This weekend I will be attending a Snake Awareness, Identification and Handling course with the Cape Reptile Institute, a centre for herpetological research. (new word)
I’m a reptile loving girl, always have been, and when I encountered an injured Boomslang in the Tsitiskamma region in March, I realised how important it is to be able to identify and handle snakes. For their protection and mine.
Truth is I am terrified of encountering a dangerous snake whilst walking on the farm or in the mountains. Love them as I do, I want to be equipped to make an educated decision that would be likely to save me – and more importantly the snake. I am devastated by how many people kill snakes instinctively on sight, and hope that in some small way I can prevent this.
The course is hosted every month or two at the Driftsands Environmental Centre over two days from 09h00 to 16h00 and costs R700.00. The facilitators are highly qualified Dr Tony Phelps (BSc, PhD) Marcel Witberg and Kobus Smit, so I know I will be safe as I learn.
In brief we start off with the first day focusing on awareness and first aid. This includes snake identification and handling of non-venomous snakes (this I can do!). The first aid involves practical situations for example if we’re out and about and my friend is bitten by a cape cobra or puff adder. Yikes, may this never be the case.
The second day is venomous snake handling for the three species Cape Cobra, Puff Adder, and Boomslang. Then comes the worst bit where a faux emergency situation is created and I will have to go in, find the snake, identify it and retrieve it without getting myself killed. This is a course for grown ups, and I hope to learn much and equip myself should I ever encounter a slithering creature of the not so friendly kind in the future.
Oh, there’s a little note about needing to wear closed shoes / boots and long pants on the second day. I was thinking protective clothing and the welding mask … I will let you know how it goes and whether I am fully equipped to come to the rescue should you encounter such a situation in the future. #CrazyGirlOnCall
Contact details should you wish to sign up for such a course in the future are Marcel Witberg 082 784 7314 and e-mail email@example.com