Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Postby Nick Evans » Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:21 pm

Hi guys

Thought I'd post something a bit different about snakes, not herping, but education.

Over the past few months, my full-time job has pretty much been snake education. I have been travelling around the province of KwaZulu-Natal, teaching people about our amazing indigenous snake species.

There are so many myths, legends and beliefs about snakes in South Africa, all of which put snakes in a bad light. Most, of course, are completely false. They are feared animals, and are usually killed without hesitation. People here generally hate snakes, and that hate and fear has just been passed down through the generations. Snakes are extremely misunderstood, as they are in most parts of the world. Education can change that.

I started up a little programme called KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in February, in conjunction with the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization. The aim of the programme was to change people's perceptions of these feared animals, and to help them understand these animals. Hopefully then, they'll stop killing them. Snake removals is also a large part of what I do.

I have visited rural townships, orphanages, old age homes, interest groups, quarries (who's staff often encounter snakes), schools and a whole lot more! I have held snake awareness and identification talks for kids, as well as adults. It's been a fun experience, and I have learnt a lot about the beliefs people have about snakes. It's amazing to see the change in people. Once they get used to the sight of a person holding a snake, and knowing that it won't kill them instantly, they quickly become interested and fascinated. Most people generally become brave enough to touch or even hold one of the snakes!

I do use venomous snakes in my talks, in a responsible way. People NEED to know which are the venomous ones, more so than the harmless. Most of them only know of the venomous species, so it's good for them to get a look at the infamous snakes.

Below are some photos.

Kids snake talks:

Puff Adder
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Forest Cobra, Africa's largest cobra species.
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Mozambique Spitting Cobra
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Some photos from rural townships!

Mozambique Spitting cobras are infamous amongst Zulu communities. It's locally known as 'Mfezi'. (P.S, it's a long hook)
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Harmless Brown House Snake
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EISH!!
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My fiancée often joins me on educational visits.
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Puff Adders are also infamous in the Zulu culture. It is known as 'iBululu'
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Educating municipal workers, who are often out in the field clearing alien invasive plants etc. (Pictured below is a Night Adder)

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I also did a talk for a group of students from the U.K. Here they are getting a look at another infamous species, the gorgeous Green Mamba.

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House Snakes at a children's shelter...

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O.O
----

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Took some snakes to a hospice, a place for those suffering with cancer.

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Went to educate the elderly at an old age home!

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Even the staff became brave...well, sort of.

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One morning, while releasing some snakes that I removed from home, in a nature reserve, a passer-by was interested in what I was doing and came to investigate. He was thrilled!

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I also go to fairs/market days with a 'snake stand'.

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Educating some young scholars with a Puff Adder in a tube!

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I visited a few quarries around the province. The staff frequently encounter snakes on a daily basis, so it's important that they learnt about them.

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The Vine Snake (Thelotornis capensis). Known in Zulu as 'uKhokhoti'

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Class time!

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While removing snakes from homes, I often encourage the homeowners to come and get a closer look at the snake, or even touch it. In this case, a Black Mamba

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Thanks all for looking!

To follow what I do, you can like my page KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian & Reptile Conservation on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/KZNHerpConservation
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Re: Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Postby Mitton » Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:30 pm

Awesome stuff Nick, well done. The pic with the boy and BHS is great!
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Re: Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Postby Dasydude » Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:48 pm

Not sure how common Dasypeltis are in your area but I find they make superb educational animals. Keep up the good work!
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Re: Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Postby Westley Price » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:24 pm

Great work Nick.

It's education like this that's saving one snake at a time.
"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Postby Nick Evans » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:21 am

Thank you very much everyone!

Dasydude, I like them too! I talk about them a lot. D.scabra are not really found around Durban, more the midlands and Zululand. We get D.inornata, need to get hold of a big one to show people!

Thanks again.
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Re: Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Postby reptile » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:43 pm

Dude you are amazing!!! Well done for putting so much effort into what you do!!!
85% of all snakes are harmless!!!!
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Re: Snake education in KwaZulu-Natal

Postby Nick Evans » Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:07 pm

Thanks so much reptile :-D :-D
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