Missionary Travels And Researches In South Africa By David Livingstone



 -   The first-named may be seen escaping danger
  with its young hanging to the after-part of its body.
 - 

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The First-Named May Be Seen Escaping Danger With Its Young Hanging To The After-Part Of Its Body. -

Wherever mice abound, serpents may be expected, for the one preys on the other.

A cat in a house is therefore a good preventive against the entrance of these noxious reptiles. Occasionally, however, notwithstanding every precaution, they do find their way in, but even the most venomous sorts bite only when put in bodily fear themselves, or when trodden upon, or when the sexes come together. I once found a coil of serpents' skins, made by a number of them twisting together in the manner described by the Druids of old. When in the country, one feels nothing of that alarm and loathing which we may experience when sitting in a comfortable English room reading about them; yet they are nasty things, and we seem to have an instinctive feeling against them. In making the door for our Mabotsa house, I happened to leave a small hole at the corner below. Early one morning a man came to call for some article I had promised. I at once went to the door, and, it being dark, trod on a serpent. The moment I felt the cold scaly skin twine round a part of my leg, my latent instinct was roused, and I jumped up higher than I ever did before or hope to do again, shaking the reptile off in the leap. I probably trod on it near the head, and so prevented it biting me, but did not stop to examine.

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