Out of the Closssset

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Ever since returning to South Africa from the States three and a half years(!!!!) ago, the only wildlife I have encountered thus far include: my family (okay, kidding!), dogs, mice (sadly, I'm not referring to this one... but to the scurrying, vile kind whom I fear and loathe and despise), spiders, zebras (but they're in a camp, so they probably don't really count), and ostriches. Oh, and the resident African Grey who used to hang out in the high branches of the oak trees in my neighbourhood. He used to wolf-whistle at me with such conviction, I almost thought he was a deranged and/or blind man.

Anyway, the closest I've come to a lion has been the one whose likeness appears on the Simba chips packets.

A few weeks ago, while on another visit to my sister's and brother-in-law's house, my mom came in and told me to keep my bags closed. I still joked about her being scared that something might jump out of it, instead of the other way around, until I saw her face...

"I don't think I want to know why you just said that, do I?" I asked her.

She then, cryptically, told me how they had found something earlier.

"I don't want to know." I said, and not only packed up all my stuff, but zipped it up and put it on the bed and then proceeded to climb right on top of that too. Clearly I was thinking more along the line of rodents. Or amphibians. (They've all known to terrorise me in this old farm house. And as luck would have it, *I* am usually the only one who ever sees them scurrying across the floor, since they always make sure to only catch MY eye. When I scream and jump on various pieces of furniture, my family thinks that I am crazy. I have tried to assure them that my particular strain of insanity doesn't include phantom rodents or amphibians entering my field of peripheral vision. To no avail. They want me certified.)

If only I had known how very wrong I was. I can't believe I thought of - and I can't believe I'm about to type this - something as entirely harmless as little old field mice...

You see, what they had discovered (in the linen closet of all places. Which is situated right next to my nephew's bedroom, which is where I usually crash) is so shudder inducing, I almost ran from the house, screaming. This is what they found, buried snug among the towels: 
Closssse Up.JPG


















































































Sure, it looks harmless now (that is if you can even see anything at all. I have a feeling I may have screwed up this trying to put picture in blog thing once again), but that wasn't it by a loooooooooooooooooong shot.

When we all got over the initial shock, my sister called a professional snake catcher. I wasn't here to witness that. Thought that catcher dude would be a charming fellow, but apparently you needn't have much in the way of actual charm to charm snakes.

My sister said he marched in here, and with his BARE HANDS proceeded to pull out more pieces of skin. So much, that, when we put it all together like a puzzle, it amounted to almost 1.87 metres in length. The uncharming snake charmer apparently said that it was probably even bigger than that.

Also? It belonged to a CAPE COBRA - one of THE deadliest snakes in the region. The dude said that these guys aren't timid like other snakes apparently are. No, they strike first and assssk quesssstionssss later. (Okay, sssso I'm lame. Ssssue me!) Also, if you do happen to be in its path when it strikes? Your remaining life span would be cut down to about five minutes...

When we got over the shock (I'll try and get the picture of the entire, pieced together skin later), I told my sister that it probably came to exact revenge for all those snake skin shoes, bags, wallets and belts she wore during the 1980's.

Ssstrangely enough, sssshe wasssss not amussssed.

Jokes aside, I'm house sitting this very farm house right now where Mr. Snake came to change its wardrobe for the season. My sister, brother-in-law and the kiddies are on holiday. Did I remember to mention that no one is sure whether the snake is still in the house somewhere or not?

Yeah, needless to say, I've been sleeping with one eye open.

Oh, and despite the presence of the snake, some unwanted human intruders also decided to pay the house another visit last week. But we'll save that story for next time.

Sssssweet dreamssss, everyone!











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10 Comments

Po said:

Oh my woooooord! A Cape cobra! I hope they aren't into cuddling on cold nights?

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Po, I certainly hope not! Since posting this last night, my skin has not stopped crawling! You must witness my bedtime ritual. I yank the duvet entirely off the bed and give it a vicious shake down (snake down?). Don't ask me what I'll do if the snake actually falls out of there. I haven't thought that far ahead yet. My nerves are shattered!!! Don't think I can take any more of African wildlife moving into the house!

eeep! And here was I complaining about non-poisonous milipedes.... although I too am the person who spots the crawly thing when no-one else does. Spiders never seem to appear in anyone else's room! I'm glad again to live in a country with no really dangerous wildlife!

Right what you need to internet research is what to do if you see one - do you stay very still or do you run away. Perhaps if stillness is the key you can sleep comparatively safely.

Why hasn't someone invented some sort of 'snake-be-gone' pest spray??

