11 September 2005

Katchikally Crocodile Pond, The Gambia

This was at a visit to the Katchikally Crocodile pond. Crocodiles (unlike other reptiles) are venerated and it's believed that the water of the pool can help women become pregnant.

Other reptiles are roundly reviled, however. All snakes that are encountered are killed on the assumption that they are poisonous and want to attack people. My host family in Saresamba upset me one night by killing a gecko -- the story there is that the geckos spit in the grain in compound food stores, and this makes people sick.

In my broken Wolof I told them that I volunteered at the reptile house in the DC zoo, and that the animals are largely harmless (especially the geckos). They were dubious about this, but they did promise not to kill any more geckos (I'm sure that promise is void now that I've moved out).

In other reptile news, I hope to acquire a chameleon for a pet. The geckos here are too fast, and all the dogs and cats are disease-ridden, or very soon will be upon encountering their brethren.

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