Thousands of snake species exist in the world, but few of them are venomous. However, elapidae snakes- also known as elapids- are among the most venomous snakes in the world. Elapids are a family of snakes that consist of various cobras, mambas, and plenty more. These snakes are known for their fixed, short fangs. They also have neurotoxins to weaken and attack the nervous system of their victims.
There may be many elapids, but the cobras are one of the more well known members of the group. “True cobras” belong to the genus (sub-family) Naja. This is because snakes like the king cobra or coral snake are considered cobras, but they belong to different genuses. For example, the king cobra belongs to the genus Ophiophagus. Most cobras create a hood when they feel disturbed or threatened by flattening out their neck. Cobras live in southern China and India as well as southern Asia. Some defensive mechanisms that they have are “standing” high, spreading its hood, hissing, and striking viciously when threatened. Some common cobras include the Indian cobra, Cape cobra, and multiple spitting cobras.
Additionally, mambas are also part of the family as speedy snakes. Some mambas include the black mamba, green mamba, eastern green mamba, and Jameson’s mamba. The black mamba is highly known for being the fastest snake in the world, traveling at nearly 12.5 mph. In addition, the black mamba inherited its name due to the fact that the inside of its mouth is black. All mambas have a rapid spreading venom that can kill any living creature quickly. Mambas love to eat small mammals, mainly birds and bats. But, there is no need to worry about them as they live in Africa.
There are plenty of other elapids other than cobras and mambas. For instance, sea snakes that live in the Indian and Pacific Ocean are dangerous sea creatures. They can be black, white, or yellow. The highly potent venom of the inland taipan can kill extremely fast. The tiger snake has patterns like a tiger. Both the tiger snake and inland taipan live in Australia.
To conclude, elapids are really interesting but also extremely dangerous. Besides the coral snake, there are no elapids to worry about. On the other hand, if you do encounter them, it’s wise to stay as far away as possible.
By: Alex Arevalo
Photo Credits: https://www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com