Spitting Cobra Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Snakes are creepy enough on their own, but this snake is even creepier because it spits! Learn how and why spitting cobras spit venom, where they live, and what they eat.

What Are Spitting Cobras?

Did you ever have a spitting contest with a friend to see who could spit the farthest? It's kind of yucky and kind of funny at the same time. At best, you can spit a few feet, which is nothing compared to how far spitting cobras can spit. Spitting cobras are types of cobras that can spit venom at predators and prey. The venom, which is a poisonous substance, can travel four to eight feet depending on the size of the snake.

This red spitting cobra is ready to defend itself.

How and Why Do They Spit?

Spitting cobras don't spit the same way you do. When you spit, you gather saliva in your mouth, pinch your lips and blow. Spitting cobras spray venom by squeezing venom glands near their mouths, which forces the venom out of small holes in the front of their fangs. They can hurl the spray of venom at a high speed, making it hard for their victims to get away.

Spitting cobras spit as a defense against predators as well as a way to capture prey. They have very good aim, and they always go for the eyes. If they strike their target, the venom causes pain in the eyes of the victim and can cause blindness. So, if you ever come across a spitting cobra, keep your distance!

Spitting Cobras Compared to Other Cobras

Not all Cobras Spit

A Mozambique Spitting Cobra

Not all cobras are spitting cobras. Some of the cobra species that can spit venom include the black-necked spitting cobra, red spitting cobra, and the Mozambique (pronounced moh-zam-beek) cobra. Most of the cobras that can spit live in Africa and Asia. They can be found in different habitats, including deserts, grasslands, and wooded areas.

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