Western Barred Spitting Cobra
Long, medium-build. Adults 1 200 – 1 750 mm long. Head distinct from neck. Eye and pupil round; iris black. Adult colouration light-grey to pinkish, with 70 – 100 black bands that encircle body and tail, accounting for name ‘Zebra Cobra’. Throat with single broad, black band. Smooth dorsal scales in 21 rows at mid-body; anal entire.
Fixed front fangs, modified with L-shaped canal that exists on front of fang, enabling snake to defensively spray venom towards attacker’s eyes.
Potent cytotoxin causing pain, swelling, blistering and extensive, superficial tissue destruction which may require surgical repair. Numerous bites are reported. Venom in eyes causes extreme pain and should be immediately washed out with copious amounts of water to prevent permanent damage and blindness; medical attention must be sought as soon as possible. Polyvalent anti-venom not specific, nor apparently effective; further testing currently underway. However, poly-valent anti-venom should be administered in serious bites.
Arid, savanna bushveld.
Mainly nocturnal, but also active during the day. Shy, choosing to escape, but if cornered will spread a hood and spit or bite readily. Attracted to human habitation by presence of rodents, frogs and water.
Reproduces by egg-laying.