Friday 22 July 2011

Rodent alarm clock – dhamana!

Today has been a bit of a wildlife day. First I was woken up just before 5AM this morning with a noise really quite close to my head – it sounded like something rummaging at the corner of my mosquito net. In a half asleep daze I am waving it away with my hand. I’m sort of only half awake and thinking it is probably Fred (the resident gecko!) when the noise becomes more of a scurrying , clearly a bigger animal, and I realise I must have a rodent in the bedroom. I get up, switch on the light  and sure enough I find a rat sitting on the bedroom shelves. 
I chase it out of the bedroom, trying to watch where it heads for,  ie how it got in, but I loose it in the dark in the kitchen. Once the kitchen light is on I check the sink plumbing. You will remember this was the way they were getting in last year. My landlord had put in a cover thinking it would cure the problem and I dispensed with my make shift rat stop of a piece of marble and slab of cement. Well this musa had worked the cover loose!  So after a good check that it wasn’t still in the house, it was back down with the marble and cement blocks.
P7220153Later this morning in the office there was much asa, asa – come ,come – with a ssh sshh do it quietly. There outside the window of our Accounts room was a snake. Only a couple of days before a cobra ( in Oriya “naga”)  had been found in Mr P’s brother’s house, squirming about by the cooking gas cylinder in the kitchen – deadly! Luckily the adults of the house saw it and none of the small children were about. So Mr G, who manages our old  age home was summoned. Seemingly he is an ace snake catcher! I missed all that excitement and when I was told the story yesterday I had mentioned that I had never seen a snake in the wild. Much bemused looks and then the questions “you don’t have snakes in your country?” 
So today when someone noticed this one in the grass outside the office Mr R came to tell me about it so I could see a snake! Not a deadly one,  but about 6 foot long and the thickness of my forearm.  The name for this one in Oriya is dhamana”: and after investigating a bit on the web I find it is a fairly common Rat Snake which must have a field day in our nagar with all the rats and toads we have.
After it disappeared back into the shrubbery and undergrowth, then all the snake stories started to come out. It appears that on 2 occasions a cobra has actually come into the office building through the front door! Actually there are lots of snakes in the nagar even though it is getting to be a built up area it wasn’t always and there are regular sightings.  I just have never seen any. Part of me wants to and part of me doesn’t  - this is as close to one as I really want to be to any snake. Another Indian experience ticked off the list! I’m just glad my wake up call this morning was of the rodent rather than reptilian variety!

1 comment:

  1. Snakes make great musas. Personally I'm happier with my feline musas (both doing a great job).