A few quick mamba facts:
- Mambas are the fastest snakes in the world, traveling up to 15 miles per hour (30Km). For comparison, most people run only 12 –13 mph.
- They are also among the most poisonous. Their venom can kill a man within 30 min. as it quickly paralyses the victim’s muscular system, eventually resulting in suffocation.
- There are two colors of mambas: the green type lives primarily in the trees, and the black type lives on the ground
- Mambas do not coil to strike, but stand up to nearly 1/2 their length. For example, a 7 ft. mamba can rise up to strike standing 3 feet tall.
- Can strike very accurately up to 10 feet or more, depending on their length.
THE STORY: BAMBI AND THE GREEN MAMBA
The civil war in Mozambique was taking a horrible toll, with not only death and disease but thousands of displaced persons. Refugees wandered everywhere. Orphans and lost children abounded. At the orphanage, we found ourselves feeding several thousand malnourished children each week.
Obviously, such children need foods that provide maximum nutrition in every meal. One of these foods is soya soup, and we used a lot of it. This protein-rich mixture is just the thing for the children, providing the nutrients essential for growth. It is doubly useful, for it comes in a dried form which is easy to transport and store.
On this particular day, I was asked to drive our Land Rover to one of the soup kitchen sites in order to deliver some large sacks of dried soya soup for the next week’s feeding. Just as I was leaving, a man approached me carrying a tiny deer-Iike creature called a duiker. He had killed its mother for food. Now he wanted to know if I would like this baby. He had no milk, and without help, this week-old fawn would soon die.
If you’ve ever seen a duiker, you know how cute “cute” can be. They are a kind of miniature antelope. The grey-brown adults stand maybe two feet high at the shoulder, give or take. Their Boer name means “diver:’ but they don’t live near water. Rather they dive into the brush when they’re startled.
When you come upon one, it takes off leaping and ducking, hurdling some bushes, diving down behind others, changing directions. A single duiker can zip about like popcorn in a microwave, very confusing to predators. They are absolutely charming, with tiny horns, teeny-tiny cloven hooves, and gorgeous eyes. Now picture an infant one of these. Cute upon cute!
Would I accept it? Heh. So I took it home and began bottle feeding my little Bambi.
After she regained her strength, I placed her in an old chicken pen near my house. Her pen was nothing more than a dirt floor with grass walls and roof. The front of the pen and its door were made of chicken wire. The whole thing measured about a meter wide by 1.5 meters long.
Because Bambi was so tiny with no mother to protect her, and her pen was not predator proof, I asked the Lord to keep her safe from any creature that might try to eat her.
When Bambi was about a month old, I was washing dishes at 3:30 pm when the Lord dropped this message into my head. “Go and feed now!”
I normally don’t feed until 4 pm, so I argued with Him. “Lord, it’s too early to feed now:
He repeated the message. Okay. 1 knew better than to question Him a second time. I mixed the milk and went out to feed.
When I opened the door of the pen, Bambi was sitting there looking like a rock statue. Normally at feeding time she always greeted me by running over and nuzzling my leg, but today she never even twitched an ear. Puzzled, I stepped into the pen with one foot.
A loud thump in the back right hand corner of the pen caught my attention. An off-white tail flipped out of an old, upside down, cone-shaped chicken nest that had been left in there. My first thought was “rat”. Then the tail turned over and my mind screamed, SNAKE!
The snake started thrashing around inside the nest, trying to get out. In one swift move, I scooped up Bambi in my left hand and stepped backwards out the door. Freed now, the green mamba struck, but it flew past me and hit the grass wall to my left.
I yelled “Cobra! Cobra! ” which in Portuguese means snake. The workers came running and beat it to death with their long poles.
When speaking, I always compare this story to the Bible’s story of Daniel in the lion’s den. God controlled the lions by closing their mouths so they couldn’t eat Daniel, even though he stayed in the pit for a whole night.I asked the Lord to protect Bambi from predators. He warned me when she was in danger and sent me to rescue her. I realized afterwards, once the adrenaline flow had slowed a little, that I myself was never in danger because God had sent me to get her.
There is no doubt whatever that He was controlling the snake. First, He confused the snake while it flailed inside the chicken nest, giving me a few seconds needed to scoop up Bambi and get out the door. Second this four foot green mamba struck at me from a distance of three feet and missed. I that never happens. Third, as the snake whipped past me, its mouth was closed. That is totally abnormal. Snakes strike in order to bite.
A basic, basic lesson was reinforced that day: Do not fear to tread where the Lord sends you. Step out in faith. He knows the situation and He will protect you.