|Snakeman Jim at Snake Temple, Penang Island 1989.|
|Sea snake we almost stepped on in New Caledonia! 1994.|
Walk noisily, use a torch at night, carry a long stick, walk in clear pathways, avoid long dry grassy areas. Almost all snakes will move away from you- they don't want trouble, just a meal, and you're too big for them.
So since a few have killed, we persecute them all.
Meantime more people die from bee stings or horse riding accidents!
My hands on experience with snakes started in China 1984. Early days for tourists into China, and hardly anyone spoke English then. We toured for a day from Macau, then a Portuguese colony. We were taken to a city centre market where snakes were being sold for medicinal purposes. I'm not very keen on Traditional Chinese Medicine's exploitation of wildlife, in fact I find it deplorable with today's insatiable demand for any animal thought to have some beneficial quality. That's an issue we'll go into at another date.
Anyway, this very experienced world traveller walks up to the Chinese snake vendor and asks-
|Snakeman in Guangzhou, China 1984. What a cool looking dude...the snake that is!|
Snake vendor gives me snakes to handle. They felt incredibly smooth, sinewy, and muscular with great strength rippling through their long bodies as they glided up from my hands and wrapped their bodies around my arms. I was fascinated, enjoying their beauty. My horrified wife did manage to snap a few photos.
"Thank you for letting me hold them.You can put them back now."
We wander off along the market street. I 'm telling my wife how exciting the whole adventure was. Kay says "The whole time you spoke to that man, he only ever answered yes!"