More things that go bump in the night

On Saturday, I was talking to my parents via skype, and giving them a tour of my place with the webcam. Proudly I told them about Simba’s heroic rat-hunting success from the previous night. As I was trying to get Simba to sit and pay attention to my parents on the computer he started barking and pacing in front of the wall again… I get one quick view of a rat tail slipping over the reed wall escaping outside. 

I tell my parents about my hesitations about using rat traps and poison, but my father insists that I do something about it. Not because it’s gross, not because they are planning on visiting and staying me in several months, but because –

Camille, if you don’t take care of your rat problem, snakes will!

“Okay Dad, I’ll do something,”  I say humoring him; not too worried, because I’ve been here for over 6 months, and I’ve yet to see a snake larger than 5 inches.  I know it’s really only a matter of time, but frankly, rats give me more of the heeby jeebies than the idea of snakes. 

The next evening, as if hearing my fathers transcontinental warning, I get a visitor. I was more shocked by the snake’s well timed appearance than by it’s actual presence, so I took a photo then went to ask the guard for advice. 

The snake was coming in through a hole between the cement foundation and the back wall, but when the guard walked up with a stick it slithered back into it’s hiding spot. As advised, I poured hot water in the hole and prepared to jump to the side, in case it came rushing at me (as with the previous night’s rat escapade).  Instead, the snake quickly slipped away into the back yard as the guard through sticks it at. 

In Mozambique, all snakes are refered to as “cobras” even if it’s a garden snake or a mamba. I still haven’t been able to identify exactly what kind it was. It was black, 14 inches longish, and about the width of 2 pencils (not much to go by). I looked up photos online, and I’m pretty sure it was not a black mamba. So if you know your Ophiology, please let me know!




Filed under Blog posts

3 responses to “More things that go bump in the night

  1. Elizabeth

    I think I’d rather take a rat over a snake any day… Nonetheless, you’re bravery in the face of so many wild creatures impresses me!

  2. margery stewart baxter

    there you are harvey! you’re ss-ss-sso ss-ss-illysss

  3. Kristina

    Hi Camille,

    Hope you don’t mind me contacting you like this! I’ve been reading your stories with amusement, all sounds great. I am about to head to Mozambique myself, to the Niassa province to begin working on a very similar project to what you are doing. I’d love to ask you loads of questions 🙂 My email is if you could give me any tips I’d be so grateful. And when I start my work perhaps we can exchange ideas? Would be great to know someone who is in Mozambique aswell before i go.

    Hope to hear from you soon.


    ps. good luck with all these beasties

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