Friday, September 11, 2009

Cobra Venom

Cobra Venom

Cobras are vipers that expand their neck ribs to form a hood. The king cobra or hamadryad (Ophiophagus hannah or Naja hannah) is the world’s largest venomous snake. King cobras have been known to grow up to eighteen feet long. However, the average cobra grows to a length of a little more twelve feet. The king cobra’s bite is lethal about ten percent of the time.

Effects and Symptoms: Symptoms start fifteen to thirty minutes after the bite, and are characterized by pain within ten minutes of the bite with slow onset of swelling around the location of the bite. In addition, the victim’s blood pressure will fall. Convulsions are another effect that may appear as well. Lung paralysis can occur up to ten days after a bite by an elapid (member of the cobra family). Death usually comes about by means of respiratory failure.

Case Study: One person who was bitten by a cobra said, "I was sinking into a state that could not be called unconsciousness, but one in which I was no longer aware of what was going on about me … I felt no anxiety; I felt no pain; it didn’t even strike me as strange that the darkness was closing in on the light… I am certain I did not lose consciousness entirely at any time; I only felt a complete and utter lassitude in which nothing seemed to matter —not at all unpleasant if this is the way death comes from cobra poisoning."


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