Elapidae – Elapids

Paralyzing snakes— cobras, mambas, kraits, sea snakes and allies

Elapidae is one of the two venomous snake families (Viperidae being the other). Elapids are characterized by permanently erect short fangs (specialized sharp teeth for venom ejection) compared to the longer and foldable fangs of vipers and pitvipers. They also differ in the chemical nature and effect of their venoms.

Elapids’ venom damages nerves (neurotoxin), causing paralysis if not treated with anti-venom in time, and is quicker. While vipers’ venom is cytotoxic, it shows a localized effect. An interesting question would be: who would win in a fight between a viper and an elapid? The answer could be less thrilling than the question because if both bite each other, they’ll probably die. But it’s still worth mentioning that the world’s deadliest snake, The Black Mamba—Africa’s kiss of death, is an Elapid!