A cobra came off worse in a showdown with an eight-year-old child in India recently. The cobra got in the first bite as it wrapped around the boy’s arm, but despite being venomous, fortunately, didn't envenomate the child. When it wouldn’t let go of his arm, the child bit back and the cobra died.
Living among wildlife can be a wonderful thing, but on occasion conflicts with humans can arise. While playing outside his home in India, a young boy recently found himself in such a conflict with a cobra, one of the elapidae snakes characterized by a hood, fixed fangs, and venom.
In a bind, the boy (reportedly named Deepak) took matters into his own jaws in giving the snake two bites. The snake died of its injuries, and it was later concluded by doctors that Deepak had received what’s known as a “dry bite” when no venom is injected with the bite.
The incident happened in Pandarpadh village in Jashpur district, northeast of Raipur, reports The New Indian Express. “The snake got wrapped around my hand and bit me. I was in great pain. As the reptile didn’t budge when I tried to shake it off, I bit it hard twice. It all happened in a flash,” they report he told local media.
While it’s not known exactly what species the snake was, Raipur is home to a rich variety of serpents including the spectacled cobra. However, as snake rescuer Moiz Ahmed of Nova Nature Welfare Society said in a 2014 statement, the population here can make it difficult for wildlife and residents to maintain a comfortable distance.
“Snakes are extremely adaptable and the area in and around Raipur is an ideal habitat for them. Regrettably with a population of over 11,00,000 humans, conflicts with the reptiles are bound to arise…”
The spectacled cobra (Naja naja) is so named for the show it puts on when threatened. It has a comparatively high frequency of human snakebites as a result of living in environments occupied by humans and is capable of delivering a neurotoxic venom that can be fatal within 60 minutes. Symptoms of envenomation include lethargy, paralysis, convulsions, headache, nausea, and vomiting, and can be treated with the injection of antivenom.
Historically, it's also been extracted with the anuses of 96 chickens, but we'd strongly recommend going the antivenom route.
Fortunately for Deepak, the cobra didn’t release its venom on this occasion. This is a behavior mostly seen in adult snakes who are trying to frighten their opponent and probably escape. Unfortunately for the cobra, wrapping around a person’s arm is a little on the threatening side of escape plans, and it did not survive the encounter.
[H/T: Live Science]