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Spit dart

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

Shirshu-spit darts are projectiles used by the beetle-headed merchants living in the Si Wong Desert to temporarily paralyze victims. Prepared with the spit of a shirshu, the substance's effect on the human body varies between individuals,[1] though victims generally remain conscious while paralyzed. Most creatures, including a ten-ton flying bison,[2] can be paralyzed with these darts for up to an hour,[3] depending on the dosage.

Though intended to be non-lethal, victims may suffer a fatal allergic reaction.[1] The effects of the darts will wear off on their own over time, but can also be neutralised early with a concoction.[4]


Whilst walking in the town of Zigan, Avatar Kyoshi and her companions Rangi and Lek were ambushed by Jianzhu's men and shot with shirshu-spit darts, immobilizing all three and causing Lek to die when the darts caused an allergic reaction, asphyxiating whilst Kyoshi could only watch in shock and grief.[1]

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 blowpipe 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.[2]

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 effects.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Thirty, "Farewells". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 13, 2006). "Appa's Lost Days". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  3. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Gear: Shirshu-spit darts.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (July 25, 2014). "The Terror Within". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.

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