Saturday, January 30, 2010

Drama at the Lapa on a Saturday night

Last night I was having dinner at the lapa with a woman who is visiting here from Windhoek for the weekend. (I love meeting people from all over and getting their stories. She's half Hungarian and half African "colored"--which is different than African black. They are much lighter--almost white--and have their own community and culture.)

Anyway, suddenly lots of dogs barking and people yelling. A black mamba had made its presence known. My camera was far away in my room, so I'm putting a picture on this blog I found on the web.

Normally, the mongooses and meerkats keep snakes at bay--especially so close to houses and lapas--but this one was apparently pretty bold. Probably came to get a drink and celebrate the end of the week.

A few words about the black mamba to show you how scary this was:

1. They are one of the most venomous snakes in the world. One bite with their fangs has enough venom to kill 20-25 people.

2. They are the fastest snake in the world. And one of the most aggressive.

3. Only the King Cobra is a longer venomous snake in the whole world. Black Mambas can grow up to 14 feet. Fortunately, this one was only about 5 feet.

4. "Black Mamba" doesn't refer to the color. They are silvery or greenish-silvery, but their mouths (look carefully at the photo) are pitch black.

5. Unless treated, death occurs usually within 30-60 minutes. Not a pleasant death.

So Frikkie managed to corral it in a blue cooler, and he's going to take it out into the desert today and let it go.

We've lost some animals to snake bites--just like in America. So getting them off the property is mission number one. No person or creature hurt with this one, though. And since they keep the rodent population down, Frikkie didn't want to kill it--just relocate it.

Don't let this scare you off from Africa. This is my fourth trip here, and I've only seen four snakes up close and personal. As long as you don't go traipsing around in the high grass during the rainy season without looking where you're going, you'll be all right.

1 comment:

  1. Saw a program about a couple in S. Africa who go around making house calls to remove Black Mambas from unwanted places!! Seems they are on the increase.