reptile education from Melbourne

reptile education from Melbourne

reptile education from Melbourne, Australasian Journal of herpetology

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reptile party

reptile party

Melbourne reptileparty

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Melbourne parties

Melbourne parties

reptile parties Melbourne

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In a few weeks I fly off to the Gold Coast Queensland, but in the meantime, here in Melbourne, the weather is hot and the snakes are out and about so the snakeman is catching them.

It’s Christmas eve in 2011 and the temperature is somewhere near about 30 Deg C, although I think the sea breeze has kicked in to reduce the worst of it.

As I drive through Warrandyte on the edge of Melbourne, Victoria to catch a snake that’s disturbed children playing by a swimming pool, I soon find myself rescuing yet another Tiger Snake from a shovel.

Melbourne’s had a fairly average December, in terms of average temperatures, but I must say, it hasn’t seemed particularly warm to me.

Yesterday (23 December) I had eight people calling Snakebusters wanting us to remove snakes from their properties.

Yes it was hot day of nearly 30 Deg C.

I only actually did two of the call-outs.

The rest were either given to other licenced snake catchers, or in some cases the people were talked out of getting anyone to remove the snakes.

You see, when a snake is seen disappearing under a back fence, or similar, it’s often better just to let them do that!

Let them dissapear and you will probably never see them again.

As the snake man give out this advice a lot and people are surprised that I am talking them out of paying me to come to their place to remove a reptile.

However I am ethical and there’s no way I’d come to a person’s place if I didn’t think I had a reasonable chance of catching the snake.

One call out I had this week was to remove a Brown Snake living under a boulder in a garden at Plenty, a bushland suburb in Melbourne’s northern outskirts, near Greensborough.

We had a bobcat earth mover and other gear and unexpectedly we were still unable to move the massive Basalt Boulder.

The rock was well and truly “stuck”in the ground.

Brown snakes are not stupid.  They know where to hide and not get caught!

Not all the time, but yes, if any snake knows where to get good real estate to live in, then it’s a Brown Snake.

Brown Snakes are very common across Australia and due to their uninteresting colours and venomous nature are rarely kept as pets, studied or even liked by so-called reptile enthusiasts.

As the world’s leading researcher on these snakes, I have a different view and find them intelligent (by snake standards) and this view is reflected among snakes themselves, with Brown Snakes pushing most other venomous snakes around in the context of who goes where in Victoria.

I few years back I published a ground-breaking paper on social hierarchies in snakes.

As the snake man, in a few weeks I am going to the Gold Coast Queensland to do a snake handling course and no doubt the phones will be ringing hot again for snake calls in Melbourne.

You see the weather is hot and the snake calls come in, whenever I leave my home town.

Usually I spend Christmas at home and this year is no different.  With Melbourne anticipating a forecast high of about 30 Degs C, it is likely I’ll have a few snake calls on Christmas day.  If I don’t get a snake call out on Christmas day, I feel somewhat ripped-off.

As one who’s been doing snake call outs for decades, it really is a way of life!

As for the Melbourne kids part of things, well my kids have been with me for the last few days catching snakes and when I die, I am sure they will do their bit for wildlife conservation.

That’s when they finally get over those other kids hobbies like paying on skate boards and the new kinds that flex in the middle.

All the best from the snake man

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Queensland Snake man

Gold coast snake man

Recently the snake man did a snake hander course for a company based near the Gold Coast, near Brisbane, Queensland.

Raymond Hoser, taught a number of staff from South Africa owned company, Cape Scaffolding to show them how not to get killed by snakes.

So after a busy weekend of gigs including snake shows, reptile displays at major events, birthday parties and the like, giving way to a Monday at a school incursion or perhaps a day in the office with a mass of reptiles waiting to be fed and cleaned.

This week was slightly different.

After a very particularly busy weekend of events and the like, the fantastic staff went out to a well-earned break at a local Thai Restaurant, ending near midnight, with everyone going home to bed after that.

Except for me of course.

Back home I had to unload three lots of venomous reptiles, harmless ones and frogs, about 90 in total, and then clean all the cages in the place.

After that I had to feed some baby Tiger Snakes, Death Adders, Crocodiles and Rough-scaled pythons.

Then I loaded boxes of snakes into a carry case and off I went to the airport.

Shortly thereafter I was teaching the Gold Coast residents about snake catching, snake safety, reptile awareness, snake capture, wildlife education and all else that matters when it comes to the snake man teaching gold coast people what they need to know.

