Cobra spits venom into tourist’s eye

Jason Arnold rescued the juvenile cobra which had hitched a ride in the tourist's luggage.
Jason Arnold rescued the juvenile cobra which had hitched a ride in the tourist's luggage.

A DUTCH toursit is lucky to have escaped unscathed after a Mozambique Spitting Cobra sprayed venom into his eyes at a holiday lodge in uMhlanga on Thursday morning. What is more, it is believed the snake had found its way into the teenager’s bag from a nature reserve in Phinda, north of Durban where the family had been visiting the day before.

As he was unpacking his clothes, the snake spat venom with pinpoint accuracy into both his eyes. Quick reactions from the staff at Teremok Boutique Lodge ensured the 16-year-old escaped serious injury. He was rushed to the doctors for immediate medical treatment and to flush the venom out of his eyes.

A spitting cobra’s bite causes severe local tissue destruction, while the venom it spits into the eyes can cause impaired vision or blindness.

Durban North snake man, Jason Arnold was also called out to rescue the juvenile snake which is approximately 60cm in length.

“The family had left Phinda on Wednesday and had arrived in uMhlanga in the evening. The teenager had unpacked some clothing yesterday but the snake must have been tucked away somewhere nice and cozy. It  wasn’t until this morning when he attempted to take more clothes out that the snake spat in his eyes.

“It’s lucky he wasn’t bitten because of how close he was to the serpent. The staff at the lodge were very quick to flush out the venom using water. These snakes seldom stand their ground, if cornered it may spread its hood, however its main defense, other than retreating into hiding, is to spit its venom,” he said.

The tourist, though in a lot of pain, is on a course of antibiotics and will be fine added Arnold.

Arnold said the snake will be transported back to the nature reserve and released. Contact Jason Arnold on 082 745 6375.

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How to Remove Spitting Cobra Venom from Eyes

Treat the eye immediately: Wash the eye(s) out with generous volumes of fluid. The types of fluids that are acceptable include water and milk.

See the doctor as soon as possible: The attacked eye or eyes will need to be examined to see if there is any damage. There may also be a need for the ingestion of antibiotics for a few days to calm any possible bacterial infection.


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