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Educational talk on snakes

Snakes are our mortal enemies, hiding in the bushes waiting for unsuspecting humans to make one false move before… zap! Pouncing and inflicting mortal wounds.

What a load of tosh, said snake expert and regular Meander Chronicle contributor Pat McKrill, while giving a talk to local residents, members of Lions Bush Conservancy and farm workers, on snakes and their habits, at Waterwoods Wedding Venue near Fort Nottingham.

Getting to know the neighbours

During the talk this Wednesday, McKrill covered aspects like, what to do when encountering a snake; why snakes are important in terms of the broader ecosystem (their predatory habits are useful and important, and they also provide food for other animals); and what to do if someone is bitten.

McKrill pointed out that of 160 snake species found in South Africa, only about 20 are dangerous to people. He stated that snakes, generally, are scared of and not interested in people: that they are interested in the food supplies we leave lying around and that’s where the contact happens.

McKrill also said, as snakes are cold blooded animals, it was logical that in the morning they would spend time trying to sun themselves in a warm spot before heading off to hunt for food. People should be aware and – as far as possible – avoid obvious contact points and try by all means not to step on a snake – that was when bites often occurred.

After question time, McKrill introduced a few varieties of snakes and allowed interaction with the audience. All the snakes were indigenous, bar one, a rather large red tailed boa, native to Middle America. This proved a definite crowd pleaser, its thick, meaty body providing a shiver and a giggle for numerous audience members.

McKrill’s final message: don’t kill snakes unnecessarily, they are our friends, not our enemies.


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