Next Gen Herpetologist

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From the 5th to the 8th of February I took part in the Albany Museum, ‘Reptile Week’, in which I presented snake demonstrations to over 550 students in just four days. Although tiring, the experience was incredibly rewarding with many kids taking the opportunity to touch and interact with a snake for the first time in their lives. Most of the students were younger than nine years old and thus I opted… Read More

On wednesday the 14th of November I hosted the last snake demonstration of 2018 in front of the Rhodes University, on Barratt lawns. The demo was incredibly well-attended with over fifty coming along on the day. At the snake demo I showcased all the snakes that I had removed from Grahamstown properties the week before. Because of the warm weather that preceded the demo, the talk was also well-attended. So much so… Read More

I am proud to announce that I am no longer a Masters of Science student (MSc), as I have recently upgraded to being a PhD candidate. What this basically means is that I forgo masters and go straight to doctorate level. The work that I have been doing, in completion of my MSc, will now be adjusted, modified and expanded upon, to create a PhD dissertation that I will hopefully submit the… Read More

Two thousand and eighteen was an eventful year for me because not only have I made huge strides in my professional career, but I have also managed to make a sizable impact on the larger Grahamstown community through my ever expanding snake awareness program. In recognition of my contribution to the city, I was nominated for two prestigious awards by Rhodes University; namely the Rhodes Community Engagement Award and the Rhodes Environmental Award. Although… Read More

At the beginning of  2018, myself and Luke Kemp joined the Rhodes ZEML (Zoology and Entomology Molecular Lab) herpetological cross-country fieldtrip. The trip saw us adventuring throughout South Africa, in search of frogs and reptiles alike. This first video details our time in Rhodes, a small town just south of Lesotho.

Field report from Myself and Luke Kemp’s West Coast trip Luke and I are aspiring herpetologists, currently under the supervision of Dr Shelley Edwards in the Zoology and Entomology Molecular Lab (ZEML). Our work, which, focusses on the herpetofauna of Southern Africa spans many orders and many more families, and while we love the hustle and bustle of the raucous molecular lab, that I myself have called home this year, we are… Read More

Last year myself and Luke kemp set off on our most ambitious herping adventure to date. The trip spanned eight days and over 3700km with us herping both the Western and Northern Cape. We found over 50 species of reptiles and frogs and this video series is dedicated to our best finds and our funniest moments. This is the fourth of four videos of our West Coast trip. This video focusses on… Read More

Last year myself and Luke Kemp ventured to St Francis in search of the regionally endemic salt marsh gecko (Cryptactites peringueyi). Courtney Hundermark joined us and it’s with his help that we managed to find the tiny gecko, along with a few other Eastern Cape reptile species.

On Sunday the 18th of march I hosted a private snake ‘walk and talk’ for the nature club of Graham High School. Although it was intended as a two part event, only the talk took place because of the bad weather conditions. Due to the cold weather, and the intermittent thunderstorms, we were unable to go out and explore the wilder parts of Grahamstown, in search of reptiles and frogs. Nevertheless, the… Read More

On Thursday the 1st of March I presented my masters research to the department in the form of a spoken presentation in the Zoology Department tea room. Although I still have a fare way to go before I complete my thesis, the talk was an awesome opportunity for me to show-off what I have done thus far. The abstract for the talk is printed below. Why ‘splitters’ are winners: a snakes tale… Read More

On sunday the 19th of November, myself and Luke Kemp hosted a snake awareness ‘walk and talk’ on mountain drive. The aim of the event was to expose the local Grahamstownian’s to the enormous herpetological diversity that the area has to offer. The day started off with a bit of ‘show and tell’ in the Rhodes Zoology and Entomology department parking with Grahamstown’s most venomous snake, the cape cobra (Naja nivea). Following… Read More

On friday the 17th of November, myself and Luke Kemp hosted a ‘Herpetofauna of Grahamstown talk in the Rhodes Zoology and Entomology tea room for members of the department. The talk discussed all the reptiles and frogs that can be found in Grahamstown and gave tips on how to distinguish morphologically-similar species. The talk also discussed basic snakebite treatment and was capped off with a short demonstration with live specimens. All in… Read More

On the 30th of August I attended a BioBlitz with EWT (Endangered Wildlife trust) near Hogsback, Eastern Cape. The aim of the trip was to find as may reptiles and frogs as we possibly could, with the main aim of finding the critically endangered Amatola Toad (Vandijkophrynus amatolicus). I am excited to say that we did in fact find the rarest frog in South Africa. We also managed to find several other… Read More

A few weeks back I performed two back-to-back snake talks at Victoria Girls High School with Luke Kemp. The aim of the talks were to expose  the Grade 11 students of the all-girl high school to the wonders of the reptile world. The talk, that ran for 30 minutes, consisted of general information about Grahamstown reptile diversity, followed by information pertaining to snake biology, taxonomy and snakebite awareness. The presentation was capped-off… Read More

This list is in no particular order and is based on what I have seen inside or very close to Grahamstown. Boomslang (Dispholidus typus typus) Size: 1.2-1.5m. Habits: Diurnal snakes which are found in a large variety of habitats, most commonly in trees and shrubs, but may descend to the floor to bask or find food. Diet: Chameleons, frogs, tree-living lizards, birds and occasionally rodents. Danger to man: The boomslang possesses a very dangerous haemotoxic venom… Read More

Amatola Flat Gecko (Afroedura amatolica) Family: Gekkonidae. Size: 10-12cm. Distribution: They are endemic to the Amatola mountain range of Eastern Cape. Description: Small flat gecko with large eyes and a fat segmented tail. Adults are uniform white/grey with black/brown mottling all over the body. Habits: A rock-dwelling (rupiculous) species that can be found in rock cracks, often in large aggregations, in areas with grassland and thicket. Reproduction: Egg-laying species that lays two hard-shelled eggs underneath… Read More

It’s not every day that you can say that you were part of the history of science, but for Luke Kemp and I, a warm summer night in Hluhluwe of this year was just one of those days. In January of this year, Luke and I attended the Herpetological Association of Africa Conference of Africa in Northern Kwazulu-Natal. In addition to presenting our work and learning of the developments in the field… Read More