eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.


Monday, February 1, 2010

spicy safari, episode 1

EPISODE 1 - Snakes on a Sub-Continent
Coma closer, where I can see you!

As Salaam & Namaste, viewers and welcome to the Spicy Safari Zamboni A Go-Go! Our first installment on the flora & fauna of india will examine the deadly snakes of the Indian sub-continent. In addition to elephants, vampire bats and crazy bugs, there are an at least 270 species of snakes in india with 60 of these being VENOMOUS! Species in india include the asp, the king cobra and many other snakes appearing in the India Jones franchise. 

Let's start with the King - the KING COBRA that is! The longest venomous snake in the world (reaching up to 18 feet in length!), the king cobra is not, in fact, a true cobra, belonging instead to it's own genus.  King Cobra venom is actually less venomous than common cobra venom and they have smaller fangs.  the king cobra makes up for this by pumping it's victims full of venom - up to 7ml, enough to KILL AN ELEPHANT! Crap! 


The common cobra, while much smaller is a very common sight in southern india - double crap! it's responsible for a "high number of fatal bites" and, like other cobras, is an excellent swimmer and climber.  their venom is a powerful nuerotoxin which attacks the nervous system: it stops your heart, paralyzes your body and puts you into a coma before you die about 30 minutes later. WE'RE DOOMED! 

Kraits are another snake that is common, deadly and OH MY GOD WHY AM I TAKING THIS TRIP?? Their bites are even better than most because they have no initial symptoms - until your lungs stop working! not only are they super deadly, they're nocturnal, love human habitations and are regularly confused with the harmless wolf snake. Jerks! 

In addition to neurotoxins which paralyze and attack the nervous system, some snakes use hemotoxins that attack blood causing the bite area to die off, turn into gangrene and get super-duper gross before falling off entirely. excuse me while i curl up into a ball to cry and cry and cry for a little while ... 


Finally, the Indian rock python - one of the world's largest snakes -  kills by constricting, like the boa.  additionally, both the boa and the python are the only two snakes not to completely lose their little legs.  they continue to have "spurs" - tiny little nubbins they use to scoot along. cool? NO YOU FOOL, THAT'S TERRIFYING! 

Snakes have great eye-sight but are generally very near-sighted.  Many, like vipers, can "see" your heat with their tongues and the tiny Jacobson (or Slow Painful Death) gland. snakes typically like to chow down on little rodents and eggs. they don't want to kill humans for food because we're basically giant monkeys to them and that's gross. still, if you step on one, go poking on with a stick or accidentally sit near one it might become threatened and bite you. most bites come on the extremities since that's probably what you were dumb enough put near the snake, but bites on the haunches and flanks happen too. 

Just like eliot & drew, if you are planning on traveling to india or any other place in the world with horrible death serpents hell-bent on destroying you're body through trickery, lightning strikes and a mind of pure evil, please take a snake bite kit. 

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