I had brought a load of Brisbane, Queensland snakes to the company’s factory to teach the Surfers Paradise locals about snakes and snake handling.  Since the time I lived on the Gold Coast in the 1980’s I’ve been known as the Queensland Snake Man.

The Death Adders I had with me were four year olds who had bred a year earlier.  They had been brother and sister.  Their parents were held by Andrew Lowry of Melbourne.  He’d got them as babies from Rob Valentic, who in turn had bred the adults in the mid 1990’s. 

Well, at least I didn’t have to drive down roads at night to find and catch snakes!

It was the first time ever, vet certified surgically devenomized snakes had been used to teach Gold Coast people how to handle snakes and safely.

The course was to teach the men and women how to catch and relocate unwanted snakes without injuring either the snakes or the people.

For that purpose the teachers at this business had searched Australia for Australia’s best reptile teachers and scored with the snake man Ray Hoser and Snakebusters, the only teachers with more than 30 years verifiable expertise and the only hands on reptiles course teachers.

Another outfit from Victoria had offered to come and teach these people, but when they realized they’d been lied to about the alleged expertise of this so-called snake handler, they pulled the pin on them.

Five years of snake handling and the purchase of a $70 business name does not make you a reptile expert … even if you erect a website saying the same.

To cut a long story short, the course was a roaring success.

Half a dozen people got to learn how to handle and catch the world’s deadliest snakes and in complete safety.

The snakes were also unharmed and continue their day job of live reptile shows in Melbourne to educate others about snakes and de-demonize them.

When we teach people about snakes in our snake handling courses we don’t come out with the total rubbish that these snakes are mean or nasty and want to kill every human they see. 

Instead, we say it as it is.  That is, snakes really aren’t interested in people and they don’t spend every waking our wanting to kill us.

Anyway, my sleeping room was christened on the first night, when two Death Adders had a NT

Unfortunately I’ve had not much time of late to catch critters even though the weather’s been really goo.

We have more bookings for Australia’s only hands-on snake handling courses including more people wanting us from the Gold Coast and elsewhere interstate.

Recently we’ve trained a number of people from outside Australia for snake catching courses and non-Australian inquiries remain common.

Among our marketing advantages are that only Snakebusters is owned by Australia’s Snake Man, namely myself (Ray Hoser) and we are the only people who always put the welfare of the reptiles first.

One of our recent customers mentioned that they wanted us to teach them how to catch snakes in Melbourne, because we were the only snake handing courses teachers in Melbourne who do not advocate the use of “Killer tongs” to handle snakes.  This customer said “I want to learn how to be a snake handler and NOT a snake killer!”

As for these people we saw at the Queensland firm, well, they already want us back to teach people we missed in the first course, so I may be back on the Gold Coast or elsewhere in Queensland for another snake handling course, sooner than I think!

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New attacks on the rights of Victorians to have access to reptiles

 “Hands on” reptile displays under attack in 2011 

In Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, everyone knows that Snakebusters, are the leaders when it comes to “hands-on” kids reptile parties in Melbourne, mobile reptile parties and live animal shows.  Most people know that in Melbourne, Snakebusters are alone in letting people hold reptiles during their wildlife shows.

Other less experienced companies demonise reptiles and tell audiences that snakes and other reptiles are far too dangerous and unpredictable to handle.

These handlers, then “big note” themselves and their alleged handling skills, pretending that they are far beyond the ability of pretty much everyone else but themselves.

That these statements are bare-faced lies is shown by the fact that world-wide there are millions of people keep snakes and other reptiles as pets and they tend to handle the reptiles daily and without killing either themselves or their reptiles.

Since 2006, two newly licenced and very inexperienced demonstrators and two staff at the government-run Melbourne Zoo (“Zoo’s Victoria”) have been waging a bitter and twisted campaign to demonise Snakebusters and the hands-on reptile shows the company does.

The motivation is purely commercial as these people try to steal the customers and business Snakebusters has captured via their superior displays and presentations.

The novice demonstrators are Sean McCarthy, with no snake keeping experience pre-dating 2005 (and this is by his own admission on internet forums and the like) and the similarly inexperienced novice Michael Alexander, with slightly more expertise than McCarthy.

McCarthy calls his outfit “the snake handler” which is an odd name as he uses metal snake tongs to grab snakes, rather than actually “handling” them.  Alexander calls his company “Black snake productions” and he too attacks snakes with metal sticks.

