Treasure Island

Gert Strydom

(03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Encounter with a Rinkhals


It was lying on the ground
turned on its back
with its black-brown
body shining and mouth agape
and looked like dead
and I could see
yellow-white bands ringing
the top of its torso.

Still something in that lifeless
ring necked spitting cobra
scared the living daylight
out of me
and like a lightning bolt
the death-shamming snake
shot upright spreading its hood
and hissing loudly.

Luck was on my side
when that evil reptile
spat at my eyes
and its venimous spray
splattered my glasses.

One moment it looked dead
and the next
it was viciously alive
and struck out at me,
but missed me by a mile.


[Reference: “The Rinkhals also called the Ringhals or Ring-necked Spitting Cobra (Hemachatus haemachatus) is a venomous elapid found in parts of southern Africa. It is one of a group of cobras that has developed the ability to spit venom as a defence mechanism.” Wikipedia.]

Submitted: Thursday, November 12, 2009
Edited: Monday, November 16, 2009
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