Primitive Technology

Why is the king cobra unharmed when bitten by venomous snakes, is it immune to all snake venom?

King cobras are not the only king of snakes due to their large size but also due to their impressive immunity to venom.

King cobra (Scientific name: Ophiophagus hannah) is the longest venomous snake in the animal world, they are considered the king of snakes not only because of their size.

In fact, king cobras can eat all venomous snakes in their habitat and there have never been any recorded cases where the venom of the prey can kill the king cobra.

Why is the king cobra unharmed when bitten by venomous snakes, is it immune to all snake venom? – Photo 1.
The prey of the king cobra is the Indochinese spitting snake (1), the krait (2), the tree snake (3), the red-tailed viper (4). Photo: Thanh Luan.
The dangerous venomous prey of the king cobra is the king cobra, the common cobra, the Indian cobra, the red-tailed viper, the tree snake… Even if the baby is bitten and injecting venom, the king cobra is not harmed.

So why are cobras not harmed by the venom of dangerous prey?

First, we need to learn about venoms of venomous snakes, which are complex mixtures of thousands of different proteins and enzymes, which are stored in the venom glands at the back of the snake’s head and will be directed to the injection fangs. venom through ducts when the snake bites its prey.

According to The Naked Scientist, people divide snake venoms into 3 main groups: cytotoxin (cytotoxic), neurotoxin (neurotoxin), and hemotoxin (blood poison).

Toxins will attack a target as their name implies, cytotoxins will attack cells, neurotoxins will attack the nervous system and blood poisons will attack the blood vessels of the prey.

The poisonous snakes that cobras eat like scorpions, scorpions, green tigers, real cobras … mainly belong to the group of neurovenom (attacking the nervous system), this venom will attack. receptors on muscle cells.

The neurotoxin will disable the ability of Acetylcholine – an organic compound that functions as a neurotransmitter, helping to control muscle contraction. The victim will have respiratory failure, paralysis of the muscles leading to death.

But this poison is not effective against the king cobra! The reason is that in the body of this snake, there are sugar molecules in the receptors, which are molecules that help the king cobra’s cells not to connect with neurotoxins from prey.

So the king cobra is resistant to poisons of its prey, but more specifically to neurotoxins. In other words, if the prey uses other toxins such as blood toxins or cytotoxins, the king cobra can still be damaged like other prey.

Although theoretically so, in general, poisonous snakes living in the same geographical environment as the king cobra all use neurotoxins, so it is difficult to escape the outcome of becoming prey.

Other snake species such as rattlesnake snakes, taipan snakes, mamba snakes… contain dangerous blood-severe toxins, but their habitats are not the same as those of the king cobra, so the king cobra has not evolved resistance to venom. these toxins.

However, ‘thick mandarin peel with sharp nails’, another hunter is also immune to venom like the king cobra and is also a fearsome enemy of snakes in general and king cobras. own mongoose.

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