Saturday, December 08, 2007

Nine-Foot, Spitting Snake Discovered

Imagine your walking through the wild when a reptile’s head pokes out from behind a waist-high bush, it unfurls a dreadful hood. You’re a few yards away so you should be safe. But it fires a bolt of venom that hits you right in the eyes before you have time to turn and run.

No, this isn’t a scene from Jurassic Park. It’s an encounter that may play out for visitors in the dry lowlands of Africa, in parts of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia where a species of giant cobra was recently “discovered.”

“Ashe’s spitting cobra” had previously been classified as a “black-necked spitting cobra.” But after analysis of blood and tissue samples, it was split off into its own species,
reported National Geographic this week.

The Ashe can grow to nine feet in length, spit venom “several yards” and “is believed to deliver more venom with a single bite than any other cobra on the planet.”

Scientists believe other snake species have been inaccurately grouped together. Could this type of classification error be common in other animals as well? If so, it makes you wonder how many species are actually being wiped out when it’s reported that a single one is lost.

I’m sure paleontologists visiting from another star system will sort it out in a few hundred million years.

Pound360 Archive

About Me

My photo
I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.