A FOUR METER LONG COBRA WHICH COULD KILL AN ELEPHANT IN LESS THAN 15 MINUTES
The animal and nature park, Terra Natura Benidorm now has the largest venomous snake in Europe in its park, a cobra that measures over four meters long.
The King Cobra named “Frank” arrived at the Benidorm theme park with his female companion, who is also rather large, and measures 3, 80 meters in length.
With a reptile this dangerous, safety measures in the park have been increased and extreme care was taken during the transfer of the snakes to their new home.
The Cobra venom is extremely potent and due to the size of this specimen and the amount of venom it is capable of injecting into its victim, its bite would kill an elephant or a human being in less than 15 minutes.
The Cobra venom is a neurotoxin that attacks the nervous system with devastating results. It also contains an enzyme, called lecithinase, which rapidly destroys the cell wall causing serious tissue damage.
The fangs, vertical and stationary are located at the front of the upper jaw and Frank’s fangs measure nearly 11 millimetres in length. The new security measures have been designed to prevent the snakes from escaping and any other type of incident.
Keepers will have no direct contact with the cobras while caring for them. Special chambers have been installed with doors that will close to isolate and control each reptile while they are receiving food or medication, without any “handling” being necessary.
Frank’s previous keeper died in a British zoo after being bitten during handling, so direct contact with both snakes is strictly prohibited.
The new facility in Terra Natura is equipped with safety glass and heating systems to maintain a constant temperature of 28 degrees.
It is divided into four areas, two areas to keep the male and female apart and the other two as a back up holding areas which will have a constant temperature of 30 degrees.
Each cobra has free access to the facility and its holding area so it can move between them to regulate its body temperature.
Reptiles, cannot manufacture their own body heat, they have to rely on ambient temperature to raise or lower their internal core temperature. Proper thermoregulation is essential for health and for specific processes such as digestion and immune function.
The cobra feeds on other snakes in the wild which makes their diet very difficult to maintain in captivity so they will be gradually accustomed to eat rodents.
Small pieces of rat meat will be hidden amongst the debris left behind when the snakes shed their skins. This way they will become accustomed to the smell and eventually eat the rodents on their own.
The pair are being kept under observation to monitor their behaviour and health after a series of scans and blood tests were carried out while they were under sedation. An identification chip was also placed in each one.
The aggressiveness of the king cobra is such that females store sperm for several years to fertilize themselves so they do not have to mate again. The male cobra can sometimes devour the females after mating.
Even the hatchlings secrete pheromones to neutralize the mother’s appetite and tend to leave the nest soon after birth to avoid being eaten.