A drive on the wild side: couple travel 170 km with spitting cobra slithering around in their car

2009-03-04 00:00

Pretoria — The guardian angels of a Pretoria man “were working overtime” as he and his wife drove 170 km with a dangerous Mozambique spitting cobra in their car.

Gordon Parratt (69) remained calm while the unwelcome 85-centimetre passenger wound itself around his leg on several occasions.

He and his 65-year-old wife, Ilda, of Moreleta Park east of Pretoria, left the Biyamiti rest camp in the Kruger National Park on Friday.

After several kilometres, Parratt felt something like an insect brush against his leg and foot and wiped it away.

As he did so again, he looked down and saw a snake next to his left foot. It looked like a Mozambique spitting cobra.

Although he was rattled, he remained calm and told his wife they had a “passenger”.

“Fortunately I’m not the panicky type. My wife immediately put her feet up on the dashboard.”

In Hazyview they stopped at a taxi rank but “I didn’t want to get out there and leave my car because I was scared it would be stolen”.

The couple then drove to a reptile park in Hazyview. They removed “everything that could move” from the car, but couldn’t find the snake.

Ilda said the staff wanted them to leave the car and arrange other transport home, but her husband wouldn’t have it.

An official at the reptile park gave them two rolls of stretch plaster. If the snake should strike, they could use it to make a tourniquet to prevent the poison from spreading.

“I also asked them to alert all the medical centres along the way so that I could stop there, if need be,” Parratt said.

Later on he once again noticed the snake near his foot. At that point he couldn’t stop because they were in a narrow mountain pass.

“At Sabie we stopped, but couldn’t find the snake.

“About 15 km from Lydenburg the snake wound itself around my left leg and ankle. Its head came up to my knee. The traffic was heavy and it was raining hard, but I kept calm,” he said.

Just before Lydenburg the couple stopped and enquired about a snake expert. Hein Geldenhuys (49) was called.

After dropping his wife off at a guesthouse, Parratt drove to Geldenhuys’s house.

Geldenhuys caught the cobra. “All you could see was venom flying,” Parratt said.

Geldenhuys said a snake in a car is a nightmare. He was surprised to see “how calm the oom was”.

“The oom was very lucky. The Lord protected him and his guardian angels were definitely working overtime.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.