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Animals in the News

New Cobra Discovered

December 7, 2007—Africa's Naja ashei snake (pictured) is not only the world's newest snake species—it's also the largest spitting cobra, scientists with the conservation nonprofit WildlifeDirect announced today.

Blood and tissue samples helped confirm what some snake experts have long believed: that these massive, aggressive, extremely venomous snakes—which can grow to more than 9 feet (274 centimeters) long—form 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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