Next Gen Herpetologist

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On the 27th of March 2019, I did a chameleon presentation for members of the Men’s League in Grahamstown. It was the second time I had addressed the group as I had spoken to the group a year before on the ‘Snakes of Grahamstown’. This time around I spoke about chameleons, their biology, and the different species found throughout South Africa. I capped the talk off with a short discussion of the… Read More

On the 12th of February 2019, I did a snake presentation for members of the Port Alfred Garden Club at the Port Alfred Gold Club. The talk was well received with over 50 people attending on the day. I spoke about the common and endemic species of snake found in the Albany area, and what to do if one encounters a snake in their daily lives. In addition to detailing the snakes… Read More

On 16 December 2018, I ventured to Morgans bay, Eastern Cape for one night in search of as many as ‘herps’ as I could find. Whilst I was keen to see anything, I was particularly keen to see the regionally endemic Kentani Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion kentanicum), that calls Morgans Bay home. I stayed at the beautiful Yellowwood Forest Campsite, http://www.yellowwoodforest.co.za/, and managed to find many species of reptile and frog on the… Read More

Another great blog entry by Jessica Evans, that explains what to do if you get bitten by a snake, and the effects of the different types of snake venoms found in South Africa. https://www.bite-sizedsci.com/single-post/2019/04/15/What-do-I-do-if-I-get-bitten-by-a-snake-how-venom-works

From the 20th to the 23rd of September, last year, myself and nine other researchers, set off for the Sneeuberg, in search of South Africa’s most elusive adder, the plain mountain adder (Bitis inornata). The trip was organised by the Bionerds (Keir and Alouise Lynch) and was attended by myself, Luke Kemp, Jo Buggs Balmer, Justin Rhys Nicolau, Gary Kyle Nicolau, Adriaan Jordaan, Christiaan Klippies Steenkamp and Faansie Peacock. Plain Mountain Adder… Read More

Southern Africa plays host to just over 150 different species of frog. In the Eastern Cape you can find approximately 32 different species of frog. All but five species have been listed below. These include The Giant Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus), Natal-leaf Folding Frog (Afrixalus spinifrons), Hogsback Chirping Frog (Anhydrophryne rattrayi), Sharp-nosed Grass Frog (Ptychadena oxyrhynchus) and Hewitt’s Ghost Frog (Heleophryne hewitti). For more information on each species, click on their names. African… Read More

On Sunday the 5th of February I hosted the first critter walk of 2019. Unlike previous critter walks, this one was geared towards collecting food for the Grahamstown branch of the SPCA. The event was well received, with quite a few people coming on the day and donating dog and cat food. The day started out with a short snake demonstration, in which I showcased some of the snakes I had captured… Read More

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

From the 2nd to the 6th of October 2018 I joined Werner Conradie (Head Curator of Herpetology at Port Elizabeth Museum) for a herping expedition to western Kwazulu Natal. We joined a crew of scientists from all over the country in an effort to find as many animals as we could, as part of large scale forest-focussed project, headed by Stellenbosch University. Whilst other scientific groups were tasked with finding snails, birds,… Read More

I am honoured to announce that this year I received the Laura Starke Memorial Bursary Award for the second time. Unlike many bursaries that focus on academic merit, this bursary is special in the sense that it takes more than ones’ academic achievements into account when selecting a candidate. For this reason I am incredibly grateful to receive this award because it represents the acknowledgement of the sum of my efforts within… Read More

On the 12th of October I accompanied EOH (Coastal and Environmental Services) to Peddie to do an informal talk on snake awareness for workers of the Eastern Cape Roads Service. In Peddie, work is underway to improve the road infrastructure of the area. Unfortunately, human-snake conflict is high due to the remote and wild settings the workers find themselves in. I was called in to help mitigate the conflict by teaching the… Read More

On Monday, the 1st of October I delivered a snake talk to COSATU Project Management Delegates from Rhodes Business School, at the the National English Literary Museum (NELM). The talk dealt with snake identification and myths and was followed by a short section on snakebite treatment. The talk was well received and at the end, a large portion of the delegates took the opportunity to handle and interact with the snakes that… Read More

from the 13th to the 16th of August I attended the Joint SANBI Biodiversity Information Management & Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) Forum in Cape St Francis. I attended the conference with my supervisor Dr Shelley Edwards (Lecturer Rhodes University) and we were joined by my co-supervisor; Werner Conradie (PE Museum Head Herpetological Curator) and friend; Theo Busschau (Masters Student Stellenbosch University). The conference was well-attended with over a hundred delegates from… 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.

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 August the 24th I attended at the ECPTA (Eastern Cape Parks Tourism Association) Field Rangers Day at Thomas Baines Nature Reserve, to showcase some of the reptiles found in the Albany area. I represented ZEML (Zoology and Entomology Molecular Lab) along with my supervisor; Dr Shelley Edwards and my lab colleague Anthony Evlambiou. We were also joined by members of CBC (Centre for Biological Control), who showcased some of the invasive… Read More

Whether you call them whip snakes, grass snakes or sand snakes, what these snakes all have in common is that they are slender, gorgeous and lightning quick. This post is dedicated to all the snakes from the sub-family Psammophiinae, that are found in the Eastern Cape. This group is large and incredibly diverse, with members of this sub-family being found from the tip of South Africa, all the way to India. While… Read More

At midday on the 1st of August I travelled to Pumba Private Game Reserve, about 20km from Grahamstown, and presented a talk on the ‘Frogs and Lizards of Albany’ for Rangers working at the reserve. The talk started with a short summary of both reptiles and frogs, and was followed by tips on how to identify the frogs, lizards and tortoises found in the area. The talk was well received and at… Read More