The two novices and two staff from Melbourne Zoo have made a series of sworn statements for legal proceedings and posts on internet forums they control demonizing Australia’s Snake man Raymond Hoser, Snakebusters and pretty much anything to do with allowing kids or adults to hold reptiles during educational reptile displays.

Yes, they all demonize reptiles more than even the most dramatic of B-grade hollywood flicks.

The arguments they have stated (paraphrased here) include:

1 – No one should be allowed to touch or handle a snake at a reptile show, because the public are all idiots and they will rush into the bush the next day, pick up a deadly snake and kill themselves.

For the record, this has never happened in the wake of a Snakebusters show, but the argument about “sending the wrong message” is peddled daily against Snakebusters in a manner that broadly equates Raymond Hoser with a serial mass-murderer!

2 – In terms of lizards, these ratbags argue that while non-venomous, lizards are biological nightmares, with many bites leading to infection and death.  This includes for species such as Bluetongue lizards.  Melbourne Zoo veterinarian, Helen McCracken made such statements numerous times on oath in legal proceedings in 2011 and was believed by the magistrate Greg McNamara, who by his own admission knew nothing about reptiles!  For the record, no one has ever been killed by a bluetongue lizard!

3 – For Crocodiles, the argument is the same pack of lies as for snakes.  That is, if a kid holds a crocodile at a mall with Snakebusters, the kid is a sure-fire bet to go to Darwin, swim in the nearest river and get eaten by a big Saltwater Crocodile.  PS No Victorians have been eaten by crocs over the last ten years!

Even our advice to “swim next to a fat person so they get eaten first” is more sensible.

(…Question, do crocs eat Asian food?, Question 2, Was the last question racist?)

4 – For frogs, the argument is simple.  Kids who hold green tree frogs are bound to eat Cane Toads on their next Gold Coast holiday!

Put simply, the arguments raised by these people are ridiculous and dishonest.  The commercial motiviation behind all this is to undermine the leading hands-on reptile shows by Snakebusters so that Melbourne Zoo and these second rate reptile displayers can take the people who currently prefer to deal with experts who provide proper hands-on reptile education.

Most seriously, corrupt officers within the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) who work with Melbourne Zoo in the same Ministerial umbrella and have a corrupt relationship with the other two demonstrators (and ignore their repeated breaches of the law) have used these statements to charge Snakebusters with the “offence” of allowing people to hold reptiles at shows in shopping malls, a kid’s reptile party, Melbourne animal parties, Melbourne snake shows, Victorian reptile displays, kids events and the like.

Because the Victorian Wildlife Act in it’s preamble states that it’s purpose is to give public access to wildlife, Snakebusters hands-on shows are in fact legal. This is in spite of claims to the contrary and in spite of corrupt magistrate Greg McNamara finding that Snakebusters had broken the law in allowing people to hold reptiles (in Feb 2011) during shows at various venues over previous years.

However as of 2011, DSE have now stated in writing that they are now revising reptile laws and based on comments made at VCAT in 2008 and since, it seems likely that both private ownership of reptiles and any form of “hands-on” in live reptile displays will both be banned in 2012.

The Minster in charge of DSE, Ryan Smith has absolutely no control over DSE or inclination to intervene and so it seems likely that the bans may come to fruition without a hard-fought battle.

Please note that, Raymond Hoser and all the other staff at Snakebusters will be leading the fight for the rights of the Victorian public and be pushing for the retention of “hands-on” reptile shows and the right of private people to have reptiles as pets.

Be warned, the enemies of private reptile keepers and those who want hands on reptile shows include Jon Birkett and Helen McCracken at Melbourne Zoo, as well as novice snake handlers Michael Alexander and Sean McCarthy.

All have made public statements condemning hands-on reptile shows and all by their actions have also put the rights of all reptile-keeping Victorians at risk.

Private ownership of reptiles was a jailable offence for most Australians for the two decades to the mid 1990’s.  It was only as a result of Raymond Hoser’s single-handed campaign, culminating in the publication of the “Smuggled” books in 1993 and 1996 by publisher Charles Pierson (for the first and most important of the two books) that forced governments Australia-wide to allow private ownership of reptiles as pets and also hands-on reptile shows in schools, kinder reptile shows, children’s reptile parties, reptile incursions and the like.

These hard won rights that Victorians currently enjoy are now at risk of being lost forever.

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