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Spitting Cobra Sprays Venom Into Woman's Eyes After She Opens Cupboard Where It Was Hiding

Newsweek logo Newsweek 1/14/2022 Robyn White
The Mozambique Spitting Cobra is native to Africa and commonly found in the Durban area © TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images The Mozambique Spitting Cobra is native to Africa and commonly found in the Durban area

A cobra spat venom into a woman's eyes after she accidentally disturbed it while it was hiding in a cupboard.

The woman in Durban, South Africa, opened the cupboard at an office to find the startled 3.9-foot-long Mozambique spitting cobra resting on some wires, where it spat at her out of shock.

Fortunately only five minutes away at the time, snake catcher Nick Evans arrived swiftly to remove the highly venomous serpent.

Evans, who runs a snake rescue project in Greater Durban, South Africa, wrote on Facebook that the snake, feeling "trapped and terrified," had defended itself the best way it knew how.

After spitting at the woman, the snake fell into a bucket below the wires. Evans arrived to find that the office employee's had managed to trap it by wrapping a bin bag tightly over the bucket.

Evans said of the cobra spitting venom: "Not pleasant for us or any animal that attacks them, but a truly genius method of self defense if you think about it...


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"I saw the poor lady, who was in a lot of pain. She had been using her hands to splash her eyes with water in the bathroom. Holding her head under an outside tap would have been better.

"I instructed her to rather get a glass, fill it with water, keep her eyes open, and rinse the eyes out thoroughly. It is vital to flush the venom out. This is the best thing to do immediately after being spat at. It's very uncomfortable, but to be blunt, one has to suck it up and do it. It's extremely important. I've had venom in the eyes a few times unfortunately, but I can still see after rinsing with water."

The woman attended a clinic as soon as the cobra was removed, and Evan's said he has "no doubt" she will have fully recovered.

The Mozambique spitting cobra is native to Africa and common in many areas of Durban. They feed mostly on toads, however will occasionally eat rodents and other snakes too.

A bite from a Mozambique Spitting Cobra can be fatal to humans. According to a report from South African news outlet, Times Live, the last confirmed case of a bite was two years ago.

Evans said that this sort of incident is "extremely rare," having last encountered something similar in 2018.

He said: "Venom in the eyes feels a bit like sand and soap combined. It burns, it's painful...[These incidents] usually happen by accident, such as the above incident. They have a potent, dangerous cytotoxic venom. A bite is a far, far bigger problem than being spat at... Venom on the skin is generally no issue, or in the mouth. The eyes usually feel sore for the day, but usually feel fine the next day."

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