Missive from Michelle – Slither me timbers they are monkeying around the house

Living in South Africa is not for sissies.

That’s a given. Overseas friends marvel at our fortitude, guts and survival instincts.

Not only do we run the gauntlet daily on the roads, dodging unpredictable taxis and those hellbent on breaking the sound barrier in their souped up cars, in the pouring rain; and face possible muggings, hi-jackings and home invasions, but we also deal with wild life entering our houses.

Our “snake man”, Nick Evans, has been exceedingly busy retrieving venomous snakes from gardens and homes watched by terrified people shivering in fear as a bite of a Green or Black mamba can be fatal.


Nick Evans with a Cobra from under fridge in Dawncliffe.

Creepy crawlies abound in the heat. Our “snake man” Nick Evans with a Cobra from under fridge in Dawncliffe. Nick’s cell number is second on my emergency phone number list.

Then there’s the insidious poisonous spiders that are so small you don’t really notice them..until they bite you. A colleague at work has been hobbling around on crutches for weeks due to the damage a spider bite caused.

Then there are the monkeys, prime (ate) home invaders.

Underestimate these creatures at your peril. As undaunted by security measures as are the local robbers, they simply remove louvred windows and enter a house guaranteed a successful forage.

Monkey business
Recently a party of about eight invited themselves over for a meal. We did not receive the memo.

We heard a noise in the kitchen area and naturally panicked, suspecting our number was up and a burglary was about to take place. We crept silently to the kitchen where the sight of eight monkeys, sprawled across the kitchen, greeted us.

The opportunist monkey on top of the fridge was trying to open the door, while another, and I kid you not, had a loaf of low GI wholewheat bread in its hands and, playing host, was dishing out slices of bread to his mates.

I was so amazed at the generosity and quite civil behaviour, I almost offered them the peanut-butter jar and a range of jams.

But I was not so civilised and screamed hello instead.

They took their time leaving, helping themselves to the fruit bowl on their way out, leaving me to feel like the gatecrasher. And as the last one (a movie-goer) left, he looked me in the eye and I’m sure I heard his sinister whisper, “I’ll be back!”

monkey 2 (Medium)

I’m just too precious….Photo: Jacqueline Herbst

Baboon raiders
In Kommethie, Cape Town where we stayed some years ago, the Chacma baboons were the marauders. There were even “baboon chasers” there, trained to chase the baboons away from the residential areas.

The kingpin and alpha male was Eric. He used to sit on the roof while his troop invaded homes. The baboons, much to the police’s astonishment, would push the baby baboons through a window.

The baby would then open the door and it would be open season. They destroyed many a family’s monthly groceries in a sitting.

They would open packets and empty contents all over the place, get a sugar high and leap around lights and curtains, destroying them, and defecate on lounge suites before departing with their edible loot.

Unique about the Chacma baboons is their penchant for shellfish and they foraged on the rocks for mussels and oysters. This is yet another reason why people in this crazy country live life with passion and toughness for you just never quite know what’s around the next corner, not even in your own home.



Comment: michelled@dbn.caxton.co.za


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