Friday, February 18, 2011

Snakes on a Plain

January was a particularly rainy month. It watered all the crops and the desert landscape all around suddenly burst forth with green plants everywhere. There was so much rain that the grass grew to well over a meter high in many places. As a way to provide a little income, the city council hired people to cut down the grass. All over town, there are people with long machetes and tools that look like sling blades chopping down all the grass.

With all the grass being chopped down, the animals that make it home suddenly are scared off and have to look for other places to hide. This includes snakes.

I saw a snake (that I think is this one) on my way home from work yesterday. It made my heart skip a beat. There are about a half dozen poisonous snakes here, including cobras and the black mamba. I had just mentioned to my mom the week before (after she saw a black mamba at a Nature Center) that I had not seen a snake and wasn't scared of them. Turns out I was wrong.

Now I can tell you that snakes give me the willies. The one I saw quickly slithered away but I still felt weak in the knees as I walked by. I quickly looked through pictures when I got back to work to try to identify it and see if it was dangerous. The Western Yellow Bellied Sand Snake is only semi-poisonous and primarily eats lizards and small mammals.

Now I almost expect to see snakes in the tall grass along my way to work. Let’s hope I don't run into any more for a while.

Photo courtesy of