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Chapter: Modern Medical Toxicology: Organic Poisons (Toxins): Venomous Bites and Stings

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King Cobra - Poisons (Toxins)

King Cobra - Poisons (Toxins)
Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah, Naja hannah, Naja bungarus. Other Common Names: Hamadryad.

King Cobra

Scientific Name

Ophiophagus hannah, Naja hannah, Naja bungarus.

Other Common Names

Hamadryad.

Geographical Distribution

Himalayan region, Bengal, Assam, and hills and forests of South India. The king cobra is a forest dweller primarily, but also inhabits mangrove, and occasionally tea and coffee estates. It feeds on other snakes, and is rarely encountered.

Physical Appearance

·              The king cobra is the largest venomous snake in the world, and grows up to 8 to 12 feet or more in length (Fig 12.10).


·              Like the common cobra, it has a hood, but lacks the mono-cellate or binocellate marking; the hood is much narrower than that of the common cobra.

·       Colour varies from yellow to green, brown, or black.

·       The head has two large occipital shields behind the pari-etals. This is a unique feature of this species. The 3rd supralabial touches the eye and nose shield as in the case of the common cobra, but cuneate is absent.

Nature of Venom

·              Predominantly neurotoxic. However, according to some reports they may be able to produce haemorrhagic activity also.

 

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