World's largest spitting cobra has been discovered

The cobra species found in Kenya is the world's largest spitting cobra ever found. The size is about 2.6 metres long and with enough venom to kill up to 20 people in one bite . The large brown spitting cobra, initially included under the black-necked spitting cobra species, was discovered at a snake farm in June 2004, but confirmed as a separate species this year. The discovery brings to six the number of African spitting cobra species.

It grows to a maximum two metres, with an average of 1.5 metres, scientists said, making the new species the largest in the world. The new Naja Ashei species, named after James Ashe who founded the Bio-Ken snake farm in Watamu on the Kenyan coast, produces 6.2 millilitres of liquid venom, which is the among the largest amounts of venom ever extracted from a snake at a single milking.

Herpetologist Wolfgang Wuster and Donald G. Bradley in a study said the new species was found in the dry lowlands of northern and eastern Kenya, northeastern Uganda, southern Ethiopia and southern Somalia. "But the most common area you can find this species is along the Kenyan coast," said herpetologist Royjan Taylor, who manages the Bio-Ken snake farm.

Source : 2007 AFP



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