Missionary Travels And Researches In South Africa By David Livingstone



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Some of the serpents are particularly venomous.  One was killed at Kolobeng
of a dark brown, nearly black color, 8 - Page 230
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Some Of The Serpents Are Particularly Venomous.

One was killed at Kolobeng of a dark brown, nearly black color, 8 feet 3 inches long. This species

(Picakholu) is so copiously supplied with poison that, when a number of dogs attack it, the first bitten dies almost instantaneously, the second in about five minutes, the third in an hour or so, while the fourth may live several hours. In a cattle-pen it produces great mischief in the same way. The one we killed at Kolobeng continued to distill clear poison from the fangs for hours after its head was cut off. This was probably that which passes by the name of the "spitting serpent", which is believed to be able to eject its poison into the eyes when the wind favors its forcible expiration. They all require water, and come long distances to the Zouga, and other rivers and pools, in search of it. We have another dangerous serpent, the puff adder, and several vipers. One, named by the inhabitants "Noga-put-sane", or serpent of a kid, utters a cry by night exactly like the bleating of that animal. I heard one at a spot where no kid could possibly have been. It is supposed by the natives to lure travelers to itself by this bleating. Several varieties, when alarmed, emit a peculiar odor, by which the people become aware of their presence in a house. We have also the cobra (`Naia haje', Smith) of several colors or varieties. When annoyed, they raise their heads up about a foot from the ground, and flatten the neck in a threatening manner, darting out the tongue and retracting it with great velocity, while their fixed glassy eyes glare as if in anger.

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