As most of you probably know (thanks to facebook), we saw a snake this past weekend. It was my first snake-sighting in southern Africa, and I think it was my first venomous snake sighting ever.
I didn't even see very much of it either. Here's the story Dan didn't tell on facebook.
We went to the Botswana Botanical Garden here in Gaborone. It's small and not very exciting. There were a bunch of cute monkeys running around and wrestling that were fun to watch. Some of the plants and trees were labeled so we learned a few names of native plants.
We decided to stroll down the paved path and see what there was to see. Edwin ran ahead in front of us. I was carrying Elena in the moby wrap and Dan was pushing the empty stroller. Suddenly we heard some rustling to our left and there was a snake slithering off a rock into the leaves. It wasn't very close to us, but it was close enough - and sudden enough - to make my heart start racing. We told Edwin he needed to come back to where we were and ride in the stroller at that point. I still can't believe we hadn't even thought about the possibility of snakes being near the path.
After that we continued walking along the path (no, we didn't turn around - are we crazy?!). I would stomp my feet so that any snakes ahead would feel the vibration and leave. Thankfully, most snakes don't want to come into contact with people and they'll leave if they sense some one coming. (However, some one told me today that puff adders are not that way. They'll stay put.)
We didn't see any more snakes and we made it back to where the buildings were. After watching the monkeys a bit more and looking at the 4 stuffed animals (two birds, a crocodile and a buck of some sort) in the "museum", Dan decided he wanted to stroll back down the path and see if he'd catch sight of the snake again. The kids and I didn't go with him (although I would've gone if we hadn't had the kids with us).
Voila! He saw the snake near the path and got to watch it slither across to the other side. Since then he's spent some time online trying to identify it. At this point, he thinks it's a cobra, partly because of the black band near it's head.
I don't mind snakes in general, but when I know that they can kill me (or Dan or the kids) with their venom, then I'm happy to not see them. I must admit, however, there is a part of me that is thrilled by the fact that I saw a snake here. Since we weren't in any direct harm, I can contentedly add it to my list of exciting animals (and reptiles) that I've seen in southern Africa.