Getting to know the neighbours

As we move into another season, I trust that everyone is in fine physical condition – fit and ready to start sweeping up the soon to be falling leaves – put the mower away, autumn is around the corner. But you won’t be alone in your preparations; the plants, birds, bees and all manner of things non-human will soon be pulling down the shutters in readiness for the coming winter – the long sleep will be upon us before we know it. If you’re not into cleaning up, don’t stress, you can adopt the national psyche which is to simply look the other way; away from the plastic bags, KFC punnets, Big Mac wrappers used condoms and other assorted detritus that smothers our towns and countryside – after all, who cares? One thing we can rest assured however; the leaves will at least render down and add some nutrition to the soil. OK, enough wingeing, let’s get on with the good stuff.

A big thank you once more to readers who’ve called in with their snake stories or sent me pictures (some of which seem to have been taken with a camera that was strapped to a blender) of unexpected visitors. You can never be too careful you know; you might get swallowed whilst you’re trying to set the aperture! The Dargle gathering I mentioned last month was a hatching party and shortly afterwards, I had a similar ‘snake invasion’ story from a homeowner in Port Shepstone, which was the result of a mating aggregation – where all the lads had got together to suss out the local talent. These mass gatherings are nothing to get too excited about – they’ve been happening since time began – and as man spreads out and encroaches on (trashes) their habitat, they’ll become more noticeable. From my point of view, when it comes to fear-inducing invasions, there’s nothing that comes close to the annual influx of foreign number plates (if they’ve got one) every time there’s a long weekend – which is just about every weekend. Mmmmm, that fragrance! Klipdrift and coconut oil!

Snake2One thing emerging from the feedback I’ve been getting is that we are, generally speaking, becoming more aware and probably more tolerant of the snakes that live around us, so maybe this is as good a time as any to remind everyone of the basic encounter action rules for an unexpected meeting with one of the limbless fraternity. Rule No.1; Stand still. No.2; Look objectively at the snake and make a rational decision, along the lines of, ‘back away carefully without too much arm waving and watch where the snake goes’. No.3; Allow it as many escape options as possible, making sure that externally opening windows and doors are open. No.4; Watch where it goes and phone your local snake catcher. No.5; Unless you know what you’re doing, do NOT pick it up!
© pat mckrill. 2013
herpet@eastcoast.co.za Cell: 0833036958 Fax: 0866128120 Home: 031-7851410

Snake1

(Above and right) … The first days of a baby snake just before it goes to school. New uniform, inquisitive, completely unaware of what lies ahead. There is a seriously tentative link between the content in the article and the pictures. Only those who know, will understand. Those who do not, will not. The ones with the blobs on their backs are baby night adders. The ones without the blobs on their backs are not.  Pics: Supplied