Excuse me waiter, but there’s a snake in my soup!
Most people don’t pee on snakes like I do. They tend to leave them alone. Or if they live in a country where a snake bite can kill you more quickly than you can say, “I’ve been bitten!” then the inhabitants are trained from birth to kill them (the snakes, not the people shouting “I’ve been bitten.”)
Such was the case in China. Many a time the shout would be heard, “Snake!” and people would rush out of their classrooms with sticks to chase the snake away.
But not all snakes managed to escape — as this unfortunate story goes to show…
When I lived in China, I had the upstairs flat; the other VSO volunteer lived downstairs and also on the ground floor was a room housing our two interpreters.
One night as I was dozing in the heavy, drowsy heat of summer, I heard a terrible shouting.
I rushed downstairs to the interpreters’ room just in time to see an enormous green tree python snaking its way in through the window.
Pythons are not poisonous, so together with the girls’ boyfriends, we took brooms and chased the snake out of the door and outside.
Where we hoped it would do the sensible thing and find another shady tree to lie in.
I went upstairs and fell asleep.
The loudspeakers woke me up, as usual, at 5 am and I groggily jogged downstairs to go to the university sports arena to do early morning exercises with my students.
Imagine my surprise when the sight of a fat green python greeted me at the bottom of the stairs!
I almost died of fright until I realized that the snake already had (died, that is).
Apparently, it had decided to slither back into the room – under the door – and got very aggressive when it got stuck and the boys had killed it. (Somehow, I managed to sleep through all the screaming that accompanied this event…)
After teaching morning lessons, my eager students returned to the flat with me as they all knew that there was a surprise waiting for me in the fridge. (A huge luxury, I know, and one that worked as long as we had electricity – which wasn’t very often.)
I opened the fridge and there, in my honour (after all, I was called Plofessor Peony by my students) was the skeleton of the python curled up in its own fat. Just heat it up and it would be snake soup, I was told.
Not my cup of tea soup, so I invited my students to lunch.
And before you could say, “I’ve been bitten!” they had polished off the entire contents of that bowl… well, apart from the skeleton, of course.
More animal stories over at Camera Critters.