I saw it in Cipriano’s eyes when he described the way he lived in Lugela, where he had a very large dog called Tiger and vast fields to hunt and feed his family. He worked for us as guard but he never stopped being a hunter – the Assagai Men as I called him after.
In a country like Mozambique, the proximity city/wild is constantly brought back. If not for Cipriano’s, days ago I lived an unexpected hunting experience. I was half sleeping half watching some bad movie or fastidious TV program when pungent screams hit my ears.
It was easy to identify where those screams came from. Beyond the door leading to the patio where my dogs sleep some sort of animal was in deep pain. Having in mind that my dogs are Staffordshire Bull Terriers, my first worry was that one of them had attacked the other but then I remembered that the other would never let it happen without fighting back. Besides, the sound seemed more cat than dog-like.
After opening a cautious nick of the door in question, it took me a while to identify the origin of those afflictive screams. Thoth had it secure in his teeth: a gigantic bat, with 20cm at least. My guard and I were incapable to take it away from Thoth. I am very afraid of bats, even dying ones, and my guard is very afraid of Thoth’s jaw.
To make things worse, it was dark and raining. I had no one else to help. I just wanted to stop the screams but for that I had to deal with Thoth Killing urge. In despair I opened a tuna can and asked the guard to put the content in one of my dog’s feeding bowls. The strong smell of the tuna fish should be enough to free the bat. It was, but not the way I realized. Instead of taking one or two hours to kill and devour the prey, as he normally does with all kind of lizards, Thoth munched it, with fur and screams, so that he could share part of the tuna Keketh was gladly having.
The next day I had to text the vet to know the dangers of eating a bat still alive. It seems the only risk is diarrhea because of the bones and hypothetical transmission of salmonella. It is the jungle on my doorstep.