Thursday, March 14, 2013

Heard on the grape. Vine!

Three days of meetings and stress. Bleuch! Local Council, Tax Department and Ministry of Education. And nothing resolved with all of them, but progress made - and no meetings today.


So - back to the comings and goings at La Rochelle. Today we had a Vine Snake - or Twig Snake, as they are also known.

Funnily enough, most continents have a snake called a vine snake - and the African Vine Snake looks like........uuuum - a vine? Or a twig.


The one we found creeping along the gutter outside the hotel was a fairly large specimen.

The Vine Snake looks exactly as you would expect - just like a vine or twig, and they have three features which can give them away. The first is a vivid green triangle on the top of their heads, the second is a vibrant orange tongue, and the third is an instinctive puffing up of the throat whenever they feel threatened, which reveals the stark coloration normally hidden under the scales.

The Vine Snake is highly venomous - and there is no, repeat NO, anti-venom available. I don't know why, (possibly because the venom is hemotoxic?) but this is a fact. Obviously this was too good a chance to pass up, and so I called Thomas the waiter to come and pose with the snake - the intention being to reduce our staff numbers slightly. Unfortunately, while the vine snake is lethal, it is also back-fanged, and needs to chew on you before it injects enough venom. So you have to be really close to the snake, or really careless.

Regrettably, Thomas was neither, and despite my assurances, kept well away from the business end of the snake. He did stick his fingers out towards the snake as instructed, but he was just way too far from it to get bitten. More's the pity!

Sooooo - having failed to reduce the Wage bill, even slightly, the only solution was to find a stick (Jalapeno on a steeeek, Senor?) and very, very carefully transport the little fellow away from the hotel and back to the bush from whence he came.

When I first put him into the tree he was fairly easy to spot - because his puffed-out throat gave him away.

But once his throat subsided, he became nearly impossible to spot. So - here he is again, this time with his throat collapsed, and looking, for all the world, like a ..... yes, you guessed it, vine! Or twig!

Have a nice day!

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