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  • Karen Frost

Chapter 14: Snakes on a Train

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

There are only two things to note for this chapter. First, it's true that in real life, the baggage car for the Luxor Express was at the front of the train, behind the locomotive, and that it had limited windows.

Second, here's some information about the Egyptian cobra. The species's average length is 1-2 meters (3.3-6.6 ft), with a maximum length of just under 3 meters (9.8 ft). Their color is variable, although most snakes are some shade of brown, and often they have a "tear-drop" mark below the eye. Some are more copper-red or grey-brown. Their stomachs are mostly a creamy white, grayish, blue grey, yellow brown, dark brown or black, often with dark spots. Although they prefer to run than fight when approached, an Egyptian cobra will attack if it feels it necessary. The cobra's venom affects the nervous system, stopping nerve signals from being transmitted, to the point of causing respiratory failure. It can be fatal in as little as 15 minutes.

Napthalene is one of the most common ingredients found in snake repellent products. Given it was discovered in 1819, it seems possible that the Egyptians would have kept it at hand to ward off all kinds of snakes.

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