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Elapidae

Elapidae (cobras, kraits, taipans, mambas, coral snakes; order Squamata, suborder Serpentes) A family of venomous snakes which have short, firm, grooved fangs at the front of the mouth. The venom is mainly neurotoxic (i.e. a nerve poison). Generally these are elongate, agile snakes, active at dusk or dark. Their prey consists mainly of small vertebrates. Bungarus (kraits) of south-east Asia grow up to 2 m long; they are nocturnal and feed almost exclusively on other snakes. The genus Dendroaspis (mambas) of Africa includes the black mamba which grows up to 4.25 m long and has been recorded moving at 11 km/h across country and the smaller (up to 2.7 m), arboreal green mamba. Ophirphaguse hannah (King Cobra) of southern Asia, the longest of all venomous snakes, sometimes exceeds 5m; its neck ribs can be spread to form a small hood. There are about 200 species, found on every continent except Europe.

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