News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
10 Jan 2020
7:41 am

Lucky Durban dog survives venom of feisty spitting cobra

News24 Wire

A snake catcher advises people not to interfere or get too close to snakes as they get scared and go in to defence mode.

A dangerously venomous Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) snake. Image: Willem Van Zyl/iStock

A lucky Durban dog lived to see another day after a scrap with a small, but feisty Mozambique spitting cobra.

Professional snake catcher Jason Arnold of Universal Reptiles said he received a call from a distressed homeowner in Clare Estate on Wednesday afternoon, asking for help.

“The family dog ran up to the snake and consequently got a blast of venom in its right eye,” Arnold told News24.

By the time he arrived on the scene, the homeowner had already managed to get the dog away from the snake and flush its eye with lots of water, he explained.

The snake had retreated to a crevice in the wall and continued spitting at Arnold as he attempted to rescue it.

“I can feel a little cold shower of liquid landing on my face and arms, that’s from him spitting on me,” Arnold says in a video of the incident.

“Spitting cobras are capable of delivering a dozen or so sprays of venom in a single encounter before they start to run dry,” he told News24.

“But this is replenished quite soon thereafter.”

Despite this he said you only really need glasses to protect your eyes from the venom.

“Venom on the skin usually causes no harm whatsoever unless you are particularly sensitive. If you are, then itching or a bit of burning could occur,” he said.

The dog had a puffy swollen eye, but was expected to make a full recovery.

In a recent Facebook post, the snake catcher said his phone has been ringing non-stop, day and night.

He’s had his hands full with between 15 and 25 calls per day, although realistically he is only able to respond to four or five per day.

In summer months snake activity increases because of the heat. That’s also when the reptiles’ eggs hatch.

Arnold has advised people not to interfere or get too close to snakes as they get scared and go in to defence mode.

“People can call me and describe the snake to me, and I will probably know what snake it is. Or if they can get a picture or video of it and send that to me immediately, then I can confirm… whether it’s safe enough for them to approach,” he said.

He added that it’s probably far cheaper to get a professional to deal with a problem snake.

“If a bite does occur, it could cost hundreds of thousands of rands on anti-venom, ICU fees, general hospital fees, doctors fees and potentially even long-term suffering and physiotherapy,” he said.

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