As we head out on our twice daily safaris with our guests, we never really know what we could encounter, the not knowing what is around the next corner is always so exciting. The thrill of tracking a leopard, and finding it, or following alarm calls to locate a coalition of male cheetah is always really special. But sometimes we have our minds truly blown – and it was a rather shy, elusive and rarely seen snake that blew us away.
Since we are in a game viewer, we don’t often encounter too many snakes, and when we do they are often slithering across the road at blistering speeds and we just catch enough of a glimpse to ID them for our guests. The mere thought of a Mozambique spitting Cobra, or notorious black mamba often has guests hair stand on end, but these snakes are misunderstood and are not out to kill, attack or chase – they are merely out to look for a small meal, or mate and are far more scared of us than we are of them.
There are far more non venomous snakes in the bush than the handful are venomous and the one that we encountered was oh-so special! To put it into perspective, at Cheetah Plains, we have only viewed this specific snake twice in four years.
The Schlegels Beaked Blind Snake is non venomous underground living snake that primarily preys on invertebrates and termites. They spend the majority of their lives underground looking for termites, and often surface after rains. They will burrow their way into active termite mounds in order to feed. As the name suggests, they have a beaked snout, and in the past we have watched in awe as it created a perfect circular hole in a termite mound.
This is not an everyday sighting, and these type of unusual sightings are so special.