After Cape Town exploded yesterday at the discovery of a cobra on Hout Bay beach, I thought it prudent to warn the locals, and any of you unsuspecting tourists planning a December jaunt, of other dangerous wild animals indigenous to the city. It’s quite obvious that the fine food and craft beers have lulled the cities inhabitants into a false sense of security. As hard as it may be to believe, Cape Town is still part of Africa, and there are beasts about. Let me tell you about my experience with three of Cape Town’s deadliest animals.
The Rock Hyranx, more affectionately known as the Dassie, is the Africa Elephant’s closest living relative, and one of Cape Town’s deadliest predators. As a child I used to feed the pack that live in Bakoven. I’d toss stale bread over the railing and they’d scurry out of their fecal filled burrows. I quite liked them, beside the stench, and used to look forward to my walks with Mother, which is when we’d fed them.
Then one day I caught the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and tried to feed one by hand. It was hesitant at first, then rushed forward in a savage attack on the crinkle cut crisp I held in my tiny child hand. I dropped the chip, but the dassie was locked in. It sunk its giant yellow mole-like incisors deep into my hand. I had to go for a tetanus injection after my tears dried up, and the trip to the top of the mountain was ruined. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky few to escape rabies.
If you must approach the dassie, do so as illustrated below. Facing side on to the animal, in a show of submission, hands and arms folded in for protection.
This bird is often the ruiner of many a sunset picnic or Mariners Wharf fish and chip outing. The Cape Seagulls typical modus operandi is to deploy a lone scavenger close but not too close to your romantic picnic, usually between you and the sunset, while the rest of the gang circle high above or loiter behind your backs. This first scout is usually the weakest of the flock, the guy with one leg, a piece of fishing gut tied around its neck, or an injured wing (pictured above).
The girl you are trying to impress in exactly the same way you’ve tried to impress every other with this romantic beach ploy, will then feel sorry for him and fling out one of your Lays Salt & Vinegar chips. The trap will spring, and before the gut entangled gimp can get his beak around the crisp, the flock will swoop in (pictured below), cawing and screeching, and snapping at each other with razor sharp beaks.
You’ve opened the gates of hell now, and the onslaught will be endless. Your conversation will never flow again, your funny quips falling flat as you’re interrupted by a barrage of high pitched screams. The people next to you will hate you, their snack platters now being investigated by the flocks scout. Unless you have an endless supply of chips the evening will be ruined, because once you run dry, the birds will go for the next best thing, and they’ll have strength in numbers by then.
The Cape Baboon
While the Cape Cobra may be venomous, no tourist has ever been sexually assaulted by one while sightseeing on Chapman’s Peak. The same can not be said for Cape Town’s most notorious opportunist, sex pest, and a serial home invader, Papio ursinus, or the Cape Baboon.
When living in the seemingly tranquil hills of the Constantia vale, I would often walk into the kitchen only to be confronted by a baboon, naked and exposing itself on my kitchen counter, shoving whatever it could get its hands on into its mouth, like some vile Roman. Eventually I had to arm myself with a paintball gun.
My experiences aren’t limited to the home either. A large male once jumped onto the bonnet of my dads car as we were enjoying a Sunday drive over Chapman’s Peak, it turned and exposed its swollen blue anus to us before jumping off and stealing a packet of chips from the closest tourist.
It’s easy to forget that Cape Town is in fact a part of the African continent, and not situated somewhere in the Mediterranean where the only wild animals are the British yobs and inland tourists that invade the coastline in their string vests, and designer bikinis, slathered in tanning oil and, wait…..
Be mindful of the local wildlife, keep safe, and never attempt to feed any of the above mentioned animals, especially by hand. If confronted by these creatures, remain calm and back away slowly. Remember, water is not a safe place, because these are animals after all, and just like the Cape Cobra, they can all swim, you fucking morons.