Authors: William Branch, Ninda Baptista, Chad Keates, Shelley Edwards Abstract: Two rare and endemic psammophines (Serpentes: Psammophiinae) occur in Angola. The taxonomic status of Psammophylax rhombeatus ocellatus Bocage, 1873and Psammophis ansorgii Boulenger, 1905 have long remained problematic, with both having varied past and present taxonomic assignments, and whose distributions may therefore present zoogeographic anomalies. Little was known of their biology, habitat associations, or phylogenetic relationships. New material was collected during biodiversity surveys of the Humpata Plateau,… Read More
Recently, myself and Luke Kemp set off up a random mountain in Gauteng on an impromptu herping expedition. We were joined by Liam Baisley and Chanel Elizabeth Serfontein and with their help we were able to find a horned adder (Bitis caudalis), one of Southern Africa’s most iconic snakes.
From the 25th to the 29th of August 2018, myself and Luke Kemp herped in Cape Town, and it’s surrounds. We went towards the end of winter because unlike most trips, we were after the endemic frogs that call the Cape their home, and they love the cold, wet weather that the winter months have to offer. We ventured far and wide, and our travels saw us herping Silvermine, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens,… Read More
Another great blog entry by Jessica Evans, that explains what to do if you encounter a snake in South Africa. https://www.bite-sizedsci.com/single-post/2019/03/07/What-to-do-when-you-bump-into-a-snake
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
Towards the end of last year I hosted a Birthday Critter Walk for a young Grahamstown boy and all his friends. Whilst some kids like like to go to the cinema, or to the Go Kart track for their birthdays, that doesn’t seem to hold for the youth of Grahamstown, whom have an insatiable appetite for nature. The day was a great success and whilst we weren’t able to find any cape… Read More
On Wednesday the 10th of October I attended the Prize giving for the WESSA Heritage Day Photo Competition at NELM (National English Literary Museum). The photo competition was open to the public and had three categories, namely: scholar, amateur and professional. I was fortunate enough to win the amateur category with my photo of the juvenile boomslang perched in a tree (Photo below). Thanks goes to all the organisers of the event… Read More
On Friday, the 28th of September myself and Dr Shelley Edwards delivered a snake talk to the entire Kingswood College High School in their school chapel. The talk dealt with snake biology and identification and was followed by a short section on snakebite treatment. The talk was well received and at the end, a large portion of the students stayed behind to see the snakes on display. Although some of the students… Read More
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
On Tuesday the 12th of June, myself and Dr Shelley Edwards presented a snake demonstration for members of the Kingswood College Environmental Club. The demonstration was well received and after a short introduction, most students took the opportunity to handle the snakes on display. It was a great time spent with some enthusiastic students, and I look forward to my next talk at the school.
In March of this year, I played my final game of the season for Manley Flats Cricket Club. The teams consisted of a mix-match of both first team and second team players and was great fun for all involved. Although I spend much of my time buried in the world of herpetology, I do take breaks every now and then to do the other things that give me joy. One of those… Read More
On Saturday the 5th of May I hosted the second critter walk. The event was well received, with quite a few people coming on the day. The day started out with a short snake demonstration, in which I showcased some of the snakes I had captured the week before on callouts, and was followed by a two hour ‘critter walk’ on a nearby farm. We managed to find several interesting species of… Read More
On the 17th of April, I presented an afternoon snake talk for high school learners of Nombulelo Highschool, at their school, on the outskirts of Grahamstown. The talk, which comprised of both a PowerPoint presentation and a live snake demonstration, was a great opportunity to engage with the students about reptiles, and dispel some of the myths that surround snakes in the area. The PowerPoint presentation was challenging because of the language… Read More
On Wednesday the 14th of February I delivered two back-to-back snake awareness talks at Victoria Girls High School (VGHS) in Grahamstown. The talks, which touched on snake anatomy, behaviour and ecology, were very well received by both classes. Although many of the girls were frightened by the sight of a live snake, most of them took the opportunity to interact with the live snakes on display. Thanks goes to VGHS, and more… Read More
On Saturday the 17th of March I hosted my third critter walk. The event was well received with approximately 35 people attending on the day. The day started out with a short snake demonstration, in which I showcased some of the snakes I had captured the week before on callouts, and was followed by a two hour ‘critter walk’ on a nearby farm. Whilst the weather was not great to start with,… Read More
Late last year I was contacted by a journalist from the Daily Dispatch Newspaper in Port Elizabeth, seeking information on snakes. To make a long story short, I made it into the newspaper…again, and I couldn’t be more stoked. It is crazy to think how far I have come since when I started. The fact that people view me as a reputable source of information is a great honour and I feel… Read More