Tropical adventures

Picture this.

It is friday after a loooooong week of work.

I am exahusted.

It is 9 pm, I am in bed and about to switch off the light. I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Frank has just taken Kika for the last wee for the night.

In the haze of sleepiness I hear, in a galaxy faaaaar faaaaar away….

-HOLLY COW! there is a snake in the kitchen!

I do a quick brain check. Flat line. No response. Zero. Nada. So, I do what any normal person would do in these circumstances: switch off the ligth and roll around, already falling sleep.

-It is HUGE!, he adds from the kitchen.

But I can hardly hear him. I am already asleep by the time that Frank comes to the bedroom with Kika. Needless to say that I slept the entire night. Like a log.

Next morning, I woke up at 5 am with the howler monkeys. It is my turn to feed Kika, so I leave the room silently trying not to wake up Frank…

-Careful with the snake, he mumbles.

Suddenly reality kicks in. Snake. Huge. Kitchen.

Kika and I enter the kitchen veeeeeery slowly.

It is hard to miss. A snake uncoils from the roof beam and looks at me directly in the eye. I feel like Mowgli in the Jungle book.

Kaa looks at Mowgli in the eye. From Disney’s version of the Jungle book.

She has a VERY triangular head – which we think is a property of venomous snakes -.

She sticks her tongue out to smell us. I freeze.

Apparently neither me nor Kika are a menace. So she coils back and returns to sleep.

Kika, completely ignores the situation and wigs her tail in front of me. She wants to eat and she wants it now. So I move around the kitchen veeeery slowly and silently preparing the food. The snake does not move an inch. We leave the kitchen as slowly and as silently as we came in.

We do not know what to do. Some time later, we call the owner of the house. She recommends to hit with a broom the wood close to the snake, and in the opposite side of where we want the snake to go.

-“If she does not move, she adds, it is because she has eaten. In that case s(he) will not move for days”.

Excellent. Just the kind of news that one that has a large snake in the kitchen wants to hear.

-“In that case, she continues, I would call the Jaguar Rescue Center. They come and pick her up for you”.

Frank and I get our act together and, with a broom, we start hitting the ceiling beside the place where the snake is happily sleeping. First very softly and then, as we have no response, we hit harder and harder.

The snake does not budge.

Conclusion: she has eaten.

It is only then that we notice that there is some gray hair on the sink underneath the place where the snake is happily sleeping.

Ah! THE rat – we say at the same time.

We have been monitoring with the camera trap the incursions of a rat in the kitchen at night. We have been closing the openings where s(he) came in and out and locking all food away but s(he) would still come in for a stroll in the kitchen every now and then. Apparently, that problem is no more. Yeiiiiiiiiiii!

Ten o’clock. The snake has not moved at all, despite us preparing the breakfast in the kitchen. We finally call the Jaguar Rescue Center. In less than half hour they are here. It is actually a friend from our volunteer work at the center in 2020 who responds to the call. It is nice to see him!

Our slithering visitor is a rare ringed boa. Non-venomous. Apparently the triangular head is not a sign at all of the toxicity of the snake – that is, we learnt that not all snakes with a triangular head are venomous. Also, venomous snakes rarely measure more than a meter, we are told. Our visitor (and pest exterminator) is a meter and a half.

Some minutes later, the boa (with the rat) are finally out of the kitchen on its way to a forest with less houses. I feel relieved.

-I am gonna miss her – Frank mumbles behind me…

No comment. 😉

From left to right, clockwise. Upper left, the snake entering the kitchen at night. Our happy sleeper the next morning. And the rescue.


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