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Yesterday, I was sealing my kitchen floor (how's that for adventurous) when there was shouting and commotion at the staff houses. I ran over, barefoot, to find Sandries swinging a rake at something. Snake.

I hate to generalize, but in most African cultures, snakes are seen as evil and to be killed. All snakes are dangerous, I've been told by so many. Even a little house snake will kill you. Even a dead one. It must be burned immediately.

I take a different view, with the possible exception of mambas. Snakes are beautiful, fascinating, and more importantly, a valuable part of our ecosystem. I've told Blackson and Sandries this many times, and to call me to deal with snakes, and just get incredulous laughter.

Funny how you can talk about how you gently catch them and release them all you want, but when you are faced with a cornered spitting cobra, you start to waver. This one was fairly small, but as I approached him with a bag and a rake, he indicated that he wasn't in a very good mood.

Mozambican spitting cobras are fairly common here. They have potent venom that they spit into the eyes of whoever annoys them with surprising accuracy from about 10-15 feet. This venom can blind you. I ran back to the house to get good snake boots, an easy to close and secure bag, and goggles. Due to the chaos of building, however, I emerged a few
minutes later with sunglasses, heels, and a laptop bag. The snake wasn't very pleased about my whole catch and release idea. I told him that it was a choice between the laptop bag and the rake, he replied with some very foul language, telling me exactly where I could shove that bag. I told him he was a beautiful creature that belonged out in the veldt, and not in Sandries' bathroom, he called me the c word.

Eventually, I nudged him into the bag with the rake. After much bungling, I flipped thhe bag closed, and threw a blanket over it. After some terrified grappling with the blanket, I shoved it into a black plastic bag, well inflated to give him air, and taped it firmly shut. The bathroom was warily inspected and pronounced snake free. Hooray! The staff think I'm certifiably insane.

Brevis came home half an hour later and we put the bag in the car to go release him. We drove out to a remote part of our reserve, and with a great deal of trepidation, cut open the bag and shook out the bundle.

Then shook out the bag. Then shook it out again. Then shook out the blanket. Then looked at each other in confusion. Then slowly turned to the car.

I'm driving the other car this week, thanks.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2012 06:12 am (UTC)
That's crazy!
May. 7th, 2012 06:56 am (UTC)
That is truly terrifying.
May. 7th, 2012 10:07 am (UTC)
Oh dear. Please tell me you found it through some other method than sitting on it.
May. 7th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
Nope. Still a mystery. We did run a full cat scan of the car, which turned up negative. Followed by a dog scan. So, he is, uh, somewhere. Even if I've examined thhe car fully, and really believe that there is no cobra, there is always a little part of my brain that whispers, "yes, but there COULD be a cobra..."

Which is enough.
May. 7th, 2012 12:19 pm (UTC)
Oh gosh.... :/
May. 7th, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
oh, shhhhhhitake mushrooms. I hope everything turns out ok...
May. 7th, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
That would scare the sh*t out of me!
When we were building the first part of our house, before we even had electricity, as the power guys were hooking us up, Bob came walking out of the woods with a 5'10" rattlesnake he had just caught. The linemen kinda' backed up and were obvoiusly ready to run, and the snake was so strong, it was moving Bob's hands around against his will. I got a metal box and we put him in it. He rattled all day and half the night. The next day we road tripped him to a state park.
Now, since we have little kids who visit, Bob simply kills them.
May. 7th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
Once, when I was a kid, my dad and I went snake hunting up in the hills near town. We didn't find the rattlesnake that we were looking for, but we did find a lovely gopher snake, about 3-4 feet long. We put him in the truck, went back to town. Stopped for a bit at dads' boss' house, then headed back to the beach where we lived. When we got there, we couldn't find the snake. Dad and I were convinced that it had escaped while we were in San Luis Obispo. My mother, who was terribly, terribly snake phobic, was not convinced and refused to ride in the truck. For weeks. About 4-5 weeks later, my father got in the truck and discovered a very large pile of snake shit on the floor. Snake was still in there, living in the ducts. Had to take apart the entire dash of the truck to get it out.

Oh, and the way you've written this? THIS is your voice, complete with "cat scan" and "dog scan". This is the voice for your book.
May. 8th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Ummm...so, where exactly did you store the bag before placing it in the car to drive out to release it? That's also where I'd look. On the other hand, maybe it was afraid of the heels and took off (maybe you were also cussing it out in snake language!).

I sure hope you never find it. If it's in the car, I hope it's long gone. I hope it's no where near your house. Non-venemous snakes are one thing, pissed off cobras cussin' you out are another!

Thanks again for painting a very vivid picture of your fascinating and very different life (was in Florida, now in North Carolina and your life is so amazing to me).
May. 8th, 2012 06:31 am (UTC)
THAT IS SO AWESOME! Except the part about knowing there is a cobra somewhere and not knowing where it is. I would assume it escaped into the grass when you dumped the bag out and... put any other thoughts aside so I could actually sleep at night.
I've had a very anxious bat loose in the car, which involved pulling over and turtling until it vacated, but yeah, poisonous snake trumps that.
May. 8th, 2012 06:35 am (UTC)
Such a great story! This needs to be in a book. Although I hope no ill comes of this mis-adventure!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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