Snake Country – Getting to know the neighbours

Snake Man pic Mark Liptrot  Photo by Cecily ed145 oct14

Since May 2013, I’ve been walking around with my glasses perched on top of my head – not because I want to look like a yuppie – but because I don’t need to wear them all the time as was previously the case. The reason for this is that I had my murky old right eyeball lens removed, and replaced with a new one, rendering the right hand lens in my glasses, obsolete. Getting new glasses at that stage would have been a waste of money because I was going to have the other eye similarly refurbished. Silly as it sounds, I need the glasses when driving and doing certain tasks, hence the headset for just in case. Now I’m about to have the other eye done – please, no gifts or get well cards, I’ll be fine – and this should obviate the need for glasses henceforth.

I know this has nothing to do with snakes, but wait, I’m getting there. The technology used to restore my 20/20 vision once more – after 40 years of me driving in the wrong lane and groping strangers in broad daylight – is truly amazing; this once laborious operation now takes all of 15 minutes to complete! Recently I was exposed to another revolutionary type of technology; that of 3-D printing. Aside from what it’s doing for medical science in the replication of body parts, this technology has suddenly made life a lot easier for me in one part of my business, the manufacturing of snake grab-stick components. Now, instead of using the time and labour intensive production system to which I’ve become used over the years, all I have to do is phone my supplier and ask him to print – yes, print – me a couple of sets for collection the following morning. What a bonus because I no longer have to carry stock.

For the uninitiated, grab-sticks or handling tongs have become the instrument of choice used by most snake handlers for handling snakes, particularly the dangerous ones, when the need arises. The tongs are far more humane than the traditional ‘pole with a noose’ once used, to capture (strangle) wild snakes. The damage previously inflicted on the snake is almost totally eliminated and the chances of the handler being bitten are considerably reduced. The only variable would be the competence of the operator.

Throughout the year, I get orders for snake tongs, often for export, particularly from security organisations that are often called upon to remove snakes from housing complexes/vehicles etc. and as we become more environmentally friendly, there’s a greater demand from home owners, particularly those with country homes or farms. From now on, instead of a wait of anything up to a month because of logistical or production delays, I can supply within a few days. Hey, I’m even starting to enjoy this modern stuff.

© pat mckrill. 2014
herpet@eastcoast.co.za
Cell: 0833036958
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