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Guessing at the message


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Posted by MsTT on May 12, 2003 at 20:10:25:

In Reply to: Not all of us have kids posted by jared w on May 12, 2003 at 16:11:23:

:I have seen lots of venomoiders (since I have attended every major east coast herp show since 97) and have seen them in a crowd let venomoid cobras chew on there arm?!?! WHAT MESSAGE ARE THEY SENDING?

I think it would be something like, "Hi, I'm a total idiot and I deserve a Darwin Award."

Cobra venom glands are a little more complex than those of the viperids. They are quite long, go right to the base of the fang and they can be hard to differentiate from other tissue in the same region. What looks like a duct in a cobra is in fact gland tissue capable of secreting venom. I've sat in on a number of surgeries that involved this area, and also on some interesting veterinary lectures on the subject of venomoiding.

Leaving some of the glandular tissue intact would be a pretty easy mistake to make given how complex the organ is and how difficult it is to separate from the other tissues. The result of course would be the capacity to deliver a small but still significant quantity of venom. Regeneration is also a very real possibility.

There was a not-very-amusing case at a major facility in England that involved a venomoid monocled cobra and a visitor who received a fairly nasty envenomation. There's another keeper in the States with nerve and tendon damage to his arm courtesy of a venomoid Gaboon viper, from the physical force of the bite alone. I don't think it's a very bright idea to play with venomous snakes whether or not somebody tells you they're venomoid.


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