Dorothy, this isn’t Kansas…This is Africa…Python in a car!…

Last night, as we often do on Fridays, we headed to Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for dinner, arriving a few hours earlier to enjoy social time at the bar. With Covid-19 currently non-existent in Marloth Park, it feels safe to socialize with the locals. Last night proved to be an exciting evening, not only from the lively banter but from running into our friends Patty Pan and her husband Sydney, a lovely couple we’ve thoroughly enjoyed over the years.

We all sat at the bar commiserating over our wildlife sightings and events of the week, but nothing could stop the story Patty Pan had to tell and subsequently share in photos and videos on her phone. Tom and I couldn’t have been more excited to see her exciting videos and photos, some of which we’re sharing here today, with her permission, of course.

Python under hood #1

Where to begin? Patty Pan explained that she noticed several mongooses hanging around her driveway underneath her car a few weeks ago. No doubt, they were making their little chirping sounds, making Patty wonder what was going on. She looked under the car but didn’t find a thing. Sometimes nature throws a curveball, and we can’t easily figure out what is going on.

Inevitably, in time, the “reasons why” will pop up before our eyes, and we are astounded by the wonders Mother Nature presents to us, humans. And that’s exactly what happened to Patty. Several days later, the attendant lifted the hood (the bonnet, here in South Africa) and shouted, “SNAKE!” immediately slamming down the hood in sheer terror.

Python under hood #2

A commotion ensued as Patty Pan, the attendant, and a few onlookers were excited by this outrageous and once-in-a-lifetime sighting. Patty Pan, a highly regarded, experienced, and knowledgeable Honorary Ranger, didn’t panic. If she’d had the proper equipment with her, she could have readily removed the massive python from under her hood.

Immediately, she contacted Nadine, another Honorary Ranger and trained snake handler, to come to the petrol station, bringing her tongs and a bucket to place the snake in once it was retrieved. In a matter of minutes,  In no time at all, Nadine arrived, captured the snake, and carefully placed it in a proper snake container.

Python under hood #3.

The python was returned to the bush in Marloth Park, its natural habitat. It was adequately rescued and allowed to continue its life as one of the many in this exquisite wildlife-rich environment. What a story Patty Pan (and that petrol station attendant) will have to tell for years to come, let alone the incredible stories she’s accumulated over the years.

We couldn’t be more appreciative and thrilled that Patty Pan was willing to share her video and photo with us to share with all of you today. First thing, this morning, I uploaded the video on YouTube, the social media platform we use to upload videos to our site.

If the video appeals to you, please forward the link (click on the video, and the link will appear) to your friends and family, and let’s see how many hits we can get. Surely, this could result in a viral response.

So, as we say in the heading with the Wizard of Oz in mind, “Dorothy, this isn’t Kansas. This is Africa!” and this, dear readers, is what happens here!

Photo from one year ago today, May 8, 2020:

Where else in the world could you get a photo like this of a giraffe, taken in Marloth Park in 2019? Only Marloth Park offers such wonders daily, often referred to as “Paradise on Earth.” For more photos, please click here.

Reptiles from Kenya…Snakes and more…Phython for Tom…See the photos!…

This African Chameleon, variety unknown, is winking her/his left eye for the photo! Neither of us hesitated to handle this non-poisonous creature.Check out the funny little mouth!
On Wednesday afternoon, an enthusiastic resort staff person approached us while on our chaise lounges inviting us to a show at 5:30 pm by the pool, a reptile show. Let’s face it. We love wildlife, so I suppose reptiles fall into that category.   With neither of us squeamish about reptiles, provided they aren’t poisonous, we couldn’t wait for the show.
Arriving promptly, we grabbed the best seats available while waiting for the other guests to arrive. The looks on the faces of many of the approximate 15 guests were as equally entertaining as the reptiles. Although, both Tom and I may have grimaced a time or two.
The two handlers were locals, most likely work only for tips while moving from resort to resort along the beach, which we gladly proffered at the end of the show, us as only one of two guests doing so. 
These harmless (to humans) reptiles have no teeth using a very fast tongue to grasp their prey, usually insects.
We were both at ease handling this harmless reptile, fascinated with its pre-historic appeal.(Yes, a visit to the Galapagos Islands is definitely in our future).
Chameleon on my leg. Its legs were sticky grasping at the fabric of my pants.

Starting out with chameleons was probably a good idea on the part of the handlers as an excellent segue to prepare everyone for the scarier reptiles, semi-poisonous snakes, and the renowned python, all of which we handled (except I avoided the python which required raising one arm up to hold it around one’s neck and my bad shoulder couldn’t handle it at this point.

This is a grass snake, non-poisonous, slithering on Tom’s arm. 
This semi-poisonous snake paralyzes its prey. If they bite a human, the area of the bite will feel numb for a few hours but poses no systemic risk. We were told to keep the head away from us while handling it. This is me holding it, as Tom took the photo.
Tom wound it around his hands, keeping the mouth at a distance.
For a small snake, this snake has a large head.
This is me holding the semi-poisonous snake, again keeping its mouth out of range for a potential non-life-threatening bite.

Here’s a link to the 5 deadliest snakes in Kenya. Yikes! I’m glad we didn’t look at this site before going on safari! Gee, when we were on a safari often “checking the tire pressure,” didn’t assume for a minute that we didn’t have to check the grass for snakes!

Tom was particularly surprised by the weight of even the smaller snakes, most likely due to their muscular strength. 

The snakes were kept in cloth bags to which they were returned after each was presented. The handlers seemed knowledgeable and very concerned for our safety, although there were few risks, other than the wild flailing of the squeamish guest’s arms.

This python posed no risk due to its small size. As it matured, growing in size, it would gain its deadly strength to squeeze the life out of its unfortunate victims.
I love this look on Tom’s face as he’s learning how to handle the python. Like an infant, the python’s head must be held up to avoid injuring it.
At last!  He’s got python handling figured out!  He couldn’t have looked more pleased! 
Close up of the python Tom handled.
With the snake show at a close, once again, we were thrilled about the experience. Going forward, we’ll watch not only the ground beneath our feet but also that which could be lurking above our heads.
Speaking of potentially scary creatures, while we were dining at The Sands at Nomad on Tuesday night, there were two women sitting across a walkway from us. I could easily see them, based on the direction I was facing.  While chomping on a chewy bite of octopus, I noticed one of the women and then the other, pointing toward my chair, hands over their mouths, with muffled screams.
I  bolted out of my seat at precisely the same moment that two male staff members went into action to kill what turned out to be a GIANT spider, frantically stomping their feet to kill it. I never saw it until after it was dead, but from the sound of the stomping and crunching, it must have been huge. It was less than a foot from me when it was sighted. 
For our three day holiday, I had packed three casual long summer dresses to wear to dinner. From that point on, I wore my BugsAway clothing to dinner with shoes and socks, never wearing the dresses in the evening. Do you blame me?