The Unbearable Blueness of the Malaysian Coral Snake


The reason we hate snakes is mostly due to the fact that they are eerily quiet and have teeth with poison in them; also, we naturally mistrust any creature that has no shoulders. You may dispute this, but ask yourself if you’d trust Audrey Hepburn to watch your children. Then, ask yourself if she’s even still alive. Then, look it up, damn it! I can’t do everything for you.

The blue Malaysian coral snake (Calliophis bivirgata) ranges through Thailand and about half way into Malaysia. It won’t go any further into Malaysia out of fear of angering Michelle Yeoh, who science has determined is more than capable of kicking its butt. It’s primary habitats are forests and deserts that someone made look like a forest as a joke. It’s primary foods are other snakes and bears that someone made up to look like a snake as a joke. It’s primary school was Bangkok Elementary which was made to look like a skating rink as a joke.

Calliophis bivirgata can grow to be 1.8 meters long which is seventy one inches if you take into account daylight savings time. Surprisingly, its body is blue, except for the head and the tail, which are red. Its head is the same width as its body so it seldom carries a backpack. People sometimes confuse them with the pink-headed reed snake and the outcome is usually more tragic than it is erotic.

The calliophis bivirgata is semifossorial. It would like to be completely fossorial, but it doesn’t want to make promises it cannot keep. For those of you who didn’t pay attention in your graduate-level zoology class, fossorial indicates creature that is adept at digging into the ground. Those adept at digging into the air are called “birds”. The blue Malaysian coral snake comes out in the early morning especially after a soaking rain. It comes out primarily to feed but also the see if it left the windows rolled down in its car. The snakes they feed on are mostly fossorial themselves which allows the calliophis bivirgata to “get into their heads”. Like most residents of Louisiana, it will also occasionally eat a lizard or a frog…

The blue Malaysian coral snake’s venom sac can be one-third the length of its body, because anything’s possible. This is considered unusual for a snake or pretty much anybody. It also explains why no one has ever seen the calliophis bivirgata in a necktie. Its fangs are located at the front and are small, fixed and hollow. The blue Malaysian coral snake’s bite can be completely painless which is a marked contrast to what happens next.

The venom of the calliophis bivirgata is potent enough to kill a king cobra, quickly. In layman’s terms the venom of the blue Malaysian coral snake turns on every nerve in your body all at once and won’t allow you to turn them back off, similar to the feeling you get when listening to a Slipknot concert. This condition causes immediate paralysis, again similar to the effects of a Slipknot concert. How is this done? By keeping certain sodium channels open, of course. My father, an accomplished street fighter, always told me that the way to win a bar-fight is to open a guy’s sodium channels and, if you get the chance, to stick your thumb in his eye.

Medical researchers are looking at this venom with great interest, although I can’t think of many medical conditions that are typically treated by inducing a quick agonizing death. Actually, researchers want to create a drug that does the OPPOSITE of the venom. But, researchers are lazy lazy people. Too lazy to search for a snake whose bite alleviates pain so they simply study the venom of the blue Malaysian coral snake and develop a drug that isn’t that. Much like using the discovery of fire to produce refrigeration. I say, “good luck”…