Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 35 - Fatal Snake Attack

We walk to Vothini to pick (more) olives.

The monotony of harvest is broken in the afternoon when one of the guys selling vegetables from the back of a pickup suddenly pulls up outside the plantation and starts shouting "Fithi, fithi!" which translates as "Snake, snake!"

Turns out that he has partially driven over a snake which is now suffering in the road. We go to the gate to see the reptile dazed, but getting ready to slither off.

The vegetable salesman has different ideas and backs up his truck to roll over the snake a second time. Then, with the help of Maria giving him directions, he rolls his fat back wheels backwards and forwards over the creature's body three times more, just to make sure. Finally, he rests the full weight of his vehicle right on top of the snake's head just to make absolutely, definitely certain of a kill.

This is all done without much excitement, and when the vegetable salesman rolls his wheel away and he and Maria are satisfied that the snake's twitching is only reflex action, they nod their approval of a job well done and no more is said. He drives off to sell vegetables and we go back to work.

The scaley corpse of the snake is left in the road and opinion is split. Nicole thinks the serpent could have been dangerous and it's a good job the veg guy came when he did. Paul and Michael think that the snake was harmless and should have been left alone.

The truth is, we don't know whether it was dangerous or not. Can any experts out there tell us from the picture exactly what animal died today?


Alan said...

The only poisonous snake on Greece is the Adder [locally referred to as the Ohia], which that does look a bit like. Then again, its hard to tell, especially when a car's been over it.

According to research, Greeks are naturally afraid of snakes and will often go out of their way to run over them whilst driving.

If you catch a sea snake or a moray eel, apparently you cut its head off, skin it, boil it in water with olive oil and have a lovely meal.

Gary said...

Was that the actual squashed snake?

Still looking in pretty good shape if you ask me...

Paul and Nicole said...

Yeah, that's him, as photographed one day later.

We were up there again today and he's in exactly the same position, but now with a few flies.

On the first day there appeared to be no move by any scavenger animals to eat the dead snake.

I suppose that they move so little when alive that creatures are scared of them anyway even though they're dead...?

And yes, he popped back in to shape quite nicely, it wasn't a very big vegetable truck.

Paul and Nicole said...

Thanks for research Alan. Yeah - we think its an adder as well, which apparently delivers a bite that is "HARDLY EVER" fatal.

Not re-assuring!

snake-owner said...

Adder has an x mark on the head,a zik-zak stribes to her spine,it is small fat snake with thin neck and flat head that in some kinds have horns!The one that I see looks more like a young racer-snake than a dangerus viper!
Even if you ever notice a viper the only thing you need to do is to stay 1m away from it,it will run away without troubles as faster it can!Many snakes are sick from poisoning and while they suffer they cannot move away from us when we aproach but they are doing great job for us against the rats who are much more harmful to us than any dangerus snake!
Just stay calm next time and make noise while you walk for avoiding this kind of contacts!

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