Snake Country – Getting to know the neighbours

Snake Country.

Getting to know the neighbours
Working toward a stress-free co-existence with snakes

Snake-Man-Bubbling-Kassina

The Bubbling Kassina Pic: Nick Evans

The weather has had a large part to play in terms of snake activity of late, and I’ve given up trying to predict what will happen next. A visit recently to the northern parts of KZN was a revelation in terms of what happens when the clouds stop giving up their water. The desertification of the landscape is startling, waterless rivers and dams, dust instead of grass – depressing if you’re a farmer – more so if you’re an animal, and there will surely be a correction in the numbers of most species.

Andrew Zaloumis of KZN Wildlife gave some backhanded encouragement when he said in a radio interview last week, that this drought will kill off the weak and sick animals and the ultimate result will be a stronger gene pool – as long as we get rain before total devastation ensues. The knock-on effect in terms of food will be felt throughout the animal and plant kingdom, and the limbless fraternity will suffer as much as everybody else.
We were blessed in Cato Ridge over the recent weekend with some good soaking rains, but we still need more. Bubbling Kassina frogs – explosive breeders that breed in casual water were in full voice last night (23rd Nov.) – indicative of a desire to bring new blood into the world, and they are unlikely to want to dump a whole bunch of tadpoles onto a barren veld, which tells me that they could be expecting more rain.

Thanks to some of the Meander Chronicle Groupies, I’ve had a number of requests for ID’s coming through, indicating that there is activity going on, so please keep it up folks. I’m delighted to say that I’m also getting more pictures of live snakes than dead ones, so the message seems to be filtering through.

I was invited to give a talk recently to a landscaping group. Quite appropriate when one thinks that landscapers are more likely to find themselves in the presence of 2 metres of excellence in a working environment than the average Joe, and I was expecting a raft of bread and butter questions from people who are more exposed to snake activity than most. Questions such as, “how far can they spit?” or “what’s the most dangerous snake in this area?” but what I got first-off was “You told us that snakes can’t speak, so how did the snake communicate with Eve in the garden?” I often have to walk the tricky ‘creationist’ vs ‘evolutionist’ tightrope, so I suggested that Eve had received an e.mail, which seemed to answer the question. In return, I asked why Moses had travelled around, seemingly unconcerned, with a snake atop his stave. I think we ended up in a one-all draw. The Biblical ramifications have been telling for the serpent, nevertheless, he’s survived to fulfill his creator’s intended role for him on this earth.
© pat mckrill. 2015
herpet@eastcoast.co.za
Cell: 0833036958