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The five-metre snake slithered into the small pond and waited patiently for its prey. Its body looked just like a half-submerged log floating lazily. Only its eyes and nostrils were above the surface of the water while the rest of it lay hidden.

Matthew joined his cousins on a well-worn path to the pond. It was a sweltering day and a dip in his grandfather's pond would certainly be heavenly.

At the water's edge, Matthew paid little attention to what looked like the tip of a dirty log. He had missed the glistening eyes that were locked on him. The anaconda tracked the boy's every movement, its flickering tongue picking up the scent of its prey. Deeper and deeper, he waded.

The snake stiffened, ready to strike. With great grace, the anaconda cocked its neck into an S-shape and with blinding speed, shot its head out of the water. Matthew reflexively dodged the long dark shape that came at him and turned to run. But the anaconda reared back again and struck for the second time, this time successfully.

At that instant, Jack came round the bent. For a moment, he could not understand the frightened cries of his young grandchildren who were running. However, he soon spotted what had happened and understood the danger. With all his might, he ran towards the pond, yelling for the rest to get him a knife.

The reptile had already trapped Matthew neatly in a coil. Jack was aghast. He could only see his grandson's hair and knew that he was looking at the top of Matthew's head. Frantically, Jack grabbed the wet, slippery hose and pulled hard. The first coil slipped and Matthew's head appeared.

He pulled hard at all the coils and soon, the shoulder, the chest and the waist came to view. Meanwhile, the snake was not going to give up its prey easily. Thrashing about wildly, it struggled to recoil back but could not. Its body had been sat upon by a seventy-kilogram angry grandfather!

Jack gasped as the coil round his grandson's waist slipped away, revealing the predator's head, clamped securely on his grandson's waist. Jack saw red! Picking up a rock twice the size of his fist, he hammered it with all his strength onto the beast's head. The remaining coils slackened for a fraction of a second but tightened again, this time doubly hard.

Jack was losing hope when his wife appeared by his side, thrusting a knife at him. He punctured the coils. Still the anaconda refused to let go.

Slash! Slash! Slash!

The snake relaxed its grip. Jack held his breath. Would its muscles tighten again? Jack braced himself for the worst as he held the knife tightly.

The coils loosened and fell into the pond with mighty splashes. The snake had been mortally wounded. Jack's shoulder slumped as he assessed the damage.

"Grandpa!"

The single word jolted him to reality and in an instant, Matthew was swept off his feet and rushed to the hospital.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why would one not be able to gauge the full length of the anaconda ?
  2. Name the two ways the anaconda knew that a prey was approaching.
  3. Pick the two-worded phrase that shows that the snake was very fast.
  4. Why did Jack decide to sit on the coils ?
  5. When did Jack actually get to see the snake's head ?
  6. What made Jack lose hope initially ?
  7. Who could have told Jack's wife to bring a knife ?
  8. What was Jack bracing himself for ?
  9. Quote the sentence that shows that the snake had died.
  10. How was Matthew brought to safety ?
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Answers
 

1.

The anaconda's body was well hidden in the water.
 

2.

It saw it and had smelt it.
 

3.

It is 'blinding speed'.
 

4.

This was to prevent the snake from recoiling around Mathew again.
 

5.

It was when he managed to pull off the coil around Mathew's waist.
  6. The snake began to tighten around Mathew more firmly.
  7. It was probably one of Mathew's cousins who went running home.
  8. He was bracing himself for the event that the snake might coil even tighter around Matthew.
  9. It is 'The snake had been mortally wounded'.
  10. He was carried by his grandfather to the hospital.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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