Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

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Nick Evans
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Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Nick Evans » June 1st, 2015, 8:05 am

Hi all

It's been a busy few weeks here in KwaZulu-Natal in terms of call-outs. I remove snakes from areas surrounding the city of Durban. It's been unusually warm of late here, so the snakes have been cruising!

Snakes here, like in most of the world, are feared and hated. There are many beliefs in the Zulu tradition about snakes, which increases the fear. So many people just want to kill them! I'm doing my best to create an awareness about snakes here, and educate people so that they do not kill them. I started up a little initiative, which I'll post a link to at the bottom of the post. It focuses on other reptiles too, as well as amphibians.

I've been fortunate enough to have been called for some awesome animals. Below are some photos. *All animals are released into the nearest nature reserve.

I'll start off with a very special and beautiful snake...
Spotted Rock Snake (Lamprophis guttatus). One of South Africa's most beautiful snakes!

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Spotted Bush Snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus). An extremely common and harmless snake, which often gets killed as people confuse it for a Green Mamba.

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Southern Brown Egg-eater (Dasypeltis inornata)

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Brown House Snake (Boaedon capensis). This snake does an excellent job in keeping rodent populations down!

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Herald Snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboiea)

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Common Centipede-eater (Apparallactus capensis)

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Rhombic Night Adder (Causus rhombeatus)

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Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica). A bad tempered snake...

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Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis). My absolute favourite snake! Had some awesome encounters with them. Their reputation is just over exaggerated and unfair. They're just shy and nervous, and always want to escape.

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Here's one I removed from a shack in an area called Chatsworth. The snake had been living in the roof of the shack for ages with the people! They were desperate for someone to remove it. The kids were excited to be able to touch it!

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Here's another that was lying next to a pool...

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Hoping for a busy winter!

'To follow what I do, like my page 'KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation' on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/KZNHerpConserv ... =bookmarks

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Rothdigga
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Rothdigga » June 1st, 2015, 11:16 am

Great stuff Nick. Hope things are good!

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Nick Evans
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Nick Evans » June 4th, 2015, 4:25 am

Thanks Jason! :D

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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Antonsrkn » June 4th, 2015, 12:52 pm

Great post! Lots of beautiful snakes, hope to see them myself someday!
Their reputation is just over exaggerated and unfair. They're just shy and nervous, and always want to escape.
I have found this to be the case with various herps that have been demonized in popular culture (of the area they're found in atleast). Most recently with the Fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper), I have been hearing for years how dangerous and aggressive these snakes are and while I have come across a few over the years it wasn't until recently that I had an opportunity to see many of them over an extended period of time. They were just very skittish and always wanted to get away, nervous and shy not aggressive and out for blood like their reputation might suggest. I'm sure its the same with the mambas!

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Soopaman
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Soopaman » June 4th, 2015, 2:10 pm

Awesome stuff man. Lots of great snake photos here. There's a lot of those I hope to see one day!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Kelly Mc » June 4th, 2015, 2:42 pm

The disconnect is confounding.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » June 5th, 2015, 4:59 am

Beautiful species and photos! That Bush Snake is fantastic, and the second cobra shot is gorgeous! (Careful with the freehandling pix, though, some people might get the wrong idea.)

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Kelly Mc » June 5th, 2015, 7:17 am

That would be easily cleared up by watching the video.

The conservatory and education aspect is necessary. But people that hate and fear snakes do not notice things like the need to wrangle and grab gratuitously for pics of oneself.

If sprains or spinal injury occurs - some will say yeah but its only one mamba. Its for the good of all mambas so its fine.

That breaks down to: Helping mambas - even if we needlessly terrify and possibly injure each mamba we help.

Lovely footage and pics could be presented of the snakes being professionally managed into hold containment, with the "triumph" being the moment they are released. Without indignity or duress.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Kelly Mc » June 5th, 2015, 7:48 pm

In most strategy where an animal is extricated from a cluttered area, superfluous objects are quickly, completely Removed to clear the field of motion and vision, starting from the surface in -as quickly and quietly as time and status of animal allows. To rifle chaotically through objects left in the space as you are capturing isn't the protocol involving dangerous and not so dangerous animals. Proper holding containment is positioned where smooth transfer is enabled fast.

A claim could be made that I don't know what Im talking about - and that I wasn't there don't see what the situation called for. But No - a lightweight (but deadly)obstruction can be tossed out of the work space as speedily as it can be uselessly, impatiently knocked around to block flow.

It seems like eagerness is the dominant energy. That's worrisome.


