Cobra – for many, this word alone conjures up an image in the mind’s eye of a snake standing proudly with a hood spread wide. It may even arouse an array of emotion from reverence to fear to respect, love and even hate.
And although these iconic snakes are quite familiar to us, there is still very little known about them. Many so-called cobra snake facts are nothing more than hearsay.
There is some confusion/ debate around what a cobra snake actually is - what characteristics allow us to call some snakes cobras and not others?
Cobra de capelo translated from Portuguese means “snake with hood” a term which loosely places a variety of snakes into the cobra bracket.
By this definition snakes like the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), the rinkhals ( Hemachatus haemachatus) and the Cape coral snake (Aspidelaps lubricus) are all cobras.
Yes you say, of course they are!
But what about the black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) then? Look closely – it also has the ability to spread a small hood. Is it a cobra?
Not if you take the genetic road.
There are many snakes which look similar to cobras but don’t belong in the same group – genetically speaking. Common names often cause confusion; true cobras belong to the genus Naja and currently comprise of about 28 species (excluding subspecies) worldwide.
To learn more about this fascinating genus of snakes, I have put together this article to dispel some myths and set the cobra snake facts straight. I hope you learn something new, I certainly did.
Wow, this is almost unbelievable – self injecting snake venom!!?
This guy, Steve Ludwin, has been injecting himself with various types of snake venom for over 20 years!
At first I felt totally against this, but after watching the video and seeing where Steve is coming from my feelings have changed a little.
He’s passionate, honest and realistic. He doesn’t pretend that he is invincible or act like he knows what he is doing.
On an intellectual and scientific level he doesn’t have a clue what these experiments are actually doing to him or his body but he has a knowledge gained from experience that very few can match.
Although I’d never even think of injecting snake venom myself, one starts to see that there may be some real benefits to the ‘work’ that Steve has been doing if he could be paired up with a good snake venom researcher.
Injecting yourself with snake venom…! Unbelievable?
Call for a large snake high up in a tree. Cream underneath, brown to dark on top. In the tree for most of the day, it started off getting harassed by the owner’s cats in the morning while trying to eat a western leopard toad.
Those of us who got the call all thought the same thing, boomslang – it will probably move off if given the chance. I was closest so I went. The snake was about two stories high splayed out on the fine leafy branches on top. The light was just starting to fade as the sun dropped behind mountains. With a bit of help from the onlookers I got sight of the snake – creamy yellow below, dark on top. Read more…
Cape cobras are fairly common in Cape Town. I’ve caught my fair share but none have tested me more than this relatively large snake.
They are diurnal and tend to move when temperatures reach the high 20′s and low 30′s.
A hot snake is an active snake and this is no more evident than in this tricky capture. Granted I was not nearly as prepared as I should have been; my usual snake capture container was stolen only a few hours before and I was expecting (lesson learned) a much smaller snake.
In the video you’ll see how tricky it was for me to keep this Cape cobra away from my arm and how it needed more than a little encouragement to stay in the bucket I had to improvise with.