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Snakes alive: ‘Tis the season to be legless…

A non-venomous spotted bush snake
Above: A non-venomous spotted bush snake

 

By Pat McKrill

It’s late afternoon, the sun’s going down behind the hills in the distance and we’re just short of saying goodbye to 2019.

I’m hoping that we’re all becoming immune to the various side issues that seem to have been piling up of late. What’s the point of getting agitated about what’s happened? We can’t wind back the clock. Pretend you’re a very important person, then you can claim you didn’t know anything. You’ll immediately feel better.

Let’s just make one resolution this year. If we want it to get better, we’re going to have to do something to help it happen, rather than sitting and whingeing. We can console ourselves with the thought that politics and all the bad that goes with it hasn’t stopped the birds singing, frogs croaking, flowers blooming or the sun rising and setting.

Pat McKrill and his legless mates can’t abide winter.

Speaking of things carrying on as usual, this has been a hectic month for snake activity in KZN. Apart from what I handle locally, I’m aware of a lot of the social network chatter that goes on and I keep track of some of the daily sightings, catches and releases that have been keeping many snake catchers busy.

Fragile balances

To them, I must say well done guys and girls, you’re doing a great job. People are starting to understand the very important but fragile balances in nature and they’re also becoming more aware that there are reputable snake removers out there – a good emergency number to keep on the fridge door.

If you have occasion to use any of their services, please do the right thing and contribute to their expenses – petrol, time and the potential danger aspect (if any, depending on the situation and the snake species) comes at a cost.

The recent heavy rain is going to come with increased snake activity.

A fear of snakes is more of a learnt thing than one based on age, sex, colour, class or religion. If you were brought up to fear snakes, that’s it, you’ve got it. The only way you’ll control the fear is to confront it and get used to the fact that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Some of you might have had the rare privilege of witnessing a snake doing its thing – perhaps in your garden – without it being aware of your presence.

Night adder

About a week ago, I had another opportunity to test the “keep still” rule.

I was in my vehicle when I saw a night adder crossing the road leading up to my gate. I slowed down and stopped.

Snake man Nick Evans rescues 31kg python.

Through the binos I watched her (very short tail), she’d seen the movement and had stopped perfectly still to take in all the info.

Once she’d satisfied herself that there was no further movement, therefore no threat, she continued to move on at the same leisurely pace.

But as I surreptitiously (or so I thought) opened the door and gently exited the vehicle, she took off at supersonic speed, like a bargain hunter on Black Friday!

Contact Pat at herpet@eastcoast.co.za or call 083 303 6958

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