Thursday, September 4, 2008

Meeting A Neighbour


The weather here has finally gone from being blast furnace hot to just pretty warm and we are working the horses again. Horses have a hard time cooling off so we don't work them when it's too hot. Yesterday a friend of mine and three of the grooms went out for a ride in the desert and met one of our neighbours, a juvenile Egyptian cobra only about 15 cm long. The horses, despite people thinking that they are instinctively afraid of snakes, didn't even notice it and had to be guided around it. I suspect that my grooms, most of whom are afraid of snakes, were VERY happy to be on horseback and at least a meter or so above the young snake. The snake was not at all happy to suddenly be surrounded by large creatures and flared its little hood trying to look scary. I quite like snakes as a rule, though I'm not stupid and wouldn't dream of befriending a cobra, so I just took a couple of photos and we moved on. This is only the second cobra I've seen in Egypt in 20 years and I strongly suspect that this youngster was lost. Most of the cobras prefer to be near the canals where they hunt frogs for food. Not much to eat in the desert, though it was probably a good place to hatch eggs in the warm sand.

8 comments:

Sharon said...

What a scary encounter. And judging from the picture, you have to be very observant to see one of these in the sand. I love watching your site. You live in a fascinating place.

Dina said...

Wow, glad you saw it first.
Can I send you my neighbor, the mongoose? They are said to eat cobras.

Abid said...

Scary moment!

D.C. Confidential said...

Snakes. Yuck. I have to echo Sharon's comment: you really have to look to see that little reptile. You're wise to steer clear!

Dina said...

Hello, I would have been very scared of that cobra . Heat is part of our country too, however a couple of nights ago we had a thunderstorm, come and see the photo I have posted today if you like.

Tootie said...

I'm finding this quite educational! You talk about working the horses, now I have to go back further to find out what work they do. :-)

xeper said...

Do you happen to have a picture (by yourself or from another source) of a "Diib" (Egyptian wolf or Egyptian jackal)? Even wikipedia dont http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Wolf and I would really appreciate one. Thanks

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani said...

I have a photo of one that was taken not far from the Giza plateau by a friend who was out riding there. The Egyptian wolf is a timid creature so most of us try to protect them. I'll search my external drive for it. Having some computer problems these days.

Unfortunately fear of animals is so drummed into the local population that they kill anything that moves practically. I've made it a firing offense to kill snakes and geckos at the farm because most of the snakes in Egypt are nonpoisonous and the geckos are useful predators. But there is a folk non-wisdom that they spit poison in the salt here.