Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Shocking Death of a Tortoise in Yzer.

At last! Settled down in our new home in Yzerfontein on the Cape West Coast, and back on the air.

Sadly, tragedy struck in our very first week here. 

Some background info about our little resort town:
Yzerfontein is situated in a large Nature Conservation area.  Unfortunately there's no big game, but wild ostriches and Cape grysbok wandering through town is a common sight.  There has even been a mongoose sniffing around on my lawn in broad daylight, and the birdlife is awesome.
And then of course, true to Africa, there's the snakes.  Lots of them.

There's only about a thousand permanent residents in town, and at least half the properties are holiday homes and as such are unoccupied most of the time.  Such is the house next to me.  The owner, apparently, is petrified of snakes.  He had three strands of electric fencing installed over the width of the security gate in his driveway.  The wires are about half an inch (1.25 cm) off the ground, and are meant to keep snakes out (??!!).  First time I've ever heard of something like that in all my years.  If a snake wants to get in, it will get in somewhere else.  What's the point of living in a conservancy, then?
The problem I have with the man's system is that there is a five inch (13cm) gap between his driveway and the bottom edge of the security gate.

A couple of days ago, we were working ourselves to a standstill unpacking cartons, hanging pictures and doing the things people do when moving in.  Just before dusk I sauntered out onto the lawn, and immediately heard the unpleasant rhythmic "crack, crack, crack" of  an electric fence short-circuiting.

What I found was a heart-breaking sight - with its shell scorched black, the dead turtle was still on the wires, and blue sparks were continuously snapping at it.  It had probably been there for hours, and was truly cooked.  I couldn't reach it, and pushed it off the wires with a broomstick.  Needless to say, its still there, and beginning to smell to high heaven.

It should be a fairly simple matter to pop rivet a strip of conveyor belting to the bottom of the security gate to stop this from ever happening again. 
Definitely to be strongly suggested to the owner at his next visit.

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