An English In Kentucky


















Tuesday May 13th 2014  Tim Candler


      Not  a big expert on The Snake, and they kind of creep me out. But I do know Black Mamba's from the old days. Mind you when you're something like nine and at a boarding school on the slopes of the Elgon Caldera, pretty much everything that slithers on it's belly could be a Black Mamba, because at the age of nine it's very important to keep seven and eight  year olds in a state of constant trepidation. And the Snake I saw yesterday, eyeing the nest of a Chipping Sparrow, was a dull black, almost charcoal, could have been that olive green. It had a whitish tummy and it didn't look in the least nervous or shy, and it had a small head and it was almost as long as the long shovel handle. But unlike The Black Snake or the Rat Snake, which is kind of a gentleman Snake, kind of shiny, slow moving, probably enjoys the odd toddy in the evening, this Snake was very fast moving, highly excitable and to my mind kind of aggressive and self centered. In every respects it resembled a young Black Mamba, because had he been an adult Black Mamba he'd have easily been two long shovel handle lengths.

     Here in the USA we don't have Black Mamba's, but sometimes you hear stories about escaped exotic Pythons down there where the rich old people go to die, and if a person is just in a little bit of a panic, and Chipping Sparrows are being considerably braver than he is, a mind can jump to the excuse that maybe some local collector of exotic Snakes had lost his Black Mamba, and around here we do get the odd Snake Worshiper, so this is not a radical thought for a person to have.  Luckily I had a very long stick and was able to feel a little bit safe.  Of the two chicks,  the chipping Sparrows and I managed to save one.  The little thing not yet able to fly, hopped off into the grass.  The Snake had the other chick in its mouth.  Our eyes locked, and had he been a Black Mamba, odds are I'd be once again cursing the local ordinances for outlawing the Zoroastrian tradition of funerals.  Either way, the Snake dropped the Chipping Sparrow's chick, the chick was stone dead, his flight feathers a good few days off, that wonderful experience never to be for him.  But I was able to chase the Snake toward the slope. And My God he could move fast. So I guess he might have been what they call "A Black Racer."  The Chipping Sparrows did their stuff, they didn't linger and mourn, they fed their remaining child. The sooner he can fly the safer he'll be. Me, I was great deal less reasonable.



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