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Cobra Da Capello

naja, poison, neck and name

COBRA DA CAPEL'LO, a name sometimes limited to the naja tripudians, and some times extended to all the species of the genus naja, very venomous serpents of the family viperidie, remarkable for the faculty of dilating the back and sides of the neck, which they do when angry or otherwise excited, and to which they owe their popular name, originally Portuguese, and signifying hooded snake; the elevated skin of the back of the neck presenting, when the animal is viewed in front, mull the appearance of a hood. It is usually 'three or four feet long, of a pale rusty-brown color auove, and bluish or yellowish-white below, and is characterized by a singular mark on the back of the neck, closely resembling the figure of an old-fashioned pair of spectacles, from which the animal sometimes receives the name of the spectacle snake. The C. da C. preys on lizards and other small animals. It is usually a sluggish creature, and is easily killed, even by means of a small stick or a whip. Its venom is extremely power ful, its bite causing death in two hours or less. Yet it is little disposed to use its fangs, except for the purpose of providing itself with food. The C. da C. is often to be found in the vicinity of human dwellings in the East Indies, and even in the houses them selves, attracted apparently by the young of the domestic poultry, and by the moisture of the wells and drainage. When one is found in or near a house, its mate is seldom

far oil. The Singhalese, when obliged to leave their houses in the dark, carry a small stick with a loose ring, the noise of which, as they strike it on the ground, warns the snakes to leave the path. The poison of the C. da C. is secreted in a large gland in the head of the serpent, which, when the animal compresses its mouth upon any object, flows through a cavity of the tooth into the wound. The poison, though most deadly when introduced into the system through a wound, possesses the curious property of being perfectly harmless if taken internally. Olive oil applied externally, and ammonia taken internally, cauterizing, and ligatures immediately applied, may save the life; but the poison is so deadly, that instances of recovery of bitten persons are very rare. See Buckland's Curiosities of Natural History, and Fayrer's Manatophidia, of bulk (Lond.: Churchill). The other species of naja are found iu the warm parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia.