Next Gen Herpetologist

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From the the 9th to the 13th of September 2019, I attended the 14th Herpetological Conference of Africa in Cape St Francis, Eastern Cape. It was my second HAA, and my word was it fun. I got to meet old friends, and make new ones, I got to meet great herpetologists and for a brief moment, got to feel like a great when one the fans of Snakes and Their Mates asked… Read More

At a celebratory function on Tuesday 25 September 2019, I received the Environmental Award (Individual Category) for my contribution to the Grahamstown environmental community through my snake awareness talks, critter walks and school demonstrations. In addition to my certificate I received a very unique and beautiful floating trophy that currently sits atop my shelf in my departmental office. The award was presented to me by Prof Hugo Nel and Associate Prof. Michelle Cocks… Read More

Last year, I noticed that two roads running parallel to a dam in the center of Grahamstown had high toad traffic during the rainy evenings of the summer months. The rain and dark tar coupled with high evening traffic load made for a very treacherous journey, resulting in many frogs losing their lives. To combat this I approached the Wildlife Society of Southern Africa (WESSA), and with the help of Ariana Watkins… Read More

Last year, Dr Shelley Edwards and I were interviewed for an article entitled ‘Reptile Detectives’, for the prestigious Rhodes Research Report. The Report that comes out annually highlights all the research that took place over the year, with anecdotes about key researchers strewn throughout the book. In the 2018 edition, that came out late last year, the editors sought out young researchers who were conducting cutting edge and/or novel research. Given mine… Read More

On Tuesday the 11th of February I did a snake talk at Fort Brown Primary School. The school which can be found 40km from Grahamstown, on the Fort Beaufort Road road, is quaint but lovely. The students were attentive and the setting was nothing short of scenic. The talk was attended by approximately 40 students, ranging from 10 to 13 years of age. Although scared at first, many took the opportunity in… Read More

On the 30th of September I attended the Highlander restaurant and bar to deliver a snake awareness talk to members of the the Grahamstown Probus Club. The talk was incredibly well received with only a handful of pensioners falling asleep on the day. The talk was followed by a vigorous array of questions and then a lovely lunch. All in all, it was a lovely day which both I, and hopefully my… Read More

On August the 23rd 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

On the 16th of August, I delivered a snake demonstration for students of Shaw Park Primary School. Although young, the students were incredibly attentive and took every opportunity to ask questions about the snakes on display. At the end of the demontration, almost all the kids took the opportunity to handle some of the non-venomous snakes, some of them for the first time. All in all it was a great experience, and… Read More

On the 16th of August I traveled to Sibuya Private Game Reserve, about 10km from Kenton-on-Sea, and presented a snake talk for the rangers working there. The talk focused on the ‘Snakes of Albany’ and discussed snake biology, snake identification and snakebite treatment. The talk was well received and was followed by a short snake handling tutorial, in which I showcased the correct management strategy for problem snakes. Following this, all the rangers… Read More

On 14 August, I delivered a snake talk to Grade 9 learners at Victoria Girls High school. The aim was to expose the girls to the amazing world of reptiles, and more specifically snakes. The talk ran for 30 minutes and consisted of general information about Grahamstown reptile diversity, followed by a short breakdown of snake biology and the common snakes of the area. The talk was followed by a 15 minute… Read More

Last year I was interviewed by Anima McBrown in connection with my snake-related work in and around Grahamstown. The result was this awesomely written article in this years edition of the Rhodos Magazine. The publication is dedicated to the communication and advancement of Rhodes University, and I am very proud to feature in it. You can find the article in the attached PDF Document. https://www.ru.ac.za/media/rhodesuniversity/content/digitalpublications/RHODOS_WEB_FINAL_72ppi_high.pdf

On the 27th of July 2019, I did a snake presentation for members of the Grahamstown Garden Club in Grahamstown. The talk was well received with people eagerly asking questions throughout the talk. 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 of the area, I also… Read More

On the 5th of June, I presented a snake awareness talk and demonstration for school students at Thomas Baines Nature Reserve, in honour of World Environmental Day. The talk was attended by various-aged primary school students from multiple different Grahamstown Schools. There are few thing in this world as wonderful as watching a child handle a snake for the first time. It is the amalgamation of fear and awe, it is joy… Read More

On friday the 10th of May, I set up a stand at the Science Open Day, hosted in the Rhodes University Life Sciences Building. I represented the field of Herpetology alongside several other members of the Zoology and Entomology Department, whom showcased their respective fields (Ornithology, Mammalogy, Biocontrol etc) on the day. The event was also attended by members from all the other departments in the Science Faculty. The event was geared… Read More

On the 5th of May I hosted the second ‘Critter Walk’ of 2019, for a record breaking crowd. Unlike previous ‘Critter walks’, everyone who attended had to pay a small fee, which was donated to two Rhodes athletes in a effort to raise funds for their Taekwondo World Championships, in Brazil, later this year. Everyone met in front of the Life Sciences building and they were treated to a 45 minute snakes… Read More

Another great blog entry by Jessica Evans, that lists, explains and debunks some of the most popular myths pertaining to snakes. https://www.bite-sizedsci.com/single-post/2019/04/25/6-snake-myths—busted

Check out this awesome blog post by Sean McCabe, that details the reptiles of Grahamstown, and what makes them special. https://conservatemakhanda.home.blog/2019/04/25/reptiles-of-makhanda/

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