Tuesday, August 14, 2007

There are different types of snakes in Ghana

Yesterday morning our houseboy killed a poisonous snake in our garden. The property of my friend is not that big, it has a small, but well-tended garden. The garden is fenced in, and the fence is lined by overgrowing flower bushes. When the houseboy was cutting the bushes, he suddenly got really exited and called us to show us a pretty large snake, about 1.2 meters long, with dark green and yellow stripes. The snake was resting high up in the bushes, right within the flower bush which had overgrown the side door where all the visitors were passing through. It was a pretty eerie feeling that we might have come and gone for some days right underneath a poisonous snake. The fix of the houseboy to this problem was as radical as it was short and brutal. He called another man from the neighborhood for help. With a long stick the houseboy threw the snake out of the bush on the street, and then the other man shattered the snake’s head with a large stone – Risk management by eliminating the risks.

Later in the day the children and I decided to go to downtown Accra. My friend agreed to lend us her car. First thing was to fill up the tank at the filling station. After pumping gas, the guy at the station asked for 57 new cedies (about 57 dollars). The meter at the pump station only read 52 cedies. The guy explained that he had first pumped gas for 5 cedies, and then incidentally reset the meter by returning the nozzle into the holder. As this story sounded really fishy to me, I refused to pay. We got into a little argument, the manager of the station also came, and in the end I paid what the meter read, 52 cedies. The 5 cedies the guy at the pumping station was trying to extract from me would have been about one week of wages for him, at least.
There are different types of snakes in Ghana.


  1. Hello!
    It´s all just so typical. Scared people let themselves be ruled by their fair and the solution is to kill! This snake is apparently a sand snake (psammophis)and, though belonging to the backfanged snakes, reputed of being harmless to humans. I would be possible for all ghanans to learnt the dangerous snakes of their country (and rather let them escapes - many snakes bites happen when trying to kill a snake!!) and ignore the rest (harmless) snakes. Besides snake (poisonous and non-poisonous) do a tremendous work keeping rodent down. Rodent are usually a severe threat to economy and health by eating the crops and spreading dangerous parasites, viruses and bacteria.

  2. There are several Sand snakes in Ghana, however, 3 are well known. Olive sand sand (Psammophis phillipsi), hissing sand snake (Psammophis sibilans) and African beauty snake (Psammophis elegans).
    The last one African beauty snake is the one killed.
    A very beautiful snake. As said by Anonymous - a harmless back-fanged snake whose venom is not potent enough to kill or even cause severe harm to a normal human being.
    there are about 92 different snake species in Ghana. (This was estimated in the 80s - there could be more or less now)

  3. Please note that the right expression is"venomous snake', not 'poisonous snake'. A poisonous thing is something that harms or kills when it is eaten whereas a venomous thing harms or kill when it bites or stings you and injects toxins.