U­ni­on school boys find Elu­si­ve SNAKE

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

NIEU-BETHESDA — A few weeks ago a group of boys from U­ni­on High School was in­vi­ted to the farm of Ke­vin and Li­sa Wa­ter­mey­er to col­lect flat rocks for a pa­ving pro­ject as a part of the school’s Cen­te­na­ry ce­le­bra­ti­ons.

As they lif­ted a rock they we­re sur­pri­sed by w­hat they thoug­ht may be a puf­f­ad­der un­der­ne­ath. The boys took pho­tos and a vi­deo of the snake be­fo­re ca­re­ful­ly le­a­ving it al­o­ne.

W­hen Ke­vin Wa­ter­mey­er tried to i­den­ti­fy the snake from the pho­to, he re­a­li­sed that it mig­ht be a ra­rer snake, and sent the pic­tu­re and ot­her in­for­ma­ti­on to a con­ser­va­ti­on group kno­wn as ‘Bi­o­nerds’. They we­re de­lig­h­ted to re­port back that the snake was the elu­si­ve “Plain Moun