In late September I did a Snake Identification and Handling Course with the Cape Reptile Institute and wrote about it, Snakes Conservation and my Handling of Them. This course focussed on the near 35 snakes that occur in the Western Cape, which I soon learnt each had their own unique characteristics. It was an incredible experience that brought home the plight of snakes in this ever developing world, the need to conserve them and to create awareness. The old adage “The Best Snake Is A Dead Snake” can not be applied.
There was a follow up One Day Course with focus on the Big 5 viz. the mole snake, cape cobra, rinkhals, boomslang and puff adder, I signed up. My need to learn and better my snake handling skills of great importance. I want to be the girl you call if you encounter a snake and would like it safely removed. I want to be the one that rescues and relocates them. I want to make a difference, one snake at a time.
The course was led by the truly remarkable Marcel Witberg and hosted at the West Coast Park’s Board offices, right on the water’s edge in Langebaan. After a morning of valuable theory and an assessment test, we were shown the handling skills so essential to this. I have learnt unequivocally that 9 out of 10 snakes are docile and not in attack mode, also the more gently we approach them and handle them, the calmer they react.
Of course, there is never a reason to pick up a snake, unless in the name of conservation you are doing so to rescue it or relocate it. Below you see me cautiously approaching a large Cape Cobra before lifting him into the container …
This is a beautiful male boomslang being picked up and boxed.