Monday, March 19, 2012

Only In Africa

The gardener just knocked on the door. There is a snake in the water tank. A big big snake. He thinks it is a mamba. This is the water tank that holds all of our water for cleaning, laundry, and bathing. I took a shower this morning, in snake water. BLECH! I feel a sudden need to take a bath but there is snake in the water. The gardener wants me to come look at the snake. Uhhh...NOOO!

I don't do snakes especially if there is the remotest chance that the snake is a mamba. And it is a very remote chance indeed, so far they have identified brown house snakes, herald snakes, and sand snakes as mambas. All of these snakes are small, less than a yard in length and not dangerous to man. Mambas are freaking huge, around 10 feet long. I really wish there was a zoo I could take them to and show them a live mamba so at least they would't have a total heart attack every time they saw a snake.

They do have good cause to be afraid of snakes around here. This is mamba country. It's also cobra and boomslang and adder country. Antivenin is generally not available at hospitals so a bite is almost always lethal. However even here the vast majority of snakes are not dangerous and do eat an awful lot of rodents. Rodents that otherwise would be eating their crops. A little education could go a long way. Still I am NOT going out there to look at a big big snake in swimming around in the water I took a shower in this morning. ICKY.

Update: Called David. Snakes, like cockroaches, are clearly the husband's problem. He took a coffee break and dashed home, we live less than 10 minutes from the embassy, and checked out the situation. It is not a mamba, nor is it a big big snake. Big big snakes are more than 10 feet long in my book, big snakes would be around 5 feet. This guy was only about 2 feet. It was another herald snake. One of the biggest we have seen yet, but still a herald. Not lethal, in fact a bite from this guy is no worse than a wasp sting resulting in a headache and some mild swelling. They are very mild mannered and will slither away if given any chance to escape.

Dave fished it out with a piece of bamboo, for which the snake thanked him by squirting musk all over his work pants. EWWW NASTY! He turned it loose by our pond well away from our water tank, and told the gardeners and the guard not to kill it. None of them are very happy with Dave right now. I noticed that the gardeners are now working on the other side of the house well away from the release site and the guard is staying far away from the pond as he goes on his rounds.


Gao Dawei said...

Hello Cyberhome,

I am in Chengdu getting ready to go to Malawi. We should arrive at the Embassy in mid September.

Colby told me about your blog. Jessie and I are working on shipping our two cats from Chengdu to Malawi. Have you ever shipped pets to Malawi? It looks like it will be quite a project. We just checked with a Chinese company... they said it would be expensive and no guarantees that the cats won't be dead on arrival.

David Cowhig

Shannon said...

I think you have been corresponding with Dave the IMO who is also Mr. Cyberbones. He will get back to you on the cats. There is no cheap way to get them here. Some people do bring their pets. Ours are enjoying a 3 year vacation at Grandma's in Texas. I really miss them.

Kolbi is great! I look forward to meeting you and Jessie.

Monica said...

EWWWWW!!! do. not. like. snakes.

Shannon said...


Jill said...

Um ... me thinks there is a wee bit of a difference between a black mamba and a herald snake ( I was going to say garter snake ... but knew that wasn't right). Particularly about 8 feet different.

Only in Africa for sure!

Kate said...

Mamba or no, EEEK!

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