As I stepped out our front door I heard a strange “whirring” sound, kind of like a long necklace was slipping over a metal shelf. I stepped away from the sound and looked around. There was a snake poised to strike, at my head level, and the end of his tail was vibrating wildly against the metal shelf he was lying on.
My body catapulted into “fight or flight” mode as my heart rate leapt from 60 to 140. I managed to stay in control of myself and stared at the snake, wondering what to do. We stared at each other. I could sense it had an attitude. Maybe he thought this was a turf war? He definitely looked like he was going to jump at me. I decided to catch the snake to show the girls when they get home.
Some boys were playing soccer nearby. They were eager to help. They were all convinced this was a very poisonous snake, the kind that kills people. We armed ourselves with shovels, hoes and sticks. I was going to put it in a tub but I couldn’t pin it down. Then he started lunging at us. He was over 7 feet long (2m 20cm). He could jump a surprisingly long way. And he was fast at regrouping. He struck my jeans with one lunge, and just missed another kid with another. I gave the permission.
We all stared at the snake for awhile, still flipping around but with a severely broken neck.
Then I had a good idea. “Let’s bury it in that hole. It will become fertilizer for the mango tree I am going to plant there.”
“Oh no, you have to burn it.”
“Otherwise it will come back.”
“And it will bring it’s mom back with it.”
“Yep. It will bring it’s mom back.”
They all nodded their heads, looking at me with wonder for not knowing such an obvious fact.
“And the mom will bring other snakes. This place will become over run with snakes. You don’t want that.”
We all considered that grave possibility, looking around the yard to see if it might be happening already.
“You have to burn it to get rid of it’s smell, so it’s mom won’t be able to find it.”
I gave in again.
These boys are very proud to be able to help a dense foreigner like me in areas like this where they are experts and I am the learner. I look forward to they day they are the missionaries.
It turns out this is one of the killer snakes of the Amazon. I was glad it didn’t strike me on the head as I walked out the door. And I really don’t want to meet it’s mom!