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Jack Judah
03-02-2016, 08:28 AM
No, that's not a euphemism.

I'm currently working on a scene where my MC has to dispose of a fairly large cobra (5-6 ft) with just his bare hands. The easier he can make it look, the better.

It's set in Ancient Egypt. My MC is "busting" an illicit religious gathering. The snake is part of the ritual, and is blocking his way to capturing the cult leader. So far, I have him merely grabbing it by the tail and whipping it headfirst against a wall with all his strength. Ideally, that kills it. At the least, I need it to be stunned long enough for one of his lieutenants to finish the job. I've seen it done with rattlers, but never any that big. Not knowing snakes, I don't even know if a rattler and a cobra are remotely comparable in the resiliency department.

So on the off chance there are any snake experts out there. . .Is it conceivable a very tall, very strong man could dispatch a very pissed off Egyptian or Arabian Cobra in such a manner? If not, are there other methods he could use? I want it to come off as effortless as possible -- he's looking to make a lasting impression.

Roxxsmom
03-02-2016, 08:39 AM
If you can grab the animal in your hands without getting bitten, then you should be able to twist its head around and snap its neck (the irony would be being bitten after it's dead, which snakes can still do reflexively). The not getting bitten part, of course, is the tricky bit, as snakes can be quick, and flexible. You'd have to get it behind the head, which would be tricky. Maybe it would work better to pin it with a stick first? I don't know how pugnacious the species is about being handled in general. I do know cobras (elapid snakes) have to hook you/chew on you for a second to get a good venom injection (unlike pit vipers, which have fangs that snap forward into place and can inject as they puncture. I wouldn't bank on that, however, as cobra venom is really toxic. I'd rather go the other way if I saw one (and I'm ordinarily quite fond of snakes).

Our Australian biology folks will likely be on later tonight, and they probably could give you more specifics about elapid snakes, as they're literally crawling with them in their neck of the woods.

leifwright
03-02-2016, 08:42 AM
Yes, it's possible.

However, as a guy who's killed a few snakes with my bare hands (I live in the country and I have chickens), killing a snake is no easy task, bare hands or with weapons. They're VERY hardy.

Banging its head against a wall is probably the least-efficient and most dangerous way I could think of to kill a poisonous snake. I've grabbed them behind the head and then bashed their heads in with rocks (or a cinder block, but in ancient Egypt, there wouldn't be any cinder blocks handy). One non-poisonous snake, I wrenched its head until I broke it's neck, but that was VERY hard and incredibly gruesome, and I'd never attempt it again.

Have him grab the cobra by the neck, hold it down and bash its head in. That would make a lasting impression.

One bit to consider in addition: snakes are still dangerous after they're dead. They writhe around, and some of them can even still bite after they're dead.

Siri Kirpal
03-02-2016, 08:46 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The problem with your scenario is that the snake would probably do its best to bite. Also, if it's guarding the door/path, then it's probably got its tail coiled and its head positioned so it can bite, which will make it hard for human hands to reach the tail.

For your scenario to work, the critter's gonna have to be facing away from your human, and it can't be coiled.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Roxxsmom
03-02-2016, 08:55 AM
Cobras are proportionally more slender than rattlers, but they may be more agile too. And if it has a hood, then that could make it harder to grasp behind the head.

Is the snake magically intelligent or under some kind of enchantment, because most of the time these critters would rather slither off than waste their venom and wouldn't actually care about guarding anything. Though if they're really riled and don't feel like they have a safe way to escape, they may hold their ground and do a threat display.

Cyia
03-02-2016, 08:58 AM
I'm fairly sure I've seen guys on survival shows do the bare-handed kill thing, but the easiest way to handle a snake would be to sweep it out of the way with a really big stick. I've regretfully killed a snake with a shovel, so I can tell you that you don't have to be particularly large to dispatch one with a weapon. And I've caught them in things like a pillowcase for relocation, so if your guy has a sack or shawl, he could get it out of his way if the experts tell you a kill is unfeasible.

Jack Judah
03-02-2016, 08:58 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The problem with your scenario is that the snake would probably do its best to bite. Also, if it's guarding the door/path, then it's probably got its tail coiled and its head positioned so it can bite, which will make it hard for human hands to reach the tail. For your scenario to work, the critter's gonna have to be facing away from your human, and it can't be coiled.

The snake is actually part of the religious ritual, or to be more precise, the main attraction in a magic act. The trick being Moses' staff-into-snake-back-into-staff bit. My MC has heard about the trick, and is taking a gamble that the cult leader (not Moses) has had the snake thoroughly milked before the performance. Of course, neither his men nor the audience know that, so it's a bit of theater on his part as well.

I hadn't thought about the logistics of reaching the tail. I figured he'd come at the snake from behind or the side as it was rearing up in front of his lieutenants. Might have to rethink that bit, now that you mention it.

frimble3
03-02-2016, 09:03 AM
If this is a big raid, with your MC and 'lieutenants', why would they be unarmed? Wouldn't they have khopeshes(sic?) or knives, or some sort of clubs? Killing a snake bare-handed is impressive, all right, but so is reaching out and casually giving it one good thump with a club, and there's your flattened snake. Fast and unhesitating is probably as good or better than getting into a wrestling match with an angry cobra. (If it's a six-foot long snake, he's going to have to be standing at least that far way from his men, or he's going to be swinging that angry cobra right in their faces to get up speed for snapping it into a wall.)

Jack Judah
03-02-2016, 09:12 AM
If you can grab the animal in your hands without getting bitten, then you should be able to twist its head around and snap its neck (the irony would be being bitten after it's dead, which snakes can still do reflexively).

Hmmm. Now you're giving me ideas. Picking it up and just snapping its neck is an even stronger statement than whipping it against a wall. As for undead snake heads. . .My grandfather taught me that lesson in a very hands on, psychologically scarring fashion when I was kid. It sure stuck though!


I do know cobras (elapid snakes) have to hook you/chew on you for a second to get a good venom injection (unlike pit vipers, which have fangs that snap forward into place and can inject as they puncture. I wouldn't bank on that, however, as cobra venom is really toxic. I'd rather go the other way if I saw one (and I'm ordinarily quite fond of snakes).

I did not know that. The idea of a venomous snake chewing on me -- :scared:The more I learn about cobras, the tamer the snakes I run into regularly seem.


Is the snake magically intelligent or under some kind of enchantment, because most of the time these critters would rather slither off than waste their venom and wouldn't actually care about guarding anything. Though if they're really riled and don't feel like they have a safe way to escape, they may hold their ground and do a threat display.

Nope. An ordinary snake used in a performance, milked by its handler beforehand, and driven into a fury/panic by a loud crowd. It's surrounded by people, who are themselves in a panic, so I was figuring it would have discarded the flight option and settled for fight.


Cobras are proportionally more slender than rattlers, but they may be more agile too. And if it has a hood, then that could make it harder to grasp behind the head.

I was concerned that my initial plan of having him whip the snake would most likely result in it turning into the spin and sinking fangs into something tender. If we can get a definite answer on whether the behind the head method would work on a cobra, I think I'm going to go with that. Thanks!

Jack Judah
03-02-2016, 09:24 AM
Banging its head against a wall is probably the least-efficient and most dangerous way I could think of to kill a poisonous snake. I've grabbed them behind the head and then bashed their heads in with rocks (or a cinder block, but in ancient Egypt, there wouldn't be any cinder blocks handy). One non-poisonous snake, I wrenched its head until I broke it's neck, but that was VERY hard and incredibly gruesome, and I'd never attempt it again.

Agreed. You're a braver man than me. I find using a .410 is a far less stressful method. However, my MC is a bit of a showboat. And very reckless. He's also fairly sure the snake's been milked.

