“Mamma, kom! Daar is ‘n slang!” Alex yelled as he came running into the house. Little Jack was hot on his heels, he was also pointing at something and saying slang…They had been playing outside with my cousin’s children, who were visiting us all the way from Holland.
My cousin’s youngest is called Mees. He is thirteen years old and loves all animals. He told me he thought it was a pofadder. We have had some really cold mornings this past week and I didn’t think there would be any snakes active this time of the year, but I was clearly mistaken. Because at the side of the house, pressed up against the wall and barely visible because of it’s incredible camouflage was indeed a little pofadder!
I asked my cousins daughter to take the boys inside. I never take chances with them and snakes. Much safer to have them watch the snake from the living room window.
Ok…. So now what? As always when we have dangerous critters around the house, Steven was on trail. So he could not help me catch the pofadder.
As I was standing there, contemplating getting my trusted broom (mmm, could I just sweep the snake out of the garden, the same way I sweep scorpions and other critters out of the house?? I wonder…), I saw my neighbour in her garden. Between our two big Kruger gardens, we have found a few pofadders in the past months. One of which almost killed her dog! (Read: Help! A snake bit the dog!)
I asked my neighbour if she maybe had a snake handling kit and told her about the little pofadder the boys found. “I do, I am coming!” She said, much to my relief. In the meantime my cousin and her family could have a good look at the snake. It was the first time in Africa for her husband and their three children, and during their days with us they were treated to a couple of very ‘wild’ experiences: from elephants trying to break and enter our yard, sleeping in Stevens Trails Camp to now a venomous snake in our garden.
My neighbour arrived witch a snake hook, a big bucket and… a broom! (lol, I guess I am not the only one whose broom is their go-to critter tool of choice) We quickly made a plan. I went to get a big Tupperware with a clip-on lid and put that on it’s side. With a few swift, but gentle sweeps in order not to hurt the snake, my neighbour moved the snake into the Tupperware. With the head of the broom still inside, I got the lid in position and once the broom was out, clipped the lid shut. Snake safe inside the Tupperware! Done and dusted in two minutes! Girl power I say!
After Dani, our Honorary Ranger friend, caught the big pofadder that bit my neighbour’s dog, I let Alex and Jack have a look at the snake. And I am so glad I did! Because that was the perfect opportunity to explained to them that they cannot touch any snakes and that they must always come and call me should they see one in the garden. And that is exactly what they did! I am so proud of them and shudder at the idea one of them could have been bitten!
So with the pofadder safely inside the Tupperware, it was time for another ‘snake lesson’. After everyone had had a good look, I walked a good distance away from the house to let the snake go.
I carefully unclipped the top and put the Tupperware down. Then using the hook, I pushed the plastic tub over onto its side. The snake came out and quickly disappeared into the undergrowth. A pofadders camouflage is truly amazing!
We have had more snake encounters in our 11 months at Malelane Gate than the four years we lived in Letaba. I think it is time for a snake handling course and my own snake handling kit. Living where we do and with Steven away from home for a week at a time, I can never be too prepared.
Never a dull moment in the bush!