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Hikers warned to be wary: three cobras spotted on trail from Trio Beach

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Chinese cobra, widespread in Sai Kung

Three Chinese cobras have been seen on the bush trail back to town from Trio beach. Hikers have been warned to be vigilant and watch their step.

Cobras are the most prevalent venomous snakes in Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay. They like to hang around houses and are territorial. That is, they stay in one area. Members of the Hash House Harriers find the blackish creatures time after time in the same spot.

Usually they will escape to avoid confrontation with a human. But if you get close snake experts warn: Don’t be aggressive with them, because they may be aggressive right back. Especially young ones which are more nervous. One Hashman recceing a trail with a friend down a bush stream bed remembers his mate throwing rocks at a disturbed cobra. The snake reared up and hissed at them. The Hashman bellowed at his friend, “Leave it alone.” The snake slithered off.

Chinese cobras are very alert and seldom cornered. They hunt during daylight and for sometime after sunset from March to October. They hide under leaves, sticks and rocks. The body of the Hong Kong cobras is iridescent black, the abdomen pearl and the head “rice paddle shaped”. On the back of the hood there may be markings that look like spectacles. The cobras are usually four to five feet and sometimes over six feet. One of the most spectacular scary specimens was spotted in a drain at the Lions Nature Centre.

Video of a Chinese cobra found in Hong Kong

The venom, ejected by fangs permanently erect at the back of the jaw, contains neurotoxins and cardiotoxins. If you were unlucky enough to get bitten — very rare — the wound would darken, turn red, swell and blisters and necrosis would develop. The latter can be serious because it can persist for years. Wide availability of ante-venom means fatalities are unusual.

Because they like to be around human settlements, due to the food, you might meet one near your house. Cobras are like most wild creatures: if you leave it alone and treat it with respect, you’ll have no problem.

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