Thursday, May 21, 2009


The other day Debra knocked on our door and asked if we wanted to see our first African Cobra. I, of course, grabbed the camera, and followed her to what was at the time teacher’s housing under construction. This was the last day of construction, and just as the room was getting cleaned out, Debra moved a box and found a nice surprise….a baby cobra! Kingston, one of the boys’ over-night caregivers, was helping with the cleaning. He came to our rescue and killed the snake (these are very poisonous snakes and should not share a living space with 48 children and us). As he was taking the dead snake to our trash pit he found what he thought to be a dead mama cobra. We followed him to the pit and found a very much alive HUGE (at least 5 feet long) mama cobra in the pit.
News spread fast to the boys, who all came running with rocks in hand. Thankfully, she couldn’t get out of the pit. Apparently here, the way to kill snakes is to stone them to death. After many blows to her entire body, she was barely alive. Because snakes die so slowly, they can still attack during there last moments. Kingston took a shovel and cut off her head and carried her to her grave – the deepest hole we have here…the latrines.
On the way to the latrines, mama’s last meal fell out of a hole from one of the rocks – 2 large frogs (gross). This all was a big game to the boys – as it happens here often.

As gross as it was to watch mama and baby be killed, it needs to be done for the safety of everyone here. Debra said she once found a snake with a baby goat in its stomach. These snakes really are massive!

This picture is mama while she was still alive and angry – you can see her flaring her hood. This picture doesn’t even show how massive she was, her widest part was about 6 inches in diameter, and at least 5 feet long!


  1. I bet that was awesome to experience! I love hearing about stuff like that but I would not have been so brave to see in person. I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to snakes but cool pic!

  2. We must be related! How many times did the neighbors in Duluth say, "There's a bear!" and I'd run inside to grab the camera. Or stampeding cattle and wild horses... Yeah. We're related. You go, Girl!! Aren't you glad you had pet snakes growing up so you wouldn't be afraid? :) Thinking about you... praying for you.... Love you always!!