Animal documentaries used to be my thing. I especially loved those snake documentaries on NatGeo Wild. That is where I lost my fear of snakes. Forgot Hollywood movies like ‘Anaconda’, the fact is, most snakes are more scared of us than we know.
Any smart snake would not be caught dead in a place where humans hang out a lot. That is one reason most of them come out at night to hunt for prey. The main reason, though, is that snakes are largely nocturnal hunters.
So, because of several hours of NatGeo Wild documentaries, I was able to kill a snake that was unfortunate to cross my path.
This is how it happened.
I was on my bed, around 10 pm or thereabouts, thinking the sort of things guys mull about while waiting for sleep to overcome me. Then I decided to take a piss first. Not because I was pressed, but because I hate waking up in the middle of the night to do it.
For some reason, I opted to pick up my torch. Normally I go outside to urinate without a torch. Thinking about it later, I think that snake was destined to be killed that day. It must have annoyed some ‘snake god‘; if there is such a thing as that.
Anyway, I went outside to the back of my one room apartment. I headed to the usual spot I always relieve myself when I feel like doing it outside at night.
For some reason, I pointed my flashlight at a particular spot near where I was standing. A movement caught my eye. I stopped unzipping my fly to focus on that movement. The snake, which was startled by the light from the torch, was trying to move away from it.
Every single thought of taking a piss disappeared as I focus on the reptile. And no, my heart wasn’t racing with fear or tension. I was calm and fascinated by it.
It wasn’t moving fast so it was easy to track it with the light from the torch. You could see it was trying to escape the glare of the light. But I stuck resolutely to it.
At this point killing it was the last thing on my mind. I simply wanted to see where it would head to. There were some thick bushes and many uncompleted buildings in the area. So snakes were sort of common in the area.
But this was the first time I would see one up close and in my backyard.
When the snake discovered it couldn’t escape the light, it turned around and began to head towards me. The first thought that entered my mind was the snake had decided to take out whatever controlled that light. I could understand that.
I wonder how those NatGeo documentary makers would have tried to explain the snake’s behavior at this point. What was it thinking as it was coming towards me?
I think it is part of the arrogance of humans that some of us (animal scientists) would confidently explain animal behavior. I mean, these people are so sure of themselves that they claim to know what animals are thinking and planning to do at any time.
Anyway, while the snake was moving towards me, I was also moving backward. I made sure the distance between us remained unchanged and the light never left it.
It was fascinating watching it come towards me. I loved the way the body undulated lazily in about two, almost perfect s-shaped coils.
The snake wasn’t long. It was about the length of my arm from my shoulder blade to the tip of my middle finger. It was thick though, especially around the middle as if it was carrying a pregnancy.
Under the light from the torch, it didn’t look like all the common snakes I have seen in pictures or the ones other people have killed. It was light grey; some would call it milky with some back markings along the length of the body. Maybe it was an albino snake.
Close to my veranda was a raised concrete platform about 3 feet high. Drums of water are usually kept on it. When I reached the platform I stopped moving. The snake kept coming.
Did I mention that some vindictive snake god must have decided to end the snake’s life that night? Well, it was at this point the thought entered my head that I should kill the snake.
I quickly looked down for a weapon. Behold, just like in the movies where a weapon would be conveniently waiting for the hero to use, a stone was just waiting by my right foot on the ground.
I picked it up. All this took about two seconds.
If the stone wasn’t there, I think I would have climbed the slab of concrete to safety. There was no way the snake would get me up there. That was plan B.
With the torch in my left hand pointed at the snake and the rock in my right hand, I quickly ran through my options.
Hurling the rock at the snake was out of the question. What if I missed?
Waiting for it to come too close was also out. I don’t care what NatGeo Wild said about 75% of snakes not being venomous. This one could be in that critical 25% bracket.
I didn’t know what dropped the idea into my head. But what I did proved very effective.
I stretched my right arm towards the snake with the stone in my fist. When it came directly under the stone, I simply opened my fist and allowed the stone to drop on the snake.
The stone landed flushed on the snake’s head and pinned it to the ground. See, I told you the snake was destined to die that night. How lucky can one get?
That single blow was enough to kill it. I watched as it writhed furiously for some time.
Again, I wondered what it was thinking as it slowly expired there. I’m sure the animal documentary makers would have had something smart to say.
After about 10 minutes, the snake stopped moving. It was dead.
I left it there. I planned to deal with the dead carcass the next morning. Maybe bury it in some shallow grave.
But somebody or something saved me that bother. The snake wasn’t there by the time I came back to the scene of the murder in the morning.
Maybe, the snake god had better ideas what to do with it.