Anyone who has lived on an oil palm or rubber plantation will tell you that snake encounters are as common as finding bugs in your rice jar (if you live in hot, humid countries anyway). One afternoon when I was about eleven, we heard our dogs barking frenziedly in the garden. Sometimes it meant they’d cornered a poor cat up a tree but more often than not, it meant they’d found a snake.
So my mother grabbed a flask of hot water (to stun) and a long rattan pole (to kill) and marched across the grass in her housecoat. My younger brother and I trailed her. No one else was home and our nearest neighbour was a kilometer away. We got to where the dogs were – an abandoned septic tank on the ground.
“Stand back!” my mother commanded.
Within seconds, an angry, hissing cobra slithered out. We watched transfixed (from a safe distance) as our mother flung hot water on it and trashed it with the pole. When it lay motionless, we inspected the bloody mess. It was quite a big one, roughly around 4 feet.
But the dogs wouldn’t stop barking. Suddenly, like a flash of lightning a second cobra flew out of the hole in the ground (it’s mate we later found out). My mother let out a primal yell (think King Leonidas of 300: This is Sparta!!) as my brother and I lurched back. Then she whacked the shit out of that snake.
My mother stands at only five feet tall but that day she had the strength of a ten foot Goliath. She calls it mother’s instincts.