A huge thank you to the Hoedspruit Reptile Centre for an exciting and educational interactive presentation!
Edward, a volunteer from Bournemouth university taking part in our Rural Community Placement got front row seats to watch Chris (the snake handler) deliver a brilliant demonstration into snake behaviour and awareness.
In addition to being a fun after school activity for the children, it was a valuable opportunity to learn about the animals they live along side here in South Africa.
In the classroom, the children are taught the basics about the dangers of snakes and what to do any how to act if one is seen.
Chris proves a point clearly and visually: Snakes will only bite as a LAST RESORT!
Asking for a volunteer's shoe, one brave child offers it up where it is placed on the end of Chris's snake catching pole. The shoe is then pressed on the snake to simulate someone unwittingly standing on it. Even then, the Puff Adder does nothing!
Chris explains how "most snake bites occur when the snake is attacked such as with a stick or in some cases boiling water" and the animal acts as any wild animal would, it defends itself.
Above: Chris introduces the children to a Snouted Cobra to show its threat display, its iconic enlarged neck!
Below: A Boomslang demonstrates how it wants to escape the situation and attempts to climb into the nearest tree.
All this helps remove fear and instead promote healthy respect and appreciation, vitally important to prevent human-wildlife conflict.
Children are also given the chance to touch a harmless Python to help challenge their fears and grow comfortable around these animals. The best way to keep people and animal populations safe here in the wilds of South Africa...
...and so poor Edward doesn't find snakes so scary he needs to have his eyes covered!