Spitting cobra... The mere mention of the name brings fear to the hearts of bush lovers and those who make the bush their home.
This specimen, a Mozambican Spitting Cobra, Naja Mosambica, caused a bit of a stir itself! Timid by nature, but also inquisitive and not at all reluctant to come into close contact with humans, this snake was found on route into the office building on Kaingo Game Reserve.
After a few bruised knees (I had to scale the outside wall and gather the snake handling equipment which, conveniently, was stacked in the office closest to the snake), I managed to subdue and remove it from the office building.
Danielle (administration) was the quick thinker and ran for the office dustbin to fill the role of a makeshift container to relocate Mr Cobra. Working very carefully with the snake catching tongs and snake hook, I carefully lowered the very angry snake into the dustbin, droplets of venom glistening on my protective glasses.
On Kaingo, we do not believe in needlessly killing any animal, even if it does pose a potential threat to us. We are trained to remove such animals with as little stress to the animal as possible, and this was no exception.
Safely in the temporary confines of the dustbin, the snake settled down quietly. We loaded the container on a Land Rover and drove to Mongoose Pan, a few kilometers from Elephant Lodge for release.
Initially the snake did not want to leave the dustbin, but with a bit of persuasion, it slid out. We followed at a safe distance, to make sure that no harm was done in the relocation. It slithered quickly through the veld, and even faster through the water at Mongoose Pan.
By the way; snakes can and do swim very well indeed.
With our Mozambican Spitting Cobra exploring its new home, it was time for a cup of coffee. A strong one... to calm the nerves.