NAIROBI A giant spitting cobra, measuring
nearly nine feet and carrying enough venom to kill at least 15
people, has been discovered in Kenya, a conservation group said
WildlifeDirect said the snake it described as the world's
largest had been recognised as a new species and named the Naja
Ashei after James Ashe, who founded a snake farm on Kenya's
coast where the massive serpents are found.
"A new species of giant spitting cobra is exciting and
reinforces the obvious -- that there have to be many other
unreported species but hundreds are being lost as their
habitats disappear under the continued mismanagement of our
planet," said the group's chairman, Kenyan environmentalist
Spitting cobras, able to launch poison over a distance of
several meters, are common to Kenya's lowland climates.
WildlifeDirect said the discovery would help find an
anti-venom for the bite. "Lives can be saved," it added.
Ashe, now deceased, was the first to catch a
larger-than-normal spitting cobra in the 1960s, and suggest it
belonged to a different species.
(Reporting by Nicolo Gnecchi; editing by Sami Aboudi)