Spitting Cobra

A spitting cobra is one of several species of cobras that have the ability to eject venom from their fangs when defending themselves against predators. The sprayed venom is harmless to intact skin. However, it can cause permanent blindness if introduced to the eye and left untreated (causing chemosis and corneal swelling).

The venom sprays out in distinctive geometric patterns, using muscular contractions upon the venom glands. These muscles squeeze the glands and force the venom out through forward-facing holes at the tips of the fangs. The explanation that a large gust of air is expelled from the lung to propel the venom forward has been proven wrong. When cornered, some species can "spit" their venom a distance as great as 2 m (6.6 ft). While spitting is typically their primary form of defense, all spitting cobras are capable of delivering venom through a bite, as well. Most species' venom exhibit significant hemotoxic effects, along with more typical neurotoxic effects of other cobra species.