Slithery predators.

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.

Beware the sluggish Puff adder, it has a quick strike and poisonous venom.
Beware the sluggish Puff adder, it has a quick strike and poisonous venom.

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.  Mfezi_DSCF3809_01




















good distance

23 thoughts on “Slithery predators.

      1. Isn’t it curious that we so ‘conditioned’? I think it goes all the way back to the primal when snakes were ‘blueprinted’ into our ‘flight’ response 🙂

  1. Wonderful picture of the puff adder. Little did I know that photography can be a lethal occupation. Well, I guess I have been around grizzlies and such. Hope you were taking these shots, like I often do, from the car.:)

    1. Thanks Oops… yep there’s a delicious dare to it all. The car is definitely a haven… but often meet these critters out hiking – take off in an adrenalin surge far faster than the snake. Those grizzlies … well they’re not to be messed with. BTW Scarface was up on a Nat Geo documentary on Yellowstone here on the box. Was thrilled to recognize him from your pix.

  2. Great serpent shots Liz!

    About twelve years ago had the misfortune of a Mozambique spitting cobra getting into the panels and air-conditioning ducts of our vehicle at Satara in the Kruger National Park… It took hours to get the snake out, and when it was finally released it was angry as hell!

  3. I’m so afraid of snakes and glad I live in a place where they don’t 🙂 But their skin is beautiful and the patterns on the puff adder are lovely. You are one brave photographer.

  4. Great shots of those snakes! I knew about the Puff, but in your photo it’s at least beautiful! I didn’t know about the spitting cobra, so now I must add another dangerous snake to my list. My big fright is spiders really – my husband has snakes, so I think I’ll show him your shots!

    1. The non-venomous tend to have a better reputation 🙂 It does add a bit of spice and to the awareness level having them around…. gardening with leather gloves, sturdy shoes… especially in thick vegetation. Generally though they will move off quickly. Inside the house is a different matter!

    1. Telephoto lens at a distance definitely an advantage… but it puts quite an edge on gardening and in all my encounters with these slithery critters i’ve never mastered staying calm. The adrenalin rush sees me leaping away like a bounding deer.

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