Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Out in the wilds...

With the Big Move accomplished on the long Easter weekend, I was pottering around on the Easter Monday, slowly unpacking boxes and relaxing.
I was down the garden at the washing line, hanging up a load of washing, when I heard the dogs barking at something out of sight along the pathway to the back of the cottage. Now that is where the dog and cat house is situated and having been just introduced to each other at this stage, I thought that a kitty had got out into the garden and the dogs were barking at it.
I ventured toward where the dogs were but as I wandered down the path in the direction in which they were looking, they didn't follow me...
As I walked silently along, I heard a sound...a combination of a puff and a hiss.. I swung my head to the left and there I saw....a snake!
Immediately adrenalin rushed through my veins and my heart started pounding. I managed to continue walking normally away from the snake which was sliding along the outside wall of the cottage in the garden. It was going in the direction of the dog and cat house and I was petrified for the safety of the dogs and cats as well as myself.
Before I walked away I noticed that the beige coloured snake seemed huge and it had bright eyes. I hadn't seen a snake like this before but to me it seemed dangerous. It was very alert. This was about midday in the heat of the day.
I tried to call the dogs to me on the other side of the house but they wouldn't listen. Just then my man, who had been out at the shops, arrived home. I rushed to the gate hysterically to explain what I had just seen.
After he had put his parcels down and found a suitable stick to handle the snake, we couldn't find the snake. Luckily though it hadn't moved too far from its original position. The snake was pinned down by the stick and by its next action, it proved that it was a Rinkhals snake which feigns death when threatened. The snake pretended to be dead but when the stick was shifted to pin it by its head, it swung its head and tried to bite the stick. It is a poisonous snake and if threatened a Rinkhals will rear up and spit venom into the eyes of its potential enemy. It was decided that we would not be able to catch the snake and relocate it as we didn't have the correct equipment and we couldn't risk either one of us or the animals getting bitten or the snake getting under the animals hut.
I rushed to the neighbours to borrow a spade and cried heartbrokenly as the snake was dispatched. This snake had been going about its business and because it crossed the paths of humans and their pets, it met its end.
Hopefully our future wildlife stories will all have happier endings...
Momcat xx
As a P.S., the remains of the snake were thrown over the fence at the bottom of our fenced in section of the garden where it was consumed within two days by another predator. The food chain in action...!


  1. I am extremely afraid of snakes (as you may know) - I think you were very brave. And best to dispose of it before one of the pets get bitten

  2. Cat, I definitely think I was reacting purely on adrenalin because I was also very afraid. I didnt know how fast the snake was, or what it was or if it was poisonous. We did what we had to to but I do not like killing creatures so it was rather distressing for me.

  3. I shuddered while I read this. I have a healthy fear of snakes and it borders on the phobia. So glad nobody got hurt.

  4. Lynette, When I was in KZN, my kitties used to catch and eat harmless two tone green garden snakes. We even had to save one once from the hungry feline hunters. I havent encountered any really poisonous snakes before now in Jhb. I am also relieved that the dogs alerted me before the snake had a chance to hide under the hut. Now I take the dogs everywhere with me in the garden.

  5. Yikes!

    My friend Denise found one like that hiding in her daughter's book shelf.

    I think you did the right thing in dispatching it...

  6. Louisa, I was stressed enough with the snake being outside let alone in the house. I would probably have a heart attack...I remember my mom having to deal with a mamba in the roof years ago in KZN when we were kids. Scary creatures...