Marco said:

Kry ek nou eintlik koue rillings. I am man enough to admit, I would NOT be sleeping in that house! No freaking way! Should probably not share the story I read some time ago about a girl here in Oz who woke up feeling something going over her face...

In Darwin, people apparently going swimming with dogs because crocodiles would normally go for the dog first (yeah, sadly they are not kept as pets). So maybe you should find out what (and if) there is something a Cape Cobra would go for first...and sleep with that :-)

Man, my skin crawls just thinking about it! I don't know how you sleep in that house...

Marco said:

"Cape Cobras are known for their habit of entering residences to shelter from the heat. They are mainly terrestrial but do climb trees and can swim quite well. They are territorial snakes and tend to frequent the same places."

NO FREAKIN' WAY would I be sleeping in that house!

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Aunty: I'm almost willing to say that I'd take my pest over yours any day! (Check your e-mail, by the way. Unfortunately no sound (or even unsound, for that matter) advice for you! Then again... you should have known that before consulting the likes of me! There is actually some sort of poisonous repellent you can burn, but it will make the house completely uninhabitable for a few days. Look, they are pretty convinced that it IS out of the house already (that is what I have deluded myself into believing). The skin isn't that old/dried out though. (Like, from early May/late April.) Since it's winter here, they are hibernating, so I'm not digging too deep in any cupboards/closets. As for to react via flight or fight, I think in my case it will be fright. The frozen kind. Because that's how I usually react during any sort of crisis. Which might just save my life! (Apparently you're not supposed to move when encountering most snakes.) Then again, since I'm so freaking otherwise, that might be just the day that my body is inspired into wild motion.

Marco: Not helping, brave boy! ;-) After all, you grew up here. You're supposed to be telling me how you've wrangled them and sucked them up like spaghetti!

There is NO way I'd sacrifice the Lab. Would much rather sacrifice the ex boyfriend, ha ha!

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Marco, I can't believe you Googled the snake! SSSSSSTOP it! You're not helping here!!!! I'm sticking to my delu... I mean firm, unwaivering BELIEF... that he is long gone. (Possibly emigrated to Australia!) Hahaha.

Marco said:

Well, I was curious... and STILL think you're nuts. Oh don't worry, apparently 7 of the worlds 10 most poisonous snakes live in Australia. So I don't think the Cape Cobra would appreciate the competition :-)

Hahaha - sacrifice the ex-boyfriend.

The only way I would go back in that house is if it was burnt to the ground, and rebuilt.

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Marco, absolutely delighted that you view me in the same light as my family (e.g. calling me nuts). About burning down the house: thanks to Eishkom and an unexpected power outage last night, I did actually light a few candles, so it could have been done. Still, don't think my brother-in-law would appreciate returning to a pile of ashes instead of to his gorgeous house - no matter HOW questionable some of its inhabitants might be! (And I'm talking about myself here, of course, ha ha.) Trust me though, this snake must be heavily weighing on my mind, because I woke up in cold sweat in the middle of night, fresh from a nightmare that I was being strangled by several slithering snakes. (Probably karma for even suggesting that I would rather feed my ex-boyfriend to it!)

Marco said:

It's what makes you 'special' :-P

By the way, why not surround you bed with garlic? OK, I hear you say, that's for vampires. But you know, they both have fangs...same difference.

Your story gives new meaning to: Daar's 'n slang in die gras...or is it huis? :-)

OK, I know I'm not helping here. Eat LOADS of baked beans. I'm sure it will be a deterrent ;-)

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

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comments
  • Marco : It's what makes you 'special' :-P By the way, why not surround you bed with garlic? OK, I hear you ... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Marco, absolutely delighted that you view me in the same light as my family (e.g. calling me nuts). ... [go]
  • Marco : Well, I was curious... and STILL think you're nuts. Oh don't worry, apparently 7 of the worlds 10 mo... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Marco, I can't believe you Googled the snake! SSSSSSTOP it! You're not helping here!!!! I'm sticking... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Aunty: I'm almost willing to say that I'd take my pest over yours any day! (Check your e-mail, by th... [go]
  • Marco : "Cape Cobras are known for their habit of entering residences to shelter from the heat. They are mai... [go]
  • Marco : Kry ek nou eintlik koue rillings. I am man enough to admit, I would NOT be sleeping in that house! N... [go]
  • Aunty Helpful Dictator : eeep! And here was I complaining about non-poisonous milipedes.... although I too am the person who ... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Po, I certainly hope not! Since posting this last night, my skin has not stopped crawling! You must ... [go]
  • Po : Oh my woooooord! A Cape cobra! I hope they aren't into cuddling on cold nights? ... [go]
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