Snakes from Above


12 hours after getting cobra venom in the eye

I was working and living at Badplaas Mechanical Services, the workshop was about 4km from that sorry excuse of a town. Nice view of the mountain and grasslands all around me, I was content. My room was powered from a couple of batteries and an inverter, as Eskom was broken.

Rigged above my bed was an LED light, because I do love to read at night. The building was not in a good state of repair and between the wall and the ceiling were large gaps, this did not bother me much, until one night.

I was sitting on my bed playing a computer game, very focused on it. Something brushed against my shoulder, thinking it was one of the huge moths they have there I absently slapped it away. Instant pain in my left eye! Caught only a glimpse of the Mozambique Spitting Cobra, I had just slapped, slithering under the bed.  The pain was intense; I stumbled to the bathroom and washed out my eyes.

By now the left eye was totally useless, the right not much better, as a miniscule about of venom had gotten in that eye too. My nose was a runny mess, and as I said, the pain was incredible.  There was no way I could catch that damn snake in my condition. Fortunately I had met the resident snake catcher, Geoff. Not having his number I call my friend Nick, owner of the workshop, and told him to get him here, quickly!

Soon the whole workshop was full of people; Geoff did his thing and caught the rather large snake. The people could not believe that I thought this whole situation was hilarious; I mean who the hell other than The Mexican Horse Thief has deadly snakes falling on their head while they are in bed, FFS?   The snake had come out of the ceiling and slithered along the light’s cord, falling and landing right on top of me.  I took some Grandpa Headache Powders, and chased everyone away, after thanking Geoff, of course. A bad, bad, painful night was had. The next day, the light hurt my eye; I put a patch on it. Geoff arrived with the snake and we took it into the bush next to the river and let her go.

I took one photo, not a good one at all, only excuse is I was still suffering from a lot of pain at the time. The patch came off the next day, but my vision was still blurred. For about six months after that if I was tired and did not get enough sleep my left eye would go red and weep.

Lesson learned? DO NOT slap a Mozambique Spitting Cobra.

My Guardian Angel? Hard at work, if that snake had bitten rather than spat, even my hand, I do not think I would have made the hour’s drive to the hospital. Face, neck or head bite? Would have been dead in an hour or less.


Maybe next time.


Nosce te ipsum

View the Mexican Horse Thief’s Page

Short Story



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One Response to “Snakes from Above”

  1. Wayne Bisset Says:

    Reblogged this on Section Eight Solutions.

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