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 DiePhoto: 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 BittenPhoto: 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
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
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.
Necrosis Sets in and Leads to DeathPhoto: YouTube
Some snake venom can settle into your body and cause necrosis, a condition that causes an insufficient amount of blood flow to the tissue and the premature death of the body's cells. This causes tissues - like muscles - to slowly wither away and die. Even after an amputation of the limb, the patient is still at risk of death because of the intensity of the poison.
A Gnarly Scar Is in Your FuturePhoto: Mark Dumont / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
When Taylor family visited a resort in Northern Zululand in Africa, the last thing they imagined was be a snake sinking its teeth into their 12-year-old son Jake's shoulder. But that's exactly what happened. “He was asleep and woke up because he felt some sort of pain in his shoulder. When he opened his eyes he saw the snake on his hand and luckily his instinct kicked in, and he flung it out of the bed.” Jake was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that despite being "barely" bitten, he had a GIANT scar on his shoulder. So if you get bitten by a cobra at least you're going to have a great story to tell at bars for the rest of your life.