Jack Judah
03-02-2016, 09:31 AM
If this is a big raid, with your MC and 'lieutenants', why would they be unarmed? Wouldn't they have khopeshes(sic?) or knives, or some sort of clubs?

Come to think of it, I have no idea what the correct plural for khopesh is. I can go with "khopeshes". The lieutenants are armed. But the MC isn't. He snuck into the gathering ahead of time, undercover. The lieutenants are a bit superstitious about the whole affair, and believe the snake is more than just a snake, so they're hanging back wide eyed and useless. One of the reasons he wants to make a show of putting the thing down.


(If it's a six-foot long snake, he's going to have to be standing at least that far way from his men, or he's going to be swinging that angry cobra right in their faces to get up speed for snapping it into a wall.)

A good point. I'm thinking Roxxsmom's idea to have him snap the neck is slightly more feasible, unless the snake experts say otherwise.

Jack Judah
03-02-2016, 09:37 AM
I've regretfully killed a snake with a shovel, so I can tell you that you don't have to be particularly large to dispatch one with a weapon. And I've caught them in things like a pillowcase for relocation, so if your guy has a sack or shawl, he could get it out of his way if the experts tell you a kill is unfeasible.

The shovel method is not the most pleasant. My grandfather was an old hand with dispatching snakes. Made it look easy. Me, not so much. Had my fair share of run-ins with scaly critters, but I prefer to keep them at a greater distance than the length of a shovel, that's for sure!

leifwright
03-02-2016, 09:38 AM
Agreed. You're a braver man than me. I find using a .410 is a far less stressful method. However, my MC is a bit of a showboat. And very reckless. He's also fairly sure the snake's been milked.

Not brave. I happened to be caught in a chicken coop with the snake (and my three-year-old son) and I didn't have anything handy to use.

CindyGirl
03-02-2016, 05:47 PM
Remember the scene in the first Indiana Jones when a bad guy challenged Indy with some fancy sword swinging and Indy, rather than engage him, just took out his gun and shot him? Indy chose the easy and direct path and it was a powerful and memorable scene. Better than if he had tried to fight the guy.

Maybe the snake is such a non-issue for your MC, he cuts of the head, quick and casual and moves on?

BTW, there's a gruesome video on YouTube showing a severed Copperheads head, biting it's own body. Most horrible thing I've watched in a long time. Really demonstrates the bite reflex the other's above have mentioned.

PorterStarrByrd
03-02-2016, 06:27 PM
There are lots of ways of killing them but that first post is about good an idea as any for your purposes. Me, I've gotten my share of rattlesnake hat bands and snakemeat, using several methods, but wouldn't think of a bare handed method. That's for fools and the desperate.

RKarina
03-02-2016, 07:06 PM
So... I grew up with snakes (rattlers, not cobras) and killing them is both painfully simple, and surprisingly difficult.

If you absolutely must have him do this barehanded, then yeah, grab it behind the head and either snap the neck (harder to do than it sounds) or bash the head into a wall. It's a stretch of willing suspension of disbelief - we are talking a very large snake, that's going to be very PO'd/scared and whipping around, and having to avoid getting bitten, and... Plus, while the grabbing might make for an impressive show, it lacks a certain level of theater.

The grabbing by the tail and whipping it against a wall falls completely outside my willingness to believe - if the snake were coiled at all, the tail would be darn hard to reach. And honestly, there's a huge luck factor in whether or not you'd manage to hit the head into the wall hard enough to do anything more than piss off a large snake.

I would swallow him grabbing a stick, pinning the snake to the ground and viciously stomping on its head. Gruesome, but leaves a distinct impression.

I could also swallow him seeing the snake, grabbing a large knife from a nearby person (friend or foe) and slicing the head off. Again, big impression. A little outside the realm of easy belief, but hey, it's fiction, right?

RKarina
03-02-2016, 07:11 PM
Remember the scene in the first Indiana Jones when a bad guy challenged Indy with some fancy sword swinging and Indy, rather than engage him, just took out his gun and shot him? Indy chose the easy and direct path and it was a powerful and memorable scene. Better than if he had tried to fight the guy.



