Saturday, July 20, 2013

... and in Other News ...


Stretch Moonman visited a few times while I was up North - here he displays a magazine article about him and Namibia's Deadliest Snakes.


Stretch catches a female Boomslang at my home where they are common residents.


A close-up of the Boomslang's large eyes and mouth, showing two sets of deadly back-fangs.

The venom is potently haemotoxic and can lead to human deaths if not treated with a specific anti-venom. Fortunately the Boomslang is a rather shy snake and is reluctant to bite.

After Stretch released it, it sped away and disappeared quickly into the long grass.


I ruined a great photo-op because I didn't check my camera settings - a Boomslang swallowing a Chameleon.

After the snake had bitten the Chameleon, the hapless creature turned black and died within a matter of minutes - above is one of the few pics I was able to salvage.


I was amazed when I found this massive spider under a large water tank which I had moved - the first time I've seen one of these creatures.


I placed a matchbox next to it in order to show the size of the Spider - when I'd finished photographing it, I picked it up (with a shovel) and placed it under some corrugated sheeting, safe from predatory birds.


I found this tiny snake on the patio - it's probably about 15cm long (6 inches) - I'm not sure whether it's a Beaked- or a Typical Blind Snake - these snakes spend most of their lives underground and feed on ants and termites.


I loaded some building rubble onto the pick-up and transported it to the dump site near town. When I arrived at the site a group of men, who make a living off the dump, ran up and started unloading the junk, looking for salvageable items.

I heard a commotion from the men who had found this Stowaway amongst the rubble in the back of the vehicle - they were about to kill it but I stopped them, telling them that it was my Friend and that I would take it back home - needless to say, they looked at me strangely as they muttered amongst themselves and shooed it to the front of the Pick-up..


The beautiful stowaway is an Ovambo Tree Skink and when we got home it allowed me to pick it up and transfer it to a safe spot - pics by Nadine.

My blog buddy, Botswanan Author Laurie Kubuitsile sent me a copy of her intriguing book 'In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and Other Stories'.

Laurie and I had come to an arrangement whereby she used one of my pics, taken from a blog post, on the cover of the book.

I felt so chuffed and proud - almost as if I'd written the stories myself ... :)


References:
Johan Marais - Reptiles Of Southern Africa
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28 comments:

  1. Graham that picture of the Boomslang swallowing the chameleon is amazing, at least you got one photo.

    I would never be able to pick up the lizards around here they are very fast, that skink obviously has no fear or they are naturally slow. I hate spiders and I think it may not have survived if I had found it!!

    I nearly took the head off a boomslang by mistake when pruning roses in good old Rhodesian days. I just realised what it was in the nick of time and moved on to the the next bush. Getting serum up from Jhb was not that quick in those days and the only place we could get it from. I was far happier about the many boomslangs on the farm than I was about the puff adders that crept into the house! The cats always gave us plenty of warning though.

    Have a good weekend, Diane

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  2. You have a good one too Diane ...

    I think the Skink was rather dazed 'n confused after the journey ... they usually duck out of sight when they see me ...

    Yeah, to me the Puff Adder is our most dangerous snake. It's the only snake I loathe because I've seen the effects of their venom - also they're lazy little landmines just waiting to be stepped on ...

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  3. Like your photo's, lots of spitting cobras in this are, leave them alone and they won't bother you.

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    1. Thanks Phillip - yeah, I generally leave them alone since I was zapped by one ... hope you're feeling healthy again

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  4. I'm not surprised she used your photo--they're ALWAYS wonderful!!

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    1. ... and you're always wonderful too ... thanks Fran :)

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  5. We had a cat once who was obsessed with garter snakes. He didn't bite or hurt them in any way, but picked them up. I believe he liked to feel them in his mouth. Occasionally he brought them into the kitchen so we could enjoy them, too.

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    1. Hehe ... that cat WAS weird hey Joanne - I've also known a few that do strange things ...

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  6. How great that she used your photo, it is a wonderful photo that I remember as one of the many that you have posted that shows the creativity of the people of Namibia. I am so glad you respect the lives of critters that many would kill on sight.

