Horrifying visitor! Biggest scare of Tom's life! Postponement of today's intended post to tell about this frightening experience!

These yellow lines were from the portable clothes line located in the corner of the veranda where the Mozambique Spitting Cobra was heading.  Little did I know that this snake has the ability to spit venom as far as 10 feet, 3 meters into the eyes of its victim.  Hands shaking, I took this blurry photo standing only 3 feet, 1 meter from the snake.
No words can express the look of terror on Tom's face when this Mozambique Spitting Cobra, shown in these photos, slithered toward his bare feet as we sat on the veranda yesterday around noon.  I was sitting at the table approximately three feet, about one meter, from where Tom spotted the dangerous snake.  
This is the corner where the snake headed to hide.
Where did that come from?  Were we so busy looking for animals in the yard that we failed to look down near our own feet?

It had come within inches (centimeters) of his bare feet.  Later, we discovered that this type of snake presented less of a risk of biting than "spitting into one's eyes" possibly blinding or killing the victim.

Without a moment to think he bolted out of his chair while warning me of the location of the snake, so close to his bare feet.  Looking in the wrong direction, I had trouble spotting it for a few seconds.  Immediately, I reminded Tom to put on his shoes. At that point, neither of us realized what type of snake it was.
When it comes to Mozambique Spitting Cobras, their size was insignificant compared to the dangerous life threatening venom they inflict upon their victim.  This snake was approximately 1.5 to 2 feet long, 45 to 60 cm.
As it hissed and raised it's suddenly wide face at us, we instantly knew it was a Cobra, unsure if it was a Spitting Cobra.  A few nights ago, we'd watched an episode of The Amazing Race showing the participants eating cooked Cobra as one of their challenges, while traveling through Indonesia. 

During the show, there was a live cobra on display in a glassed enclosed box. Neither of us gave it much of a thought while watching the show, except to observe the shape of the head when half of its body was raised in defense mode, ready to strike.
The head of the snake was in the grabbers, not in the hand of the security guy.  He was very cautious and had obviously handled these snakes in the past.
We've all seen photos, watched TV shows and movies or caged cobras at a zoo. But in person?  Not so much.

Well folks, there we were on the veranda as an angry Mozambique (the country only a short drive from here) Spitting Cobra slithered its way to a corner near the house, not toward the driveway or garden.  Tom grabbed the long handled pool net in an effort to steer it away from the house.  How horrifying it would be if it somehow got inside!  But how much more horrifying it would be if it attacked Tom!

My biggest fear was Tom getting bit so I kept warning him to stay away.  You know how guys like to take charge in a crisis, right?  This was no time for heroism, my dear husband. 

The snake was close to the door to enter the house. I was determined to get inside to call Field Security, whom we were instructed to call for any type of emergency, including snakes. Gingerly, I maneuvered inside the house while Tom managed the snake. This was definitely one of those emergencies worthy of calling Field Security!
The snake wrapped itself around the grabber while its head was still clamped.  I cringed when the security guy got his hand this close.  By no means, was he careless, but even he was surprised and jumped back when the snake jumped out of the bucket after it was placed inside.
Digging through the instruction notebook Louise and Danie left for us, it took only a few seconds to find the phone number and place the call.  Giving them our address, they explained that they were on their way.  

We could have gone inside the house and let the snake maneuver to his liking, but we wanted it GONE! GONE! GONE!

Using the pole and net, Tom kept it cornered while we waited. It was curled up ready to strike, laying underneath a stringy mop. The pole Tom was using was no less than 10 feet long, 3 plus meters, which he carefully managed as we waited long 10 minutes for Field Security to arrive.

Carrying a "snake grabber," one of the two security guys arrived ready to remove the snake. Moving the mop off the snake in the corner, the security guy jumped back stating loudly, "That's a Mozambique Spitting Cobra! It's very dangerous!" 

We both stepped back while he and his co-worker (who was carrying a large plastic bucket with a lid) readied themselves to grab the snake.  Of course, I mentioned, "Please let me take a photo once you have it secured."  My camera was already in hand.  They also proceeded to take a photo with their phones.

As soon as they placed the snake into the bucket, it jumped back out!  We all let out a spontaneous, "Oooh!"  Luckily, their reflexes were quick.  After a few more attempts they got the snake back into the bucket with the lid firmly in place.

I asked them some questions, such as, "Where the snake will be deposited and how many of these snakes have they removed lately?"  The snake would be deposited at the Crocodile River. (Oh.  We're going there again tonight)! This was the second Mozambique Spitting Cobra they'd removed from a house in Marloth Park so far this week!  That wasn't very comforting.

In addition, they answered a few more of my questions regarding how likely it is this type of snake would enter the house?  Answer: very likely.  And also, how far can this snake "spit?" Answer: up to 10 feet, 3 meters. 

Then the scarier questions came, such as:  How likely is this snake to blind a person.  He answered, "If you're lucky!"  That wasn't very comforting either.

After they left, Tom, who'd put on his shoes, stated, "That was the biggest scare of my life."  It hadn't scared me as much as the black Centipede that he found a few weeks ago on the wall near the bathroom, only feet from our bed. That really freaked me out.  None the less, the snake was scary.  

Then again, we are in Africa, in the bush. Wildlife is all around us.  Who ever said "safari luck" was only for the animals we love to see.  Perhaps "safari luck" includes the scary ones too!  

At least now, when I walk down the long driveway each morning to leave a trail of pellets for the warthogs (it works), I won't be thinking of the lion that's loose in the neighborhood.  Instead, I'll be watching more diligently for snakes!
On a more cheerful note, this baby tree frog stopped by today, one of several we've seen the past few days.  Is it possible these are the product of the earlier of the two white foam nests hanging over our pool?  More on that later as we continue to watch.
Note: Today, we'd intended to share the fun zebra video and story which now will be posted tomorrow, Saturday, January 11th. 


Kathryn Begnaud said...

Okay. That's it. Get the hell out of there. Getting seriously worried I'll never see you again. Also .... Why not stop in twin cities before flying to Vancouver. We have two guest rooms.

Jessica said...

Hahaha...We spoke to a local woman this morning and she said she's had three of these same snakes at her house so far this summer (hard to believe its summer here now). I guess they're fairly common in the bush. I suppose we'll probably see another one or two before we leave. There is a much scarier snake that is a sure death sentence, the Black Mambo. Many people we've met had found them at their homes. That really freaks me out. But, we chose to live in the bush and 99% of it has been fabulous.

Thanks for the offer of the room! But, our plans to spend six days in Vancouver are all set. Our family is meeting us in Hawaii for Christmas so we hadn't planned to stop in Minnesota.

Thanks for writing! We enjoy hearing from old friends.

Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

Anonymous said...

Geez you two be more careful. Look in your shoes before putting them on,and your clothing.

Jessica said...

Thanks for your thoughtful warning. We do check our clothing and shoes before putting them on which we started doing as soon as we got to Kenya. It was 90F degrees, 32C. He'd slipped off his shoes in the heat which were sitting next to him. I was wearing shoes and socks which I do everyday. The snake came out of nowhere, perhaps slithering along the wall behind Tom's chair. Suddenly, it was within a foot, 30 cm of his feet.

I wish we could have prevented being so close. We've agreed to spend more time looking down at the floor and checking the ceiling and the walls. Its scary that about 10 minutes before we saw the snake, we heard a splat on the floor. We looked everywhere and only saw a Tree Frog, thinking maybe it fell out of the tree onto the stone floor.

We are now checking everything more diligently than ever.

Thanks so much for your kind concern!

Warmest regards,

Jess & Tom

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