December 7, 2007Africa
's Naja ashei
snake (pictured) is not only the world's newest snake speciesit's also the largest spitting cobra, scientists with the conservation nonprofit WildlifeDirect
announced today. (Read full story.
Blood and tissue samples helped confirm what some snake experts have long believed: that these massive, aggressive, extremely venomous snakeswhich can grow to more than 9 feet (274 centimeters) longform a separate species.
Commonly known as Ashe's spitting cobra, the new species is named after one such expert: the late James Ashe, the founder of the Bio-Ken Snake Farm
research center in Watamu, Kenya
. Ashe believed that this coastal snake was different from any other.Naja ashei
takes its place among the 30 or so known cobra species, including the king cobra
, which is the world's largest venomous snake.
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Photograph by Anthony Childs/WildlifeDirect