Facing Down and Helping Slay a Spitting Cobra in Bali
As we dive deeper into my list of 27 of My Most Netflix Worthy Colorful Travel Experiences I want to share one of my scarier stories from the road.
“Bring the shovel! A snake got into the chicken house.”
The words rung in my ears. My heart skipped a beat.
We were house sitting at a football-field sized villa in Jimbaran, Bali. This was snake country. Not little sweet snakes either. No milquetoasts here.
We were talking spitting cobras, kraits and 16 foot pythons that regularly raided the chicken coops in the area and killed more than a few chooks. Fine dining scenario. Like a McDonald’s in the hills of Jimbaran for snakes.
I felt the sense of urgency in our co house sitter’s voice. Reinardt had grown up on a farm in South Africa. He dealt with mambas and all types of deadly creatures growing up. If he shared his concern and told me to bring a shovel this meant a venomous snake.
A deadly snake.
The hot, humid, sticky air clung to me as I sprinted to the tool shed. Sweat poured off me like a roaring rapids of Ryan within 10 seconds of Usain Bolt-ing my way to grab the shovel.
First thing I saw was a spade. Had to do. Clock was ticking, and if this venomous snake got busy, they’d be no chickens (see what I did?).
I hustled to meet Leeanne and Reinardt on the other side of the compound. Told ya it was a big place. Basically a Magnum PI place. Although I did a poor part playing the refined Higgins (he had small, neatly trimmed mustache, a sense of refinement and pleasant British accent; I had a 5 o-clock shadow, a sense of dirt bag and a rough, cawffee dawg bawl New jersey accent), and the 2 obedient lads of Zeus and Apollo where replaced by 4 unruly Bali adopted street dogs.
The snake obviously didn’t enter the coop with 35 chickens. Things dark down there. But it did raid the little coop with a mama hen and her brood.
Reinardt is shining a flash light into the cobra’s eyes. WHOA! Wait a second. A what? A cobra. A spitting cobra.
His eyes were the poster peepers of malevolence, black, insidious-looking windows to the world (the cobra’s; not Reinardt’s). He danced to and fro, aiming to get us foreigner Bali Booleys in his sights, trying to spit blinding or possibly lethal venom into our eyes.
I ask Reinardt if he needs a pair of glasses. Not to look cool as he battles the snake. But to protect his precious peepers.
Meanwhile, I see 2 stiff as a board chicks in the den. Dead as door nails, unfortunately. Mama hen is dying too, covering her remaining chicks with her wings as she nodded off into a deep sleep.
Sad as it was, this was nature in action.
I hand the spade to Reinardt as Kelli and Leanne look on. He engages in a deadly dance; I stand to one side, distracting the snake, while we shine a flashlight into his eyes to disorient the guy.
The spitting cobra dances back and forth, death waiting in its fangs, looking like the pet of a snake charmer.
Mama hen checked out. As did 2 chicks. A few remaining chickies were alive and out of the area but Reinardt noted how snakes may, after finishing their meal, relax in the area to sleep off their feast. Which would be a dangerous thing for any of us on the compound, including the staff that would arrive in the morning.
I moved in but no closer than 10 feet, to be outside the spitting cobra’s….spitting range. Reinardt got closer to the snake. WAY too close for me (I did say “helped” slay in the post title). But he had mamba murdering experience. I had yet to become the great dispatcher of deadly critters I’d be 2 years later, evicting scorpions and centipedes and facing down bird-eating Thai tarantulas in the hills around Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Reinardt blitzed the snake as it was cornered and looking in the opposite direction. He dispatched of the spitting cobra by decapitating the predator.
As much as I love living in harmony with nature I breathed a sigh of relief. The only other safe option would have been to call a snake catcher on Bali but the time it’d would have taken them to reach this remote section of the Bukit that late at night could have meant the snake would have disappeared into the jungle.
Swarms of tiny, ravenous ants began to blanket the dead cobra, mama chicken and chicks while the surviving chickis – and humans – went to their respective houses and retired for the night.
But we will never forget the night where we faced down and slayed one of the world’s most lethal predators.
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