There’s nothing like a close-up snake encounter to get the heart rate up. Maybe it’s a primordial response, this surge of adrenalin and a state of flight. Though i have a fascination for these sinuous creatures, i like to keep a good distance. A resident Cape cobra lives on the hillside adjoining the neighbouring properties and every now and then it makes an appearance: an elegant, golden creature close on 2 meters in length. It serves a useful purpose in keeping the rodent numbers down and occasionally it will take a small rock hyrax. While the cobra is shy and retiring, another species gets our cautious attention – the puff adder which has a sluggish and dangerous reputation.
The next is a favourite in the garden – the harmless mole snake:
The last is possibly the most dangerous – a Mozambique spitting cobra (found in the Lowveld (Mpumalanga). We were lucky that it was crossing the road and quickly disappeared into the bush as it is one of the most agile of snakes with the ability to rear up to half it’s height and has a 3m spitting distance. It aims for the eyes and the toxic venom is lethal. If the venom penetrates the eyes, it can cause blindness. Best to step out of the way and let this one pass on by.