Harrison Ford has told a rather funny story about that scene...
http://www.businessinsider.com/harrison-ford-reddit-ama-2014-4

Glyax
03-02-2016, 07:28 PM
What if he grabbed hold of the snake by the head, then lunged at random evil doer number 6, snake in hand, and had it clamp down on the guys neck. At the same time, showboater MC grabs the surprised/horrified evil doers weapon, cutting the snake in half, and slitting the evil doers throat or stomach, your choice? That would be pretty fanceh IMO

CindyGirl
03-02-2016, 07:57 PM
Harrison Ford has told a rather funny story about that scene...
http://www.businessinsider.com/harrison-ford-reddit-ama-2014-4

LOL

WeaselFire
03-02-2016, 10:04 PM
One advantage to the Egyptian cobra is it doesn't spit venom, so you can get close enough to grab it. Disadvantage is they're quite big as far as cobras go, killing one bare handed isn't an easy task. Anywhere you grab it below the hood will end up in a lethal bite. Milked snakes are still lethal and no professional risks the bite of one. But snakes also don't normally bite except to feed or as a last resort defense. Like when something grabs it. :)

Toss something flaming at or behind it, lamp oil would be a good choice. It will try to escape the lame, then the tail would be available to do as you described. It's a lucky blow, but it's fiction. Make sure it's a temple of Meretseger.

Jeff

CindyGirl
03-02-2016, 10:09 PM
Of course if it's Conan the Barbarian grabbing the tail, whipping the snake around and bashing it's head, we'd all buy into that-right? It's all in the characters and the delivery that leads us to suspend our belief and accept the words on the page.

Providence
03-02-2016, 10:16 PM
There was recently an article about a man in India who killed a king cobra with his bare hands by grabbing it by its tail and slamming it against the ground multiple times. A video of the encounter was posted. I don't want to include a link because some may feel the video depicts animal cruelty, but if you do a simple google search, I'm sure you'll be able to find it.

Kerosene
03-02-2016, 10:36 PM
I've never dealt with cobras, but have had my fair run-ins with rattlesnakes and have killed them on occasion. When you hike and camp in or near the desert, you'll eventually come across them and when they're too close to the campgrounds or trails and won't run, it's best to dispose of them. My method involves taking a long stick with a branch off the end and using it to pin the snake's head to the ground, then getting behind and cutting its head off. (You can also take hold of the snake's head and body and chew through its spine). If you try to touch a snake, especially a lunging snake like a cobra, with your bare hands you're most likely going to get bit unless you've had the proper training. Anything like a stick that'll give you more distance (away from their strike zone) will help a lot. Shovels are great because you can pin their heads, and turn the blade and push down to kill them--that's why I take a full shovel camping and not a spade. To note: The stick/shovel method works from their blind spot, so you need an angle on them. That's why people can put their hands behind cobras and lower their heads; you get in their blind spot and force them down. And as brutal as it can be, often beating the snake with a stick to get it to settle down or incapacitate helps before pinning it.

Also, snakes won't just attack because they're angry. When snakes attack they get defensive, and often don't like to "show their backs" on enemies so once confronted they will try to defend themselves. If you give them some room, they often run away. If they are cornered, they'll try to fight to the end.

