Tag Archives: snakes

Rinkhals

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.

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Unusual sighting

A recent unusual sighting of a pair of Puff Adders interacting with each other caused much excitement among the team at Sibuya Bush Lodge. The Puff Adder (Bitis Arietans) is a venomous snake species common in South Africa. They are mostly nocturnal, and solitary, which is why this sighting was so unique. The Puff Adder is one of the few snakes that give birth to live snakes since the egg hatches inside the females body. Mating season occurs normally in Spring when a female snake will produce a pheromone used to attract males. The photographs appear to depict either a display of dominance or a precursor to mating. Males often engage each other in neck to neck combat dances when competing for a female.

Puffadders - Sibuya