An Uninvited Guest


Warning ophidiophobes: Snake pictures

 

The other evening I was cooling down under the shower, unwinding after a particularly stressful and draining day when my peaceful reverie was shattered by a piercing yell.

“COME QUICK! WHERE’S TIKKIE? WHERE’S THE CAT? AAAAAAAGH!!!”

Panicked, I threw on some clothes and rushed out of the room into the lounge, my hair still wet and full of shampoo. As I’ve mentioned before, Piet is normally a calm and placid person and to hear him in this state was quite alarming.

He was standing on the far side of the room, wordlessly gesticulating towards the kitchen counter which was piled high with foodstuff rescued from the rats in the storage cupboard (this year has been a bumper season for rats – our storage cupboard had been turned into a Rat Hotel and we were beginning to feel like nothing belonged to us any more).

As I moved towards the kitchen he frantically motioned for me to not get too close, so I skirted the stove – which forms a sort of divider line between the kitchen and lounge – and joined him on the other side of the room, peering towards the counter trying to see what he was looking at.

It took a while for me to register what I saw and then I had to blink a few times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating; it seems not everyone was annoyed at the rat population explosion and someone had come in from the dark to have his dinner.

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I don’t think he was after the dog biscuits

Now where's that rat?

Now where’s that rat?

Not something I see every night in my kitchen. Thank goodness

According to the experts this is a male – you can apparently tell by the length of the tail

Once I had regained my breath I snatched up Tikkie and The Cat who had both come over to see what the commotion was about, ran back to the bedroom and shut them up in the cupboard;  that python was big enough to have me for a meal, those two would be pre-dinner snacks. Amazingly none of the other dogs took any notice – there was no barking, no warning growl – they all carried on sleeping as if nothing unusual was happening while Piet and I tiptoed around wondering what we should do next.

Although pythons are not venomous, one this size – we estimated, as best we could without getting too close, a length of about 4m and weight of 60Kg – can be very dangerous and would have either of us wrapped up in his coils in no time, and he would certainly inflict a nasty bite. We tried calling the local snake park, but being so late at night the owner was unable to round up enough men to help him with the capture (it would have needed at least 6 grown, strong men to restrain this giant).  We tried shouting but that had no effect (snakes have no ears). We tried stomping our feet – snakes ‘hear’ through vibrations on the ground – but he ignored us. And of course there was no question of killing such a beautiful, magnificent animal, even though he was trespassing in our home. So we had no option but to sit it out and hope he left in time for us to get some sleep.

Our guest seemed to be in no hurry. He sniffed around, climbed onto the counter and curled himself up to wait for dinner and at no time appeared perturbed by our presence – I would even say he was arrogant in his disinterest of us.

Let me just lie here for a few hours and wait - I have all night

Let me just lie here for a few hours and wait – I have all night

It was almost midnight (some four hours later) before this python realised there was nothing to be eaten here – the rats were strangely quiet, wisely cancelling their nightly football games in the cupboard for one evening – and he slowly started slithering onto the top of the storage cupboard, where he waited perhaps another hour before finally leaving the building.

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Imagine coming face-to-face with this fellow on a dark night

Nothing to see here

Nothing to see here

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27 thoughts on “An Uninvited Guest

  1. I’m hyperventilating just from reading this post. Snakes are my huge, irrational fear. Between him and the rats I would move out of the house immediately, probably out of the country in fact. Yikes!

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    • Piet is also an ophidiophobic – with any other snake than a python. I think it’s because it’s easily identified as non-poisonous – I was surprised and impressed at how calmly he handled the situation.
      My father is an amateur herpetologist – I grew up with all manner of snakes, lizards and frogs crawling around the place, so I don’t really fear them but I do have a healthy respect and don’t like them in my house and near my pets.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: An Undignified Evening | Tikkie of the Bushveld

  3. Never a dull moment in the African bush. And what a magnificent specimen of a python. (But dangerous, of course, to beloved pets). Very pleased he decided to make his own voluntary exit. He may not have gone far, of course !!

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  4. aaaaahahhhhhhhh that is scary! Well done on getting some of those photos – especially the one of him on the ground!
    Not sure I’d have handled it so calmly if that had arrived in my house!

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  5. What a beauty – I’m SO glad you didn’t shoot him. We have a very active snake handling group and often have updates of rescues and it sure does raise awareness about them. Lovely pics too…

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    • I am opposed to killing snakes and always try my hardest to distract Piet’s attention while I shoo them out of the door/garden.
      He is terrified of all snakes (“the only good snake is a dead snake”…) and I was surprised and relieved that he willingly left this beauty to see another day 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Not sure what I’d do if I found a snake that large. If it tried to eat one of our cats I’d have every tool from the shop and kitchen at it’s head. If the pets were safe I’d do what you did..take pictures! I live in town so I’d have called the cops. 🙂 Who would not have been to happy about the call I guarantee it.

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