“Crazy forest people, crazy forest people!” These words seem to be said everyday at debrief. The other volunteers and staff just don’t understand the exhilaration, and the adrenaline rush you get from being 5 meters away from a snake.
|Long, slimy, sleek, graceful, speedy and beautiful Green Mamba|
We all come to Kenya to work with the Black and White Colobus but it’s the sly critters that squirm along the forest floor and in the canopy that catch your attention and are the true talking points of the day. There is a variety of snakes that are present in the Shimoni forests that are of different sizes, occurrence and toxicity levels. The most commonly spotted snake is the Eastern Stripe Bellied Sand Snake, which we have seen three times last week basking under a tree, a bush and on a wall in the early morning on the way to that days designated transect. Coming from Australia, I do not consider this to be an impressive snake. With it only being about a metre in length it looks more like a worm then a snake, but still very cute.
However on Friday, for FUN FOREST FRIDAY, the adrenaline was pulsing through the veins when we were within the presence of two Green Mambas. A fast moving, diurnal, secretive tree snake that is highly poisonous. These beautiful looking snakes were lime green in appearance and about two metres in length. Even though we had interrupted their coitus, one was very friendly and decided to hang around for a bit to show off her elegance to our glowing amazement. This is what I would classify as a real snake, and this sighting is going to be the talking point around here for weeks.
|Volunteers excitedly peering through the bush to get a better view|
Abby Thomas – Forest Volunteer