Puff-adder

Puff-adder

Somewhere out there, more than a metre long puff adder.

Yesterday Shire my bull-mastiff started barking in the direction of the thicket on the other side of the fence. She wouldn’t stop and as it’s difficult to see into it, and as I’ve learnt to trust her barking I took her the long way round to investigate. She was careful, but we found nothing. I thought that she might be going on heat and that it could be a brak (mongrel) from the village of Suurbraak across the river trying his luck and that I had better keep an eye on her.

Today she started up again. She was insistent. This time the cause appeared to be in the vicinity of the vegetable garden. Her hairs at the back her neck were up as she nosed forward, and then I saw it just beyond the perimeter: long, slow and carefully moving parallel to the fence and (hopefully) towards the thicket. I got a fright and immediately instructed Shire – who was awaiting guidance – to back off. She didn’t argue; I sense, relieved. I ran for the camera and took a series of shots, including the one featured above, as it flowed languidly deeper into the thicket and out of sight.

Early warning system

Now I know that Shire is aware of the snake and, hopefully, knows, from my response, to be wary. Now that I know it’s out there I am also glad that the farm has an early warning system and why Matt (my son) and his spouse, Sasha, have the dogs: Bundu, Shire’s brother and Kofi, their mother, sleeping outside at night to stand guard.

And there is danger. I know it because last night I decided that Kofi must return to her spot at the back of the house to sleep with and to guard the chickens, who get locked up at night and the ducks that sleep in the open, enclosed by their perimeter fence.

What led to the decision that Kofi must return to her usual spot was most likely a warning by Matt concerning a missed chicken I reported, “Expect stock losses, particularly as Bundu is now staying with us (in Cape Town) and the dogs sleep together in the front.”

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