The Snake and the Snail

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So many incredible things happen to me that if I hadn’t experienced them myself, I wouldn’t have believed it!

One of these experiences happened one night on the Mikadi beach near Das es Saalam, Tanzania. First, I had found the biggest snail I ever encounter in my life, hence its name “giant African Snail”. It was next to the tent of a couple of friends who were traveling with the group.

I took it in my hands and went to show it to my traveling companions. We were a group of 25 people touring Africa in a large truck converted into a tourist bus for the Oasis agency. Our journey started in November 2012 and lasted 3 months. When I went back to leave the snail where I had found it, I heard the woman who was in the tent say that there was a snake inside!

Two things went through my mind at that moment: there are many species of poisonous snakes in the area and I didn’t know how to distinguish them, the second thing was that usually, African people hated snakes and killed them when they saw them. My decision was fast: I had to get my friend out of the tent, grab the snake and make sure the camp-site wardens didn’t kill it.

The Snake and the Snail…

I was with another animal lover friend; she wanted, in addition to aiming for the previous objectives, to make sure that the snake wouldn’t be stressed out throughout the operation! We went to look for a bucket, a stick and slowly, we pushed it in the bucket. This while trying to light up the area with a lantern and I was shouting to the others who gathered around us not to call the wardens and while I told my friend not to panic since the snake could withstand a little bit of stress!

Everything ended well; we set it free far from the camp site, we took pictures to try to identify it, and the wardens didn’t interfere.

Of course, this story is part of the trip story! Several weeks later, when I visited other places and talked to reptile specialists to whom I showed the pictures, they confirmed my suspicions: it was a brown snake, a non-venomous species.

Author: Helena Arroyo

Translation: Noëlla Moussa

The Snake and the Snail

Amelie Delobel

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