Witherback Cobra Species in Yonderverse | World Anvil

Witherback Cobra

A small cobra species from the Looming Desert of Norrab, witherback cobras are one of the deadliest snake species on the planet. Their venom turns blood into ichor, withering the body as it cannot handle such a godly liquid inside them.

Anatomy

Witherback cobras grow to just over a metre long typically, but individuals around the north of the Looming Desert can reach up to two metres. They are easily recognisable thanks to their large hoods which expand when threatened. Their hoods are decorated with a white and red pattern, contrasting against their mostly black body.

These snake have a small head, ever so slightly wider than their bodies. Their head are elliptical and depressed, with a short stubby snout and thin, slit-shaped nostrils. Witherback cobras have black circular scales, with spots of grey round the visible edges.

The most impressive part of witherback cobras are their venom glands. They run from their fangs all the way down to the snake's tail, and just a single bite uses up about half a millilitre. It only takes a hundredth of a millilitre of venom to kill an adamnan, however. Their fangs are hollow to inject venom, and sit comfortably in two divots in the roof of the snake's mouth. The fangs unfold when attacking.

Taxonomy

 
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Naja
Species: N. ichor
Extra Information

 
Average Length: 110cm
(Elongated)
Average Lifespan: 5 - 20 years
(Heavily depends on location)

Diet

Witherback cobras are hypercarnivores, exclusively consuming meat. They prey on small mammals, ground-based birds, reptiles and other snakes, amphibians, and other small animals. They are an ambush predator, waiting for hours in small bushes, crevices, and any dark areas while they wait for a prey item to pass by.

Their venom acts immediately, and a rabbit-sized animal will succumb to the venom in minutes. These cobras only need to eat a rabbit-sized prey every month.

Eggy Placeholder by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Witherback cobras, like all cobra species, can ingest their own venom without issue. This includes ichor for this species despite it not technically being their venom; while there is still ichor running through their prey, the cobras can digest the entire thing unphased.

Reproduction & Growth

Witherback cobras are oviparous and lay their eggs in the height of summers. Female cobras lay between ten and thirty eggs, in small abandoned burrows dug out by other species. Incubation period for these eggs is between 45 and 79 days, the mother fiercely guarding the eggs.

Hatchlings are between 9 and 20 centimetres in length, born precocial and immediately leave the nest in search of their first food item, typically other baby animals such as mice.

Habitat

Witherback cobras are native to the Looming Desert, most common in the north, found commonly throughout countries Albata, Montava, Vai'n, and Jou'da. They prefer lower altitudes, not found anywhere above three hundred metres above sea level. The Looming Desert is a subtropical desert with little rainfall, with these cobras preferring drier climates.

During winter months witherback cobras can be found more south, even reaching countries Preden and Na'ailidi. During the boiling daytimes, particular midday, they can be found basking in the sunlight on large flat rockfaces in their hundreds. Careful not to get too close, waking up a plethering of witherback cobras is certain death.

Behaviour

Eggy Placeholder by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Like most snake species, witherback cobras just want to be left alone. Fatal encounters with adamnans are incredibly rare but those that do occur take the world by storm.

This reserved species will actively slither away at speeds of up to fifteen miles per hour when encountering people. If threatened, i.e. backed into a corner or injured in any way, their first defense is to raise their hoods.

These hoods make the snakes appear larger and more threatening, designed to unnerve predators and scare them off.

If this doesn't work then the snakes will bite. This threatening bite does not use venom, but if the predator does not back away after that, the next bite will contain a fatal amount of venom.

Uses in Adamnan Culture

Witherback cobras are a symbol of pain, torture, and death in adamnan culture. Around the globe, particularly in the Looming Desert, logos and symbols of witherback cobras are scattered on the sides of buildings, as rebellious youth fight back against oppressive rulers.

The ichor produced from the venom, while worth a lot, is not harvested. Thousands of large subterranean ichor veins can be found deep below the surface of Norrab and the Looming Desert, harvested instead.

Scientific Name
Naja ichor
Lifespan
5 - 20 years
Average Length
110 cm
Geographic Distribution

Related Articles

Norrab
Planet | May 25, 2024

A desolate planet with dangerous terrain and frightening creatures.

Ichor
Material | Nov 27, 2022

The blood of the Gods. Ichor can only be found within the remains of passed deities, such as the planet Neptune.


Comments

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Jan 27, 2024 13:00 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the image of them slithering away at speed. Sounds like the poor babies give plenty of warning before killing, so I think probably most people deserve it.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jan 27, 2024 16:03 by Mochi

Yeah :( only a few silly people annoy witherback cobras enough to get properly bitten, and they for sure deserve it >:(

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