Looking For Snakes And Reptiles

English: Rough-scaled snake

English: Rough-scaled snake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are not many places in the world that haven’t been colonised by snakes and other reptiles. Snakes are even to be found in cities, although it is only the friendlier ones that tend to survive human wrath. However, if you want to find some of the more uncommon snakes, you could look in parks and fields, on beaches or in rivers and ponds and even in the sea, depending on where you live, of course as sea snakes tend to inhabit warmer, tropical waters.

You will have to be wide awake and train your eyes to notice even the slightest movement. Wear clothes of dull, drab colours and move very slowly, stopping often to listen out for movement in the grass or bushes. In the beginning, you will have many false starts, until you learn to tell the difference between the sounds of the various animals that live or hunt in the grass.

Snakes are difficult to find. Most of the adventurous snakes get killed by frightened (and often ignorant) humans, but a good tip is to look for relatively damp areas in arid regions and, conversely, dry spots in damp areas. Look for where their prey might congregate. For instance, near water for toads and frogs. Watch for frightened lizards or birds fleeing for all they are worth. And listen for geckos warning each other of the presence of a predator.

If you have to move anything, at least don’t damage it and make sure you put it back as you found it. Two useful tools while out looking for snakes are binoculars (for tree snakes) and a snake-hook, which should also be used for moving bits of debris so that you don’t risk getting bitten by a snake or stung by a scorpion. A camera, a torch and a notebook and pen are more or less essential, depending on how seriously you treat your interest in herpetology.

You might also take a rule or tape to measure your specimens and a few plastic bags and boxes to hold them while you are doing so. However, do not harm anything and do not take anything away with you either! Apart from it not being right to walk into their territory and cause them harm, it is frequently against the law too. Be very wary of picking up any snake that you cannot definitely identify as non-poisonous. You could be miles from anywhere and will probably not have any anti-venom with you. Since many snakes can kill within 30 minutes, you would almost certainly die.

So, to summarize, go looking for snakes by all means. However, make your search slowly and wear camouflaged clothing. Moreover, wear strong, hiking boots to give you some protection where you are most vulnerable and do not disturb anything you don’t have to. Use a snake-hook to move things if you have to; a tape, torch, camera, notebook and pen to record your experience and/or findings and a couple of clear plastic receptacles just in case you feel the need to pick something up.

I hope you really enjoy your hunt for snakes and other reptiles, but always bear in mind that snakes are not friendly and they are definitely not pets, so be on your guard against snake bites especially if your search is not taking place in the gardens of a hospital!

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