Ive never caught a Mamba, but Ive been around and involved in my share of situations. The fact that they wernt Mambas would only matter if what I have described above isn't true.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by The Real Snake Man » June 6th, 2015, 12:59 am

Great shots. I don't entirely agree with Kelly on this one, assuming I understand what she means. If you're removing a mamba like you did there, I don't see how you can safely do that without handling it the way you did. You could have perhaps cleared things out of the way better, although that didn't seem to hinder you that much. However, you can't have held the snake and let other people touch it safely without getting it behind the head. I'm not a huge fan of that holding style, but it was really your only option. Also, to say that it wasn't worth it for the education value, I sorely disagree. I know a man named John Martin who told me a story of how a photographer friend of his was doing some photography of wildlife on a TX ranch on the western end of the range of the timber rattlesnake. The owners of the ranch had killed those rattlers for generations, but when he caught and restrained one and let the rancher and his family touch it and get a feel for how non-aggressive it was, they changed their philosophy on killing rattlers. It's important to not underestimate the power of friendly physical contact between humans and venomous snakes for changing people's minds about them. I know the ideal way of dealing with this situation is to somehow coax the mamba into a safe container without scaring it and then watch it slither into the wilderness in all its majesty, but to me that sounds unrealistic. Your method looked far from "chaotic" to me as it is. In this is a case, i.e. removing a snake from someone's home, I think it is acceptable to cause the snake a little more stress than I would typically condone. To be fair, though, I might feel differently tomorrow. I've averaged about 4-5 hours of sleep per night for the past week, and my judgment might very well be skewed because it's a fricking mamba. To be as clear as I can be right now: I don't think Kelly has said anything that is directly wrong and you should try to follow her advice; I just don't see what you could have done about it based on the video.

-Gene

PS: Kelly, I realize that I just wrote this as if I were talking to someone about you in the third person right in front of your face, which is rude. I didn't mean it that way. But I'm tired and I'm not going to fix it, I'm going to sleep. :)

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Kelly Mc » June 6th, 2015, 1:47 am

I did not mention the children touching the Mamba.

It didn't bother me that they were able to touch him.

It was other motives that were driven to the forefront repeatedly that could not be ignored that disregarded both the Mamba and the captors well being.

You wernt rude at all and never are Real Snake Man. And I don't mean to be either. A little rudeness especially when its actually raw earnesty is preferable to bystander apathy.

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Nick Evans
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Nick Evans » June 6th, 2015, 9:10 am

The Real Snake Man, thanks for the feedback. :) Glad you and Hans Breuer (and others) like the pics :thumb:

Restraining the mamba behind the head is the safest way for snake and handler. Any other way is dangerous. By trying to force it into a bucket or something using tongs is probably going to cause severe damage to the snake. As soon as the tongs touch them, they thrash around. That's why when I use tongs, I grab them about a quarter down the body, and they quickly reverse and then I have the head secured with my hand. It takes seconds. Also, if you're just using tongs without securing the head with your hand, there's a good chance that the mamba will get loose and then there's a problem.

And yes, education is an absolute must. People in South Africa are probably more afraid of snakes than anywhere else in the world, as there's many Zulu beliefs and legends, which cause fear and hate for snakes. People have no respect for snakes. I'm trying to change it. I have friends in KZN who have caught mambas for over 20-30 years, on a weekly basis. We all do it the same way.

Also, a shift box/ hide box or something similar, where you would coax the snake into, would not be an easy task for a mamba. It's impossible a lot of the time, as they're in roofs or in a tree etc.

Lastly, I do not pose for a glory pic. Obviously excited homeowners take photos to show their friends what they had in their house or garden, and it's a happy moment for oneself. It's not something you can get bored of. It's a nice memory if you will. It's like going on holiday and being in any photo with something iconic behind you. It's my absolute passion and I love nothing more than removing mambas from homes. Also, there's no glory pic to be taken at a release, as I just open the bucket and tip the mamba out, where it shoots off into the bush.

Kelly Mc, you often seem to be negative about my posts, or find something to complain about. Eagerness maybe, but when you're in trying to catch a mamba, adrenaline levels go through the roof. There are no other motives when catching a mamba for me. I go into safely remove the snake without causing harm to the snake or myself, and educate anyone in sight. I'm doing it because it's my passion and I would like people to respect snakes. I'm not looking to cause an argument with you, just straightening things out. Please refrain from commenting on any future posts of mine.

I post here for other forum members interests, and to show off South Africa's snakes and what goes on around here. I know most appreciate it and enjoy the African posts.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Kelly Mc » June 6th, 2015, 9:46 am

Very well thought out reply.

Its often forgotten that the participaters of a thread are not the only persons who share a view of agreement or contention. Many read that do not post, and often posts are subjective, and support withheld or criticisms given on a basis of popularity, or sense of group think.

I don't respond in that format, so I can't promise anything.

MCHerper
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by MCHerper » June 6th, 2015, 10:01 am

Nick,

I absolutely love the pictures! The spotted bush snake is beautiful, and that photograph of a spitter should be on someone's wall (I'll volunteer mine!).

Also, I think that what you are doing is terrific. You've got your boots on the ground, and are educating people on the benefits of snakes, all while doing something that you have a passion for-good for you!

One day I would like to visit Africa. I've actually got Kenya on my bucket list, but if you are still doing this in the future, and if I can make it to South Africa, I would hope one day to visit and shake your hand if you are willing to have a guest.

Keep up the good work.

MC

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Nick Evans
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Post by Nick Evans » June 6th, 2015, 10:20 am

Thanks very much MC Herper! Really appreciate it :thumb:

You have to visit Africa! Kenya is on my wishlist too, East Africa looks amazing, and seems so diverse in all forms of wildlife! And yes, if you ever head down to South Africa let me know! Would be cool to do some herping missions!

Cheers
Nick

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