Getting to know the neighbours

Our elections are only a hundred or so service delivery protests, library burnings and poo throwings away, and it won’t be long before we find out who’s going to lead us – hopefully not further into the abyss – for the next 4 years. The excitement is palpable, and my garden fellow who’s a serial collector of free party ‘T’ shirts, bus rides, buns ‘n cokes, is beside himself with childish anticipation; his pending land claim will give him part ownership of the new uShaka Airport, and his sister will get her little plot on the Casino site across the road, where her great grandfather, a marauding migrant from the north, used to graze his goats in the late 1800s. As the remains of my early relatives were found in a Sterkfontein cave, I guess I too can look forward to a windfall.

Whilst smiling at man’s rather simplistic understanding of entitlement, it may be worth considering that since long before we were put on this earth, flora and fauna have had to adapt to their ever changing world by constantly finding ways of staying alive in an increasingly hostile environment. It’s been a case of pure survival, staying alive by never forgetting nature’s basic premise; “There are 2 choices – you’re either dead or you’re alive – take your pick. Remember, if you bend the rules or miss a trick, there’ll be no rescue services, no guardian angels. Don’t forget that whilst you’re covering your assets, you’ll not only have to feed, clothe and shelter yourself, but also put a succession plan into place. Have fun.” Nature does not nurture mediocrity.

On that ‘survival’ thread, last year I was asked if I thought that the proposed new Rosetta dam would have any effect upon the surrounding flora and fauna, and my answer was “most definitely”. Wherever possible, there will undoubtedly be migration away from the encroaching water, with floral and faunal adaptation to the inevitability a certain consequence. Interestingly, last week (coincidental or not) I had a call from a gentleman living near the affected area, telling me of a puff adder that has chosen his back porch as its new spot to hang about. He said it had enough hiding places to head for when the heat was on, apart from the hole in the wall that it had selected, and as it’s unlikely to give itself up readily, he asked for suggestions on how to tempt it out. I offered some options to try and we’ll see what transpires, but somehow I doubt we’ll outthink a wily puffie – his survival comes first and he’ll make a plan. For those who wonder, “What now?” I can only say that any plant, animal, insect etc. that becomes comfortable with its surroundings will be unlikely to move away from its chosen spot, unless that environment changes dramatically. As they say, “that’s life”.

© pat mckrill. 2014
herpet@eastcoast.co.za
Cell: 0833036958
Home: 031-7851410

Snake Man  Brown House snake hatchling ed139 apr14