• Human Body

What It's Like to Be Bitten by a Cobra

There’s no debate that snakes are some of the deadliest creatures in the world. And cobras are probably one of the scariest types around. They may look sleek and sexy as they dance out of a wicker basket, but make no mistake, cobras want to bite you.

But unless you go out of your way to do so, most people in the Western world will never have the bad fortune of finding out what being bitten by a cobra is like. It turns out most people who know what cobra bites feel like either aren’t very excited to talk about it or they’re dead. While not many people know what its like to be bitten by a cobra, it doesn't mean it's not a horrible, horrible death.

You may think you know what cobra bites feel like, but the outcome is so much worse than you can imagine. Keep reading and start carrying anti-venom in your pockets, please. 

  • You Could Straight Up Die

    Photo: Rahul Alvares / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    A chef who was preparing a meal of cobra flesh was bitten by a cobra head after he cut it off and was throwing it in the trash. The snake's venom must have passed through chef Peng Fan's bloodstream quickly because he died before he could be rushed to the hospital. Someone who was eating in the restaurant said, "We were in the restaurant having a meal for my wife’s birthday when suddenly there was a lot of commotion. We were in the restaurant having a meal for my wife’s birthday when suddenly there was a lot of commotion." If you're going to work with cobras keep that anti-venom around!

  • It's Going to Hurt All Over - Not Just Where You Were Bitten

    Photo: Fleshpiston / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    In a world where being stung by a tiny bee hurts, of course being smacked in the arm by a 10-foot snake with a sharp mouth hurts. But you're not just going to feel pain around the sight of your bite (sorry), you're going to have some matching abdominal pain to go along with your skin pain. 

  • You're Going to Vomit - A Lot

    Photo: holidaypointau / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Even if there weren't neurotoxins in a snake's venom that caused nausea and vomiting, just the idea that an angry snake smashed its face into you should be enough to make you puke all over yourself. But, as it was, neurotoxins do cause you to vomit. 

  • You Won't Be Able to Breathe

    Photo: RussBowling / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Here's some quick cobra science for you: these snakes fall into a sub-group called elapids whose venom contains neurotoxins that attack your postsynaptic functions and spread through your bloodstream. This can have plenty of effects, but the thing that can really mess up your day is the toxins can attack your respiratory system and keep you from breathing. Bummer.