During a recent visit to Tshugulu Lodge (Mapungubwe) we had the privilege to watch a life and death struggle between a Common Flat Lizard (platysaurus intermedius cf. rhodesianus)
and a Western Stripe-bellied Sand Snake (psammophis subtaeniatus)
….for me this was such a unique sighting, something I will never forget….
Incidentally, we already met up with this Western Stripe-bellied Sand Snake the previous day…I almost stepped on it where it was basking in the sun on the paved walkway….initially it fled, but later returned to the same spot and were not at all bother with us coming close and taking photos….and later on, with us walking up and down…it was actually quite tame and stayed around for about 2 hrs….
The next day I heard a splash in the swimming pool and upon investigation found the following on the top step of the swimming pool. I presume that during their struggle both the lizard and snake ended up in the swimming pool.
The lizard appeared to be dead. At some stage the snake was actually holding the lizard under water…I’m not sure if this was intentional, trying to drown the lizard?
After a while the snake tried to lift the lizard out of the pool…but the lizard was to heavy for this.
At one side, the first step of the pool slopes against a rock that was build into the pool….and the snake tried to get the lizard out on this side. This should have been easy for the snake but for some reason it appeared that it did not really want to use this option.
The snake again tried to lift the lizard over the edge….
This was turning into quite a struggle with the snake trying to lift the lizard….and the snake took a few seconds to rest.
Eventually the snake again went to the side of the rock, but still did not get itself and the lizard out.
After this the snake suddenly let go of the lizard and sped out of the pool….the water in the pool was very cold and I suppose the snake’s body temperature was getting too low and thus it had to get out.
But there is a twist in the tail…. We were all staring at the poor dead lizard drifting around when suddenly it came to life and also shot out of the pool at the speed of light
…..I’m however not sure if the lizard made it after this, the poison of the snake probably took its toll later.