The Massage That Killed The Mamba
Snakes were a part of daily life in Karamoja. This remote corner of Uganda is filled with beauty and danger. But this particular year had seen an influx of rats followed by snakes trying to eat said rats.
A few months earlier, while the local people were burning their fields preparing for planting, a fire got out of control and crept all the way to the fence of our compound. We put it out before it did too much damage, but there was a hidden danger that we knew nothing about at the time.
As the fire raged in the fields, both rats and snakes fled the intense heat and flames, looking for a safe place. Evidently, our 4 acre compound with abundant hiding places fit the bill. So we had an insane population of critters that year.
I put a bounty on rats, telling my workers that I would pay them for every rat they killed. These rats made the entire compound a hunting ground for dangerous snakes, and we had kids running around.
As my staff handled the rats, I took the lead on the snake population. Locals killed all snakes, no matter if they were dangerous or not. I wanted to leave the non-venomous snakes to help with the rat population while ridding the compound of venomous snakes (for the safety of the residents).
I kept a garden hoe by my door, and when someone would see a snake, they would come to get me. If the snake posed a threat, I’d kill that sucker and throw its severed head into the long drop.
We killed 3–5 snakes a week for several months. Green Mambas, Black Mambas, Spitting Cobras, Puff Adders & the other varied species.
But one Green Mamba stands out above the rest.
One lazy Saturday morning, I was still in my pajama pants, relaxing in my room. Suddenly, I heard screams and hurried excitement outside, so I rushed to the door. Sure enough, there was a green mamba slithering along a retaining wall just 10 feet from my front door. I reached for my trusty garden hoe. But it was gone; someone was using it in the garden. Rude.
So I pinned the snake to the ground with my walking stick. As it lashed out and tried to strike anything within reach, I called for my wife to bring my knife. I usually carry a pocket knife in my pants, but only a psycho keeps a pocket knife in their pajamas.
She is franticly looking for something but is having no luck. (For some reason, she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her kitchen cutlery.) She screams, “All I can find is a pair of scissors!” The mamba was starting to wiggle free from his position, so I told her to bring them.
To my surprise, she brought out a pair of pink and yellow child-proof scissors. As she placed them in my free hand, I looked at her like, ‘What am I supposed to do with these?!’
Others were also laughing at my less than menacing weapon. So I decided to give it a try. I slid the child-proof scissors behind the head of this venomous beast and proceeded to scissor his neck to death. Which is not as easy as it sounds.
At first, the snake looked relieved, like he was getting his first neck massage. But after 20 minutes of deep tissue treatment, that critter’s head popped off.
In life, using the proper tools is essential, but rugged determination wins the day every time.