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Venomous Animals - (W,X,Y,Z)
[ TOC ]
Scientific Names: Atractaspis wilsoni, Naja morgani, Walterinnesia aegypti
Common Names: Desert cobra, desert black snake, Innes' cobra, black snake, desert cobra, Innes' snake, Sinai desert cobra, happeter hashshahor, Schwarze Wusten-Kobra
Medium-sized, moderately stout, desert cobra, adults usually 0.7-1.1 m long (max. 1.3 m). Body generally glossy black sometimes w/ brownish tinge; belly paler. Scales smooth, hood usually not apparent, head small, not distinct from neck.
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Various arid habitats, including open desert; but usually found at edges of desert, in oases, cultivated fields, gardens, irrigated areas, & around buildings. Also found in barren, rocky mountain hillsides & sandy desert w/ sparse bushes. Occurs in several Middle Eastern countries, in some places, up to 1,000 m elevation.
Activity and Behavior
Mainly nocturnal; spends much time underground. Apparently has poor eyesight in daylight. Can be very aggressive. When molested, threatened, or provoked, will hiss violently & strike (generally w/ closed mouth). Can strike at a distance of 2/3 of its body length. Does not usually spread its hood, nor hold the front of its body up off the ground. Mainly eats desert lizards, but also available small mammals, amphibians & birds. Oviparous, clutch size not reported.
Venom strongly neurotoxic, w/ some milder hemotoxic factors. Envenomation usually causes some combination of: local pain, swelling, fever, general weakness, headache, & vomiting. Human deaths from envenomations have been reported.
Scientific Names: Ermia mangshanensis, Trimeresurus mangshanensis
Common Names: Mangshan pitviper, Chinese montane forest pitviper, ironhead pitviper
Large, fairly slender terrestrial pitviper, adults usually 1.0-1.5 m long (max. 1.7 m). Body medium yellow-green w/ irregular dark-brown dorsal saddle-markings & keeled dorsal scales. Belly lighter greenish, often w/ irregular darker brownish speckling. Has a pair of folding upper front fangs. Head broad, distinctly triangular if viewed from above.
Found only in montane forests of southern Hunan Province, China; at 700-1,300 m elevation. Mainly reported from Mangshan, Nan Ling Mountains. Known natural geographic range is very limited.
Activity and Behavior
Mainly nocturnal or crepuscular, & mainly terrestrial, but often rests (basks in sun) on low, slanted tree trunks or nearby rocks partly covered w/ vegetation, often up to 1-5 m above ground. Not usually aggressive, but may "spit" venom when threatened. Oviparous w/ 13-21 eggs/ clutch reported. Mainly eats available rodents, frogs & insects.
Not much known, but probably has mainly hemotoxic factors & possibly cytotoxic factors. Captive specimens known to sometimes "spit" venom at an aggressor. This is the only non-cobra snake species known to do that. Historical reports of human fatalities due to envenomation by this species are not well documented, but any pitviper this large could pose a significant risk to people. No specific antivenom is currently produced.