So many of our guests travel a long, long way for their ultimate Safari experience in Africa and more specifically, here with us at Kapama Private Game Reserve. They spend hours on flights, waiting at airports and long transfers to come live their ultimate dream of seeing the Big 5 and all the other big and hairy creatures that we have at Kapama. But how many people take a second think at the smaller creatures which inhabit this Lowveld region of South Africa?
All the birds and insects, spiders and scorpions and finally the snakes and reptiles all have their part in this play on Mother Nature’s grand stage. The snakes and reptiles fill our thoughts with images of scaly, slimy, legless creatures that make your skin crawl and give you the urge to scream or run a mile in the opposite direction at top speed. I think they are very much a misunderstood group of animals that have earned their place here. Without snakes we would have a serious rat and mouse problem. Some species like the Boomslang live in the trees and just love to eat things like birds and their young, thereby controlling their numbers too. These animals are not out to bite people, you are far too big for say a Cape File Snake to eat! I can promise you that these creatures are more afraid of you than you are of them.
The energy required for a snake to manufacture the venom in its body is immense. Why would they waste it on you who he can’t eat because you are too big for him and, ultimately, he sees you as a predator who could seriously make his day a bad one. Their first instinct is to flee. “Get away from this thing that might do me harm!” and its this instinct that saves them 99% of the time. Most snake bites come from snakes that are being handled by people. The venom is used to immobilize their prey so that they can feed and only as a last resort for defense.
We have a golden rule here which is never handle any venomous snake without the proper training and equipment. Yes we do find these creatures around the lodges and we do our best to safely remove them when they are encountered by people around the lodge, releasing them back in into the bush a long way from the lodge and people.
We must remember that we are merely the audience here, visitors that should take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints.
Until next time, be safe and bush greetings.
Story by: Paul Daniel