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Spit dart

A beetle-headed merchant used a spit dart to paralyze a restless Appa.

Shirshu-spit darts are non-lethal darts used by the beetle-headed merchants living in the Si Wong Desert to temporarily paralyze victims. The preparation of the darts begins with the harvesting of the spit of a shirshu, which can paralyze most creatures, including a ten-ton flying bison,[1] for up to an hour, depending on the dosage. The victim remains conscious while paralyzed.


After Appa was kidnapped by Ghashiun and his friends, the sandbenders sold the bison to some desert merchants. While completely tied down by the merchants, Appa heard Aang calling him with the bison whistle nearby. He tried to get away by shaking the transport trailer and flying away, and nearly succeeded. To stop him, one of the beetle-headed merchants pulled out a blow pipe and shot three shirshu-spit darts into one of his feet. The shirshu spit took effect immediately, and the escaping bison fell to the ground again, completely paralyzed.[1]

Shirshu-spit darts

Ming-Hua used her waterbending to shoot three shirshu-spit darts at Naga.

In 171 AG, the Red Lotus infiltrated Zaofu in an attempt to kidnap Avatar Korra. When Naga detected their presence, they used three darts to sedate her. When Korra awoke, they used another dart to paralyze her, allowing them to capture the Avatar. After she was rescued, Aiwei provided Korra with an antidote to remove the dart's affects.[2]


  • The trick lies in harvesting the wily shirshu's spit and remembering to inhale before attempting to use the bamboo launcher, not during.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 13, 2006). "Appa's Lost Days". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  2. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (July 25, 2014). "The Terror Within". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  3. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on (link). No longer updated, encyclopedia now broken though archived here.

See also