A new species of giant spitting cobra, measuring nearly nine feet and possessing enough venom to kill at least 15 people, has been discovered in Kenya, a conservation group said on Friday.
WildlifeDirect said the cobras were the world’s largest and had been identified as unique. The species has been named Naja Ashei after James Ashe, who founded Bio-Ken snake farm on Kenya’s tropical coast where the gigantic serpents are found.
A new giant species of spitting cobra — about 2.6 metres long and with enough venom to kill up to 20 people in one bite — has been discovered in Kenya, a study said Friday.
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 black-necked species 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.
It confirms Ashe’s fears that the Naja Ashei was a different kind of snake that was classified under the wrong species, yet it was qualified to form its own species.
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.
The discovery brings to six the number of African spitting cobra species, the study said.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.