“Waaaaaah,” I yelled as I spotted the puff adder seconds before it was about to strike. With an adrenalin-enriched reflex I leapt clean off the ground and sailed through the air landing a safe distance away. My husband, who was following on the path behind me, fortunately came to an abrupt stop. His astonishment at the scene registered with a few choice words; though I’m not totally sure whether his stunned reaction was because of the athletiscm of his beloved or the raw power of the snake as it too became airborne. Having missed it’s target the momentum of the strike propelled it forward through the air. Quite a sight, I believe. And hubby kept babbling on in awe and even managed to take a few photos with his cell phone as the snake withdrew. It was a magnificent specimen; out of harm’s way I could admire it as it made off through the vegetation casting a baleful look my way.
Puff adders are ambush predators relying on camouflage to present an element of surprise to the unwary prey. Their venom is hemotoxic which destroys blood cells and can cause extensive tissue damage. I suspect that I had unwittingly startled this creature and it had acted in defense. It was a near encounter and I was rather shaken. It was a warm and sunny spring day and we had decided to walk the Kanonkop trail in the Cape of Good Hope Reserve. We still had a way to go to the end of the trail so off we set again. Around the next corner, would you believe another slithering reptile, this time a sand snake? By the time we reached the car my nerves were shot and I was gabbing away quite gibberishly. It was good to get home and settle down to a good strong cup of tea. Hubby came back in from the garden, and guess what? He’d found a baby cobra nestled in one of the pot plants…….. never a dull moment.