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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Cape Cobra Visitor

Yesterday Katie started barking just outside the doors of the Lighthouse Room - after the floods in October I moved my desk there to allow the carpet tiles in the office to dry out. Her barking was persistent, so I left my writing and went out to investigate. There, up against the fence, hood extended in defense, was a large Cape Cobra. I say large - it was larger than the one that visited a year or two back outside the scullery, probably a little over 4 feet long. KT has never, to the best of my knowledge, come face to face with a snake before, and was most inquisitive, but stayed her distance as if instinctively knowing that this strange creature could be dangerous.

I ordered Katie to back off, and the visitor went off down the driveway, past the Wild Plum by the gate, and vanished into the long grass alongside Liz's Dragon Garden. 

This specimen was not the yellow color most commonly associated with the species, but a dark brown with darker markings along its length. In fact had it not been for the extended hood I would have taken the markings as those of the night adder, a more frequent visitor. The Cape Cobra is known to be one of the most dangerous species of Cobra on the continent. Its venom is made up of neurotoxins and possibly cardiotoxins, and without an anti-venom a bite will result in death within one to ten hours. Its diet consists of small rodents, lizards, frogs, birds and other snakes. It will climb trees, and one of its favorite pastimes is to raid the nests of the Sociable Weaver.