A Tree Snake Astray

And other summer nature notes from South Africa’s Cape Peninsula

Zoë Poulsen
Weeds & Wildflowers

--

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

“There’s a snake… in the air vent! It’s a boomslang!” Three generations of the same family, from grandmother to grandson, were standing terrified in the street outside their home.

This was the moment that I knew my lunchtime walk might be a little unusual. Summer is in full swing in Cape Town, and the warm weather has brought a slithery guest to visit them from the neighbouring Table Mountain National Park.

The boomslang, or tree snake, when its name is translated from Afrikaans, has among the most potent venoms of any snake in South Africa. They are relatively shy in nature and rarely bite, but they are definitely not a visitor you particularly want in a household air vent.

Spectacular views from Noordhoek Peak in the Silvermines section of Table Mountain National Park over towards Sun Valley, Noordhoek Beach, and Kommetjie beyond. Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: ©Zoë Chapman Poulsen.

Being extremely agile, Mr. Boomslang had climbed up a tree in the neighbour’s garden, over the wall, and up the drainpipe into a bird’s nest in the air vent.

Having polished off a nest full of baby birds for lunch, it became clear that climbing down was not as easy as climbing up into the air vent. We could see Mr Boomslang poking his head out of the vent, but no…

--

--

Zoë Poulsen
Weeds & Wildflowers

Botanist, freelance writer and conservationist based in Cape Town at the heart of South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region. https://www.capetownbotanist.com