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Love Where You Live

MAY
2024

 

When you hale from the verdant and tropical province of Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa, you are no stranger to snakes.  In my childhood, snakes were ever present, lingering on the outskirts of gardens, often seen slithering across a road or causing playgrounds to be evacuated to the safety of classrooms.

I have seen my Yorkshire-born, non-athletic mother scale a stable-style half door when a rather battered snake fell onto her feet from her washing machine. I have seen a python basking in the sun with a swollen belly from a recently ingested animal. I have seen a black mamba crossing a country road at lightening speed, its head raised like a whip. I have even assisted, by pushing, what is believed to be a cobra that was stuck between 2 slats in a garden wall. I have seen many of these scaly reptiles, usually dead, as they were mostly lethal and were often slaughtered by gardeners and farmers, who had an abundance in the sugarcane fields.

However, I have never seen so many snakes as I have encountered on Vancouver Island.  We have an abundance of these reptiles in the forest adjacent to our home, or there is a very unfortunate snake, believed to be a common garter snake, which gets caught repeatedly by my cat, Louis. I believe it is the same snake, because each time it is brought home as a gift and dropped on my kitchen floor, it has another nick on its tail or another scar on its back. It is severely traumatised, catatonic (excuse the pun) and paralysed with fear, until I scoop it up in a dustpan and throw it back over the fence into the forest … until the next day. Poor thing to be the object of my cat’s affection … to be played with ruthlessly. Louis, however, believes he is the king of the jungle and I don’t think he knows it’s the same, slightly injured snake with PTCD (Post Traumatic Cat Disorder) that he keeps on conquering.

Tree photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

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