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Naja ashei

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Naja
Species: N. ashei
Binomial name
Naja ashei
Wüster and Broadley, 2007
Naja ashei (Ashe's Spitting Cobra or Giant Spitting Cobra) is an African snake. With a length of about 2.6 m (8½ ft), it is the world's largest species of spitting cobra[1] and one of the most venomous snakes known. It was discovered in Kenya in 2004, but only classified as a distinct species in 2007 by Wolfgang Wüster[1] (Bangor University Wales) and Royjan Taylor (Director of the Bio-Ken Snake Farm in Watamu, Kenya). It was initially regarded as merely a brown-colored form of the Black-necked Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis). The specific epithet honors the late James Ashe[1], who founded the Bio-Ken Snake Farm and early on suspected that Naja ashei was a new species.[2]

In addition to the dry lowlands of northern and eastern Kenya, it is found in similar habitats in northeastern Uganda, southern Ethiopia and southern Somalia.[2]

Naja ashei is a very large cobra that averages 1.3 to 2m in length, and may reach a maximum of 2.8m[3], making them the largest spitting cobra species in the world. Very heavily built with big heads, their color varies in different shades of brown from light grey through pale mustard to dark brown. The snake is pale in color along the belly, sometimes with slight speckling or blotches, and has a dark brown throat band. It has 17 to 25 mid-body scale rows, 176 to 219 ventrals, 51 to 69 sub-caudals with an entire anal scale across the vent.[4]

Venom from this snake is very similar to other spitting cobras including Naja nigricollis and Naja pallida - both found in the same areas - but is produced in very large quantities by the snake. A single specimen milked at Bio-Ken Snake Farm in 2004, produced a wet venom yield of 6.2ml weighing 7.1g [5]. Recommended treatment of bites is for all true cobras: Antivenom (SAVP polyvalent from South African Vaccine Producers). The dosage may need tio be higher than for the average Naja nigricollis bite. First aid treatment for venom in the eyes should be immediate irrigation with water or any bland liquid, and the patient should be seen as soon as possible by a physician.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Record-size spitting cobra discovered, Reuters/ABC News Online, 8 December 2007
  2. ^ a b World's largest spitting cobra species found in Kenya: study -Yahoo news 7 December 2007
  3. ^ Taylor, R: The Biggest Spitting Cobra
  4. ^ Wüster, W: Get an eyeful of this: a new species of giant spitting cobra from eastern and north-eastern Africa
  5. ^ Taylor, R: New Cobra Found in Watamu
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Naja_ashei". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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