….and other animals I met during my many happy years spent living in South Africa.
We weren’t always holed up in a cottage near the beach. Nevertheless happy to be there in “Sweetpea” at the time, with its white painted walls and baby blue window frames and guttering.
We had left the Transvaal and city life behind us.
Almost forgotten was the suburban, double storey home, up country, on a half acre stand, complete with bar room, guest suite and swimming pool.
My three year old did (keep her eyes open), she knew exactly what to do when her older siblings screamed for help.
“Snake, snake!!” They were becoming a nuisance, appearing regularly in all different parts of the cottage, these tiny green snakes.
She would run to the kitchen for the braai tongs from the kitchen and very gently lift it, carrying it to the safety of the oleander bushes outside unharmed.
“They are only babies!” she’d say, aping her father.
It was spring and our first year living here and Fluffy, the family cat had lost interest days before with the sliding, gliding predators. Where at first she had prodded and played with them gently, she now looked on in boredom.
Things changed dramatically after MY encounter with one of these “harmless” little fellows, this one suddenly appeared to watch me making a sandwich on the kitchen worktop. We now definitely needed to take advice!! I too screamed for my daughter’s rescue kit.
Help came in the form of the Shark’s board official. His team at that time ran the conservation offices along the coastline. He confirmed that these snakes would not harm us, but also that they were hatching from eggs possibly, very kindly left in the ceilings by adult snakes before. He offered to take a look and confirm this when he had finished the cold drink we had poured for him.
An interesting point that he made which did nothing to soothe my fears was that it was quite common for this species to return and lay eggs in the same place.
All the while this un-nerving news was being narrated; my three normally “ferocious” bulldogs sat looking up at him in awe taking in his wise words. They sensed his importance or he may have ranked as top animal lover by some uncanny dog sense.
However, it could also have been the fact that he was lovingly stroking Fluffy, a fact which, they knew they would have to deal with after the man was gone!!
More- to follow –