Durban - A 6-year-old girl from a farm near Sugar Rush in Ballito survived a harrowing ordeal after she was bitten on the chin by a Mozambican spitting cobra on Sunday night.
The snake, however, did not stop there and sprayed little Mikayla-Sue Grove's mom, Inge, in the face, from a distance of about 30cm, when she went to investigate what had happened.
Mikayla-Sue’s father, Ludwig, said his two girls Mikayla-Sue and Izabella were in the room they shared when they heard a commotion.
Mikayla-Sue told her dad she had a “toothache” and Ludwig realised she had been bitten.
He located the snake and made sure his daughters left the room safely.
Inge, after the snake spat in her eyes, immediately started washing her eyes out with water.
Ludwig said they had a 10 to 15-minute dash to the Alberlito Hospital and what had saved his wife's eyes was that they took a bottle of water along with them and Inge constantly washed her eyes out.
Writing on Facebook page Snake Bite Assist, expert Arno Naude, said doctors had urgently applied anti-venom and, when the swelling reached the child's throat, had intubated her so that she would not suffocate.
Ludwig told The Mercury that 17 vials of anti-venom were applied over a 12-hour period.
Naude said Inge had since recovered from the venom in the eyes and was with their daughter in hospital.
Ludwig on Facebook thanked all those involved in his daughter's treatment.
“Mikayla is doing much better, the tubes have been removed, she is very responsive and looks around, eyes wide open,” he said yesterday. "Still in ICU, but I think I can safely say she is out of danger. We will know for certain over the next two to three days what the extent of the tissue damage will be.”
He said on Tuesday doctors had removed the tubes and the swelling had decreased substantially. In the next 48 hours they would learn if there would be any permanent tissue damage.
The family thanked the public for all the messages of support.
Snake catcher Neville Wolmarans was called to the scene shortly after the incident occurred and removed the snake.
Considered one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa, the Mozambican spitting cobra's venom can cause severe local tissue destruction. Venom to the eyes can also cause impaired vision or blindness if the eyes are not urgently cleaned out with water or milk.
The snake's fangs are specially modified for spitting venom. This allows the Mozambican spitting cobra to spit its venom to a distance of two to three metres.