Rinkhals

Caracal
November 30, 2017

The rinkhals, also called the ringhals or ring-necked spitting cobra, is a species of venomous snake found in parts of Southern Africa including Sibuya Game Reserve.

A small to medium sized snake usually 90 cm to 120 cm in length, but can reach 1,5m. The snake is closely related to the true cobras, but differs from the true cobras in having keeled dorsal scales. In all other respects it acts like a cobra, being able to rear up and spread a hood.

The venom of the rinkhals is neurotoxic and partially cytotoxic, and is less viscous than that of other African elapids.  When confronting a human, it generally aims its venom at the face. If the venom enters the eyes, it causes great pain.

If distressed, the rinkhals spreads its hood, showing its distinctive, striped neck. It is a spitting snake, and can spray its venom up to 2.5 m. Its spitting mechanism is primitive and it has to rear up and fling its body forward to spray its venom. It is also known to fake death by rolling onto its back with its mouth agape.