Reptiles

Feeding Cobras

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You really couldn’t pay me enough to do this job. It’s like a terrifying game of jack in the box; you never know which drawer is going to produce a cobra that goes for your face instead of the mouse on that stick. This guy is playing it pretty cool with his whistling and everything, but think he is probably screaming on the inside.

With their distinctive hood, it’s hard to miss that these ravenous snakes are cobras. So, exactly how potentially fatal is this job position? Cobras are type of snake called elapids, with roughly around 270 different species. This is a predatory snake that kills is victims by administering deadly venom. This is done by biting their unlucky prey and injected the venom directly into their body, or even by squirting the venom into the poor soul’s eyes; causing extreme pain and blindness.

The venom is toxic concoction which contains postsynaptic neurotoxins. These neurotoxins are spread rapidly thru the victim’s blood stream, causing respiratory failure which will quickly cause death if untreated. The diaphragm places a crucial role in breathing, as you take a breath the diaphragm pulls on the lungs causing you to take in air. These neurotoxins basically render the diaphragm muscle paralyzed, which in simple terms means no breathing-not my idea of a good time!

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If bitten by a cobra your best option is to receive antivenom ASAP. If there is not antivenom you will need to placed on a ventilator mechanism that can breathe for you. The good news here (if you can call it that) is that the effects of the venom will eventually wear off, so you can be taken off of the machine when you are able to breathe on your own.

I’m assuming that in this kind of establishment there must be plenty of antivenom kits available, even so I think I’ll keep my distance from the lethal cobra.

 

Information from:
http://www.umich.edu/~elements/5e/web_mod/cobra/venom.htm

http://cobras.org/cobras-all-you-need-to-know/

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Wendy Aburto

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