So, on my way to buy milk one recent afternoon I met these two:
Then I turned around and met these two:
“Come play with us, Bibi. Forever… and ever… and ever.”
Am I in a Stephen King novel?
Then this happened:
People always ask me if Nepal has snakes. Yes, Nepal has snakes in it's subtropical valleys and in the southernmost swampy and jungly region of the Terai. Where I'm at this is the most common snake you'll see usually hanging around rice paddies and corn fields and such. This is the Indian rat snake, oriental rat snake, Ptyas mucosa or "dhaman." They are nonvenomous and grow to be quite large feasting upon rodents in agricultural areas. This particular specimen was about five feet long but I have seen them as large as eight feet in length.
Dhamans prefer to subdue their prey by sitting on it rather than by constricting and using their body weight to weaken prey. They will hiss and make a growling sound if you pester them enough. Male dhamans are also territorial. You will sometimes see the males fighting over territory for hours by rearing up two to three feet and intertwining their bodies in a seemingly ritualized test of strength. We seem to be in this particular dhaman's territory as he usually perambulates our yard about once a month. He's not terribly afraid of the cats nor I and often slithers over my clogs when I'm out in the garden. King cobras are the adult dhamans only natural enemies. The only time I've seen cobras in Nepal was prior to 2006 when Indian "snake charmers" would bring them in baskets to amuse tourists. "Snake charming" or holding snakes captive for display and amusement has since been banned in India and Nepal. The practice was banned because the snake charmers would remove the snakes' fangs to render them harmless and then the snakes would slowly starve to death.
Ok, so snails in general aren't scary but this is quite the noxious beast. This is Achatina fulica also famously known as the giant African snail or giant African land snail. This is the very same snail they are trying to eradicate in Florida and is listed as one of the top 100 invasive species in the world. They are now found throughout India, Nepal, Taiwan, the Indian Ocean islands, the West Indies, and even Bhutan. They are HUGE, the one in the above photo is about four inches in length but they can grow to seven inches in length. I hate them. They can easily strip three to four marigold plants or a large tomato plant in my garden in a night. These snails also carry a form of meningitis that can spread to humans. Apparently they are edible if thoroughly cooked and are fried for snacks in Taiwan. You know it's really raining a lot when you see these guys climbing the garden wall as in the photo to escape drowning in the monsoonal deluge.
Spamming for kidneys!!!
In continuing with today's macabre and icky theme, for those of you who missed it there was this comment on left on my post about mangos-
Dear Sir /Madam,
Hello ,Do you want to buy or sell your kidney for money, British kidney patient association is urgently in need for O+ve and A+ve kidney donors with any passports require. If any one is willing to donate or buy please contact us through my
Phone Number: +918XXXXXX
That phone number is from Delhi and Apollo is an esteemed hospital chain across India. I doubt whomever posted is connected with Apollo hospitals, is "Dr James," nor has anything to do with the UK registered charity British Kidney Patient Association [BKPA]. "Organ trafficking" is a problem here in Nepal and in India. The buying and selling of organs is illegal in India and Nepal. Various ruses are involved in tricking victims into selling their organs. Nepalis are often told that their kidney will grow back or they are duped into believing they need an operation and the organ is removed without their knowledge. Since the earthquake, the number of Nepalese desperate for money turning to organ traffickers as a source of income has increased. You can read about one Nepali "kidney valley" whose near entire adult population sold their kidneys to buy homes here. There was also a scam in 2008 at a clinic in the posh Delhi suburb of Gurgaon where it is estimated 600 illegally begotten kidneys were transplanted by a Dr Amit Kumar and his brother Dr Jeevan Kumar.
“Across the room was a mirror, and deep down in its silver bubble a single word appeared in green fire and that word was: REDRUM.”
― Stephen King, The Shining