I love having a bicycle. At least between rainstorms, I can pedal my way just about anywhere. The “Terminal” offices where Lisa works are approximately four kilometres away and a bicycle trail follows several production roads from Yenzi to the Terminal. The production roads are used by Shell to access pipelines and well-heads throughout the oil concession. These crushed laterite roads pass through forests and along savannahs, generally seeing little traffic.
Its Tuesday and I am bicycling to the Terminal. Shortly after leaving our house, I pass under a mango tree. The tree is alive with the Yenzi version of “angry birds”. I had heard a similar commotion late last week from the same tree. By now I suspect a predator is lurking somewhere among the branches and I stop to investigate. I am craning my neck and attract the attention of several Yenzi residents, who concur that, yes, there is a snake there, and after searching among the branches, discover an orange tree snake, boiga pulverulenta, coiled among the branches. Someone calls snake patrol, and with the aid of a long bamboo pole, the snake is dislodged. This four-foot long tree snake is a beautiful copper-brown color with green-brown rosettes highlighted in white. Very slender and as I learned later, non-venomous and non-aggressive. Yenzi policy is to remove all snakes from camp, dispatching the dangerous cobras and mambas, but releasing the less dangerous others some distance from camp.
Unfortunately for this snake, amid all the excitement, it ended up dead, killed by a blow from a panga. I will have to be more careful about what I call attention to in the future.