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Cobras & Other Elapids

Elapidae is a family of venomous snakes found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, terrestrially in Asia, Australia, Africa, North America and South America and aquatically in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Elapid snakes exist in a wide range of sizes, from 7 inches to the 18 foot King Cobra, and are characterized by hollow, fixed fangs through which they inject venom. Currently, 61 genera that include 325 species are recognized.

Some elapids are strongly arboreal , while many others are more or less specialised burrowers in either humid or arid environments. Some species have very generalised diets, but many taxa have narrow prey preferences and correlated specialisations. Sea snakes, which are also elapids, have adapted to a marine way of life.

All elapids are venomous and many are potentially deadly. The venoms are mostly neurotoxic which are considered more dangerous than the mainly proteolytic venoms of vipers. Elapids use their venom both to immobilize their prey and in self defense.

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