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

I don’t know whether to be happy with the fact that I’m a human being on this planet, or embarrassed.


Donald Trump


Engela Merkel

The last 30 odd (ja, very odd) days have certainly proven to me, that generally speaking, humans really don’t know what they want, and when they get what they asked for, they don’t know what to do with it. It sometimes comes back and unexpectedly bites us on the bottom. The Americans voted for DT, but seem a tad bemused at the fact that he got in. Same with the Poms and Brexit, and neighbour Engela Merkel is having rather belated second thoughts about having let millions of immigrants into Germany without papers.

What about us KZNians? Having prayed on bended knees for the drought to break, we’re now moaning about having had too much rain! I’d hazard a guess though, that there are plenty of plants and animals out there that are over the moon – especially those further north who have been struggling to stay alive in our worst drought for decades. Hopefully the recovery will be swift and abundant.

I’m sure that not too many people shed any tears for such things as snakes, which, fortunately for them, have an innate ability to shut, or slow down the energy consuming system that operates them, switching over to the ‘save’ mode until things come right again. Very few predators – particularly the warm-blooded ones – have the ability to do this, and as a result, we will have lost far greater numbers of these animals this last 12 months. Excluding the farmers who have lost crops for a moment, think of the knock on effect the drought has had on the bushveld and the creatures dependent upon the many food resources therein. Plants and animal are essentially interdependent for their livelihood; break one link, the chain weakens or fails. Purely from my narrow interest perspective, I’ve noticed fewer insects and certainly fewer snakes over the past month, although the frog eaters are starting to move around now that the dams are beginning to fill up and the frogs are doing what they do best.

A Jolly Happy Herald! Pic: Nick Evans

A Jolly Happy Herald!
Pic: Nick Evans

I got to thinking about how a seemingly small thing can escalate into something larger before we know it. Delayed germination and a late start for wild grasses etc. will have impacted on the bird life – e.g. fewer seeds, less insects – consequently not only the current crop of birds, but perhaps a generation or two to come will feel the impact, and so too, will the animals that predate upon birds and their eggs. What have we lost in the way of generations of amphibians, fish and insects as a result of the dams drying up?

I know that nature has a remarkable way of catching up when adversity strikes, so I’m comfortable with what will come. The fact that my washing won’t dry, worries me not.

© pat mckrill. 2016
Cell: 0833036958