Hemachatus haemachatus

The Rinkhals is a spitting cobra that is found throughout most of South Africa. To enable it to spit venom, the discharge hole in the hollow fangs faces the front at a 90°-angle rather than facing down as it does in snakes that inject their venom through biting. With this modification they can accurately spit venom to a range of about 2m and usually aim for the eyes of their victim. The Rinkhals' venom glands have the capacity to contain about 2x the lethal dose of its primarily neurotoxic venom but the chance of human fatality from this snake is pretty low due to it delivering the venom by spitting rather than directly through a bite. The consequences of receiving a direct hit to the eyes, however, can be severe and may cause permanent blindness if the venom is not thoroughly washed out immediately.


All of the photos shown above are of a captive individual photographed in a studio setting.