OK, so I handle snakes daily, so what’s the big deal?
But, it’s not every day you get paid to go to the beach in Qld, but that’s what happened last week.
A mad weekend of snake shows, reptile parties and catching snakes, gave way to Monday in Shepparton at a school, doing hands on reptile displays in Melbourne with the kids, and more of the same for Tuesday, this time in Frankston, before rushing to the airport to fly to Queensland, along with a case of venomous and Australia’s only vet certified surgically devenomized snakes.
Dropped in to Mooloolabah, where the staff at the local marine wildlife rescue wanted me to teach them how to deal with the venomous snakes they get brought in.
You see, people catch brown snakes on the beach and call them out to catch “sea snakes” not realising these are the deadly land dwelling equivalents.
Yes, they get the marine variety as well.
So besides teaching them how to handle the snakes without getting killed, I had to go quite a bit further.
These people want to rehabilitate and even legally keep sea snakes, and so it was important that they could handle the snakes without breaking bones or injuring them.
This ruled out the use of killer snake tongs, hard metal sticks and the like and that’s why they wanted hands on reptiles handling that only snakebusters could offer.
That’s also why they paid the extra to get experts up from Melbourne, rather than dealing with less experienced local snake handlers who use killer back breaking snake tongs and other “remote” handling methods that end up killing the snakes.
Besides teaching the marine aquarium people to handle snakes, they also got taught the essential requirements in terms of keeping them alive in the long term.
They got guidance to solve ongoing issues of snakes potentially not feeding (usually too cold in the tanks, it seemed), potential parasite infestations and treatments and other husbandry issues.
These people seemed pretty switched on anyway, so it was good talking to a group with expertise with animals and pushing their knowledge further.
After being shown how to handle fully venomous Eastern Brown snakes, the group of students then got a once in a lifetime opportunity to free handle the world’s deadliest snakes, in the form of Inland and Coastal Taipans (and others, like Death Adders).
Yes, we’d taken some of our world famous devenomized snakes up to de-demonize them, prove they are not killing machines as depicted on TV shows, and the staff loved them.
Of course, had this been in Victoria, I’d have been locked up, because a novice demonstrator and Zoo’s Victoria have corruptly leant on the local (similarly corrupt) wildlife department to stop us handing devenomized snakes out to people for any reason, because as they put it, “it gives Snakebusters an unfair commercial advantage”.
We say, why not get the others to raise their standards instead?
Anyway, forget the false claims by inexperienced rivals of venom regeneration, as all the snakes have been tested as “clean” six years after being cut up.
And as for the continued false claims of mass carnage, of people who handle venomoids and then go bush and grab venomous snakes, forget them as well. After 7 long years, it hasn’t happened yet!
Anyway, we have more Queensland snake handling courses in the pipeline, as well as a South Australia snake handling course, a Western Australia snake handling course and even a New Guinea Snake course.
We even teach Asian snake handlers and do an Asia venomous snake handling course.
Snake handling courses in Australia range from good to bad, and it’s no coincidence that Snakebusters reptile courses are regarded as Australia’s best reptiles courses.
We can’t teach everyone how to handle snakes, so for those shopping for a snake training course, I say, check the credentials of your teacher and snake course information before you part with your hard earned money and risk being taught things the wrong way!
Cheers from the Snakeman Raymond Hoser