Getting to Know the Neighbours with Pat McKrill

Getting to Know the Neighbours with Pat McKrill

Our “Snake Man”

Working toward a stress-free co-existence with snakes

Eishhhhh. Who needs Donald Trump and Trevor Noah all the way from America when we’ve got JZ and the Son of Chucky, Julius M right here at home? I guess it takes all sorts, and thankfully, or hopefully, we’ve got other things to entertain us.

In my life, there’s enough in the way of entertainment that heads my way, to keep me well occupied. Because of my interest in snakes, I’ve become a fortunate (?) recipient over the years, of a steady stream of photos, stories etc. usually with a “what’s this?” tag appended. Of late, due no doubt to the pervasive nature of Whatssap, Facebook etc. the stream has become more of a river, and I sometimes wonder, would the local doctor or the guy who repairs the geyser be subjected to similar streams of unsolicited photos, for example, of a wart on an arm (what’s this?) a close-up of the tonsils (is this contagious?) or of the geyser pressure valve (is this thing supposed to drip?). Not that I mind the photos and the questions, I quite enjoy the fact that people are interested, but there’s a downside in that more often than not, your return comments are in the common domain, which, I must tell the uninitiated, is full of very troubled people who seem to be looking for something to argue about.

Mamba released by Nick Evans

I mentioned some time back, that someone had – unbeknown to me – posted a picture of me handing someone in my audience, a very docile night adder, as I illustrated the lack of a tendency in most snakes, to attack people without provocation. I received a tetchy and inane comment in return from a member of the snake catching fraternity, who accused me of encouraging young children to pick up snakes. The ensuing back and forth via e.mail merely confirmed the folly of trying to change a rigidly fixed mindset, and with that still in mind, I was recently forwarded a video taken by a chap who was – according to him – helping a large female black mamba work her way out of his house, down the burglar guards and onto the ground below.

There was no Photoshop magic here, it was a fascinating film of what transpired, showing the snake making its way slowly down the outside of the house, using the burglar guard as support, and the guy taking the film, gently closing his hand around the mid-body of the snake, thereby assisting it, without restricting its movement. No fuss, no drama – reinforcing for me, something I’ve always felt strongly about, and have also been fortunate to experience, that no matter what the species, if it’s not harmed or stressed in any way, it will return the compliment. Remember the rules; stand still and savour the moment.

© pat mckrill. 2017  herpet@eastcoast.co.za  Cell: 0833036958