As I mentioned in the first post in this occasional series, there have been more than a few strange things we have seen in living in other countries for almost two decades.
This one, like the first, comes from Zimbabwe.
We were living and working there as instructors at a small Bible college. The college was in a fairly rural area, but that really didn’t matter because the truth is that in addition to amazing natural resources, Africa is home to an amazing number of snakes.
Not just little snakes that kill rodents, big poisonous snakes which kill people.
Which no one bothered to tell us about until we were already there (which is good, because I might well have stayed home–just kidding).
But one day we had a close encounter of the third kind that almost did us in when …
It happened like this.
We had walked home to eat lunch, and Mrs. TT had started back to her next class. I had a bit more time, so I was sitting in the house when I suddenly hear her yelling at me to come out. I mean, this wasn’t something in the toilet yelling, this was a blood curdling yell.
I looked out the large window on the front of the house and saw what was at the time the longest snake I had ever seen. I had never seen one in person, but I knew what it was immediately (because all the helpful folk at the school had informed us how to spot the deadly snakes which lived everywhere — which was just about every snake there).
It was a Banded Cobra! And yes, they are very deadly.
Now, as I ran I was thinking, boy, I sure hope this thing stays still, because if I am to have any hope in killing it, I’ll need it to not move and not leave the gravelled driveway (which I could still manage to walk on despite no shoes).
There was only one problem! When Mrs. TT began yelling so loudly, she alerted the snake, and he wasn’t staying around for more (of the noise or the result of the noise, I don’t know which).
As he took off out of the yard and in to the woods, I ran out of the drive and around to where the drive off the college property went. Sure enough, out came the snake.
I still had no gun, no shoes, but by this time I had a very large boulder in my hand. Don’t think David and Goliath type smooth stone. Think large jagged edged rock–the kind that takes two hands to lift.
As the cobra was crossing the road I had one chance, so with two hands I threw the small boulder at the snake.
I missed, but I did manage to make the snake mad!
So as he continued across the dirt road toward the bushes, he gave me a little preview of what a Banded Cobra can look like when it opens it raises up and opens its hood.
Did you know that a cobra can raise up one third of its length, flare out its hood, and still keep going? I didn’t!
But that’s exactly what it did. Thankfully it didn’t turn toward me, because by this time I was boulderless, gunless, and still shoeless.
The next day we heard a loud commotion at the house next to ours. One of the children of a missionary was walking her two dogs, when the dogs spied that cobra again…this time on the door step of an elderly lady missionary who lived beside us. The dogs had the snake cornered, and the little girl was yelling: “Don’t open the door! Don’t open the door!”
Of course, the dear lady couldn’t understand what was being shouted so she…. wait for it…wait for it…. opened the door.
And, seeing the biggest snake she had ever seen promptly slammed the door shut!
Thankfully one of the African students who was doing some work around the house, and who had considerably more experience with deadly snakes than the rest of us, had a long grass cutter (not a scythe, but similar) with him.
He dispatched the snake, and, all of us lived a little quieter lives for a while until …. Stay tuned!
What’s the biggest snake you’ve ever seen? Been up close and personal with one? Tell me about it.