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    1. Thanks Inger - yes, it's the first time one of my pics have been used for anything ...

      ... the older I become the more reluctant I am to kill any living creature ...

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  7. Well I've never met a snake up close and personal out in the bush and I don't want to! Snakes are creatures I'm afraid of and I wouldn't have a clue which ones are poisonous and which ones are not. I guess the closest I came to a snake was a hike in the mountains about an hour from where my mother lives. I could hear the rattler snakes rattling in the brush as I climbed. Those are ones to watch out for around these parts.

    Your photo looks absolutely wonderful on Laurie's book. You have every right to feel "chuffed". Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Thanks Penny - it seems that Rattlers are similar to our Puff Adders ... I'm not too keen on Spiders but I realise that it's because I don't know much about them ...

      ... wishing you a great weekend too ...

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    2. Perhaps if I knew more about which snakes are poisonous and which ones aren't, I would not be so afraid of them. I was going through my niece's camera card when transferring some of my pics to her card and I saw that she had several pics with snakes. In one photo she was petting a snake and in other she was holding part of a very large, coiled snake. She didn't seem to be afraid of them and I presume (hope) they were not dangerous or the handler probably wouldn't allow her to hold one.

      Now spiders are an insect I am not afraid of though I realize there are dangerous spiders too. Many people seem to be very afraid of spiders.

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    3. yes indeed Penny - there are also untrue myths about them which fuel the fear ...

      ... I'm not afraid of Spiders but I don't like them ... it's something to do with the image of hairy little legs crawling over my skin ... eek!

      :)

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  8. Graham, I love your pictures.

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  9. Not a big fan of snakes. I think being out in the bush would require a good shake handling guide.
    great pictures

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    1. Yeah Bill ... probably the best protection is Knowledge ... and don't mess with them, especially if you're not sure ...

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    2. I agree. Hey I just noticed my typo in the comment. "Good shake handling guide" sounds funny. That gave me the idea of a snake shake guide. Many people do get the snake shakes. Nothing like a good typo.

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    3. Hehehe yeah I saw that Bill ... I've seen people get the snake shakes ... I've had them too ... :)

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  10. Hi Graham .. what amazing photos - despite your mini blip - your photos are always wonderful to see and bring back so many memories .. my closest encounter was with an adder/grass snake in Cornwall coiled up enjoying the sun - it was near some blackberries and little me aged 7 or so wanted said blackberries - oblivious to sleeping beauties! Put me off snakes for life .. and off running - never ran so fast again! Poor girl looking after us .. had to rush too with my brother in an elderly pushchair ... I stopped when I got down to the bus-stop!

    Your story brought so much of Africa back to me .. and now I must check out the book as it sounds very interesting .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary ... hehehe yeah ... incidents which occured when we were kids can affect us forever ... glad you escaped ... :)

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  11. Hi Graham, lovely photos and great information but snakes are not my thing in any way shape or form! I am always amazed that people like yourself can live calmly amidst them or at least the possibility of coming up close and personal with them, as you say it is education which helps!
    Congratulations on becoming a cover guy!I actually remember that post because sneakers/trainers slung over a line like that is code for drugs available near here!

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    1. Thanks Peggy - I must admit that I was not so blasé about snakes when my kids were young - but yes, being able to identify snakes does help (and saves a lot of snakes from being needlessly killed) ... they're invaluable in keeping the rodent population down ...

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  12. That Boomslang looks quite dangerous. I live in what is probably the only place in eastern North America where rattle snakes are quite common but our little Massassauga rattler, which is also haemotoxic, does not look very impressive compared to these. At least they rattle to let you know you are getting too close. Beautiful photos!

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    1. Thanks for your visit and comment Alain - yes, the Boomslang's venom is deadly but they're generally shy and, like most snakes, try to avoid humans ... Puff Adders scare me because they're lazy and won't move when they sense a person approaching ... they often get stepped on ... with horrific results.

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  13. Absolutely stunning pic's Graham as always ......... and they just got better with the years :)

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    1. Thanks for the visit & comment Gaby ... :)

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