And for anyone's information, most snakes aren't poisonous. Just because it's a snake doesn't mean you should handle it, or kill it on sight. Almost all snakes I've dealt with have been non-venomous garden and rat snakes. They can get HUGE (I caught a gopher snake about five feet long, two inches wide in a hay barrel) but not dangerous. If you don't want them around, take them somewhere else and let them free.

leifwright
03-03-2016, 12:32 AM
What if he grabbed hold of the snake by the head, then lunged at random evil doer number 6, snake in hand, and had it clamp down on the guys neck. At the same time, showboater MC grabs the surprised/horrified evil doers weapon, cutting the snake in half, and slitting the evil doers throat or stomach, your choice? That would be pretty fanceh IMO

I love the phrase "random evildoer"

Jack Judah
03-03-2016, 03:46 AM
Remember the scene in the first Indiana Jones when a bad guy challenged Indy with some fancy sword swinging and Indy, rather than engage him, just took out his gun and shot him? Indy chose the easy and direct path and it was a powerful and memorable scene. Better than if he had tried to fight the guy. Maybe the snake is such a non-issue for your MC, he cuts of the head, quick and casual and moves on?

I wish I could give extra rep points -- Indiana Jones was a god to me growing up. Not going to lie, I wouldn't be writing this particular piece if Raiders of the Lost Ark hadn't led to an unhealthy obsession with archaeology and history.

I'd actually considered that bit in the Cairo bazaar right out of the gate when I conceived of the scene. But when I wrote it, I started thinking too many people would make that exact connection. Maybe I should have left well enough alone.

Jack Judah
03-03-2016, 03:50 AM
If you absolutely must have him do this barehanded, then yeah, grab it behind the head and either snap the neck (harder to do than it sounds) or bash the head into a wall. It's a stretch of willing suspension of disbelief - we are talking a very large snake, that's going to be very PO'd/scared and whipping around, and having to avoid getting bitten, and... Plus, while the grabbing might make for an impressive show, it lacks a certain level of theater.

The grabbing by the tail and whipping it against a wall falls completely outside my willingness to believe - if the snake were coiled at all, the tail would be darn hard to reach. And honestly, there's a huge luck factor in whether or not you'd manage to hit the head into the wall hard enough to do anything more than piss off a large snake.

In retrospect, I agree. The whipping action strains the limits of credulity. I think Roxxsmom lit on the winner.

Jack Judah
03-03-2016, 03:57 AM
Toss something flaming at or behind it, lamp oil would be a good choice. It will try to escape the flame, then the tail would be available to do as you described. It's a lucky blow, but it's fiction. Make sure it's a temple of Meretseger.

That is a winner!:Trophy: Adds a bit of flash (literally), and solves the problem. Can even use it in conjunction with the neck snapping method. Thank you!

CindyGirl
03-03-2016, 04:37 AM
[QUOTE=Jack Judah;9757304]I wish I could give extra rep points -- Indiana Jones was a god to me growing up. Not going to lie, I wouldn't be writing this particular piece if Raiders of the Lost Ark hadn't led to an unhealthy obsession with archaeology and history.

Thanks for the rep point! I just learned how to use them today. Good luck with your scene.

Orianna2000
03-12-2016, 07:15 PM
My husband killed a snake with a hockey stick once. He thought it was venomous, because we have several types of venomous snakes in our neighborhood (cottonmouth, copperhead, water moccasins, etc.) and one of our neighbors caught a 6-foot copperhead just up the street a few years ago. So when we stepped out the front door and there was a 4-foot snake on our front porch, he grabbed his hockey stick and broke the snake's back. Later, he found out it wasn't venomous, but it was a type whose markings mimic a venomous snake, so he had no way of knowing. He couldn't get close enough to see if its eyes were round or slitted. I'm really surprised he was able to get close enough to kill it, actually, because he has a snake phobia. Made the whole experience more interesting, I'm sure.

I've no advice for how to kill a cobra, but it sounds like you're on the right track. :)

benbenberi
03-13-2016, 01:09 AM
There's a video going round these days that shows some cobra-handling action: dinner time at the venom farm (https://www.facebook.com/LADbible/videos/2673147509399089/)

Jack Judah
03-13-2016, 02:06 AM
There's a video going round these days that shows some cobra-handling action: dinner time at the venom farm (https://www.facebook.com/LADbible/videos/2673147509399089/)

:scared:That guy is ridiculous. I was cringing and jumping in my chair, and he was whistling Dixie. Wow.