Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Snake Charmer

- Athol Loppnow -

Snakes! For most of us, the very word conjures up nightmare images in the mind’s eye. Yet in reality, these highly evolved gentle creatures wish to avoid coming into contact with us as far as possible. Inevitably, contact with humans happens all too often, with snakes coming off second best most of the time.

Over the last two and a half years, I have captured and relocated about 75 snakes back to the veld with grateful thanks to those concerned folk who called me. Of the snakes relocated, more than 43% were Cape Cobra. This extremely dangerous species possesses a very potent neurotoxin and is responsible for a high number of human fatalities if bitten. Coloration of this snake is variable, ranging from sandy brown, to yellow or reddish brown or black. If you encounter a snake and are unable to positively identify the species, always regard it as venomous and consequently treat it with the utmost respect.

I have captured most of the snakes (around 69%) after midday and into late evening. Snakes, unlike humans, cannot maintain their body temperature but instead use their surroundings and/or the environment in an attempt to maintain an even body temperature. During the heat of summer, they may well seek out a cool spot in a garden or garage or even your house.

The data of snakes captured and relocated is recorded and submitted to Western Cape Nature Conservation annually. To this end, WCNC have granted me a permit to perform this function.

Next time you see or hear a snake, please give me a call on 082-8216984.

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