Dog Kills Deadly Snake on Tanzanian Diamond Mine
Above Photo: A daily hazard on the mine – a large, deadly, black-necked spitting cobra
The below article was written on my final visit to Tanzania, which was supposed to last three days but which turned into three weeks, as I tried to firefight on local problems impeding a flotation we were planning in London.
Yes, I’m still trapped here in Tanzania – likely to be for three weeks now, and counting, when I thought I’d be here for only for a few days. Now, I like snakes, so I’m sorry this one had to die, but it’s tough in the African bush for everyone; man, woman and snake. The other day, at our Nyangwale minesite, one of my brother John’s colleagues rushed in to say that a guard dog had just had a fight with a snake. This dog, called “Bush”, looks a bit scrawny and is quite cute, but when he kicks off he knows no fear and you cannot go near him.
Fearing the worst – for the dog, that is, as it was his first ever encounter with a snake, and they are generally deadly in this part of the world, my brother rushed out to check on Bush, who appeared unhurt. Unruffled, even. My brother then went into the bush to identify the snake, and was shocked to discover it was a two-metre long deadly Black Necked Spitting Cobra.
The dog had encountered the snake in the bush. There was a stand-off, and the snake started to move away, so the dog chased after it and flipped it up in the air from behind. As the snake landed, the dog caught it midway on its body, and started vigorously shaking it, deliberately banging the snake’s head on the ground in the process. If bitten, the dog would have died immediately, and had the snake even been able to spit its poison at him (shooting range 2 metres), the dog would also have died. Eventually, after thoroughly disorienting the snake by shaking and smacking it on the ground, the dog then moved on to the head and bit through it before the snake could attack. The snake died immediately. It had been a ruthlessly clinical execution.
The odd thing was this was the first time the dog had ever fought with a snake, so I wondered how it knew to kill it so quickly and comprehensively, and not to be killed itself.
And then it was back to work for Bush, totally unperturbed by its brush with death in the bush.
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© Peter Alan Lloyd
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