two or three feet tall. It also has a signature hooded appearance when threatened, fanning out its hood to appear larger and more fearsome.

The forest cobra is particularly nimble, often dashing forward to attack if it is surprised or deems someone as a severe enough threat. It also bites from such a distance that you may not be ready for it. The forest cobra lunges forward and strikes, especially if it is disturbed or otherwise handled in any way. Thankfully, the forest cobra rarely interacts with humans given its location, and we can all thank our lucky stars for that!

How Do You Treat a Forest Cobra Snake Bite?

forest cobra bite
Depending on how much venom is in a single bite, the amount of time it takes for a forest cobra to kill a fully grown man is brief.

Syed Usman Zaidi/Shutterstock.com

If you are bitten by a forest cobra, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. Depending on how much venom is in a single bite, the amount of time it takes for a forest cobra to kill a fully grown man is brief. Not only can this snake bite with far more venom than is necessary. It also often strikes out of surprise or fear, leading many humans to be bitten in complete surprise.

Plus, when you consider the fact that forest cobras live in relatively remote locations in Africa, treating a bite from one becomes even more necessary. The amount of time it takes someone to arrive at a medical facility after a forest cobra bite may mean that survival isn’t possible. All the more reason to take extra precautions when in the habitat of the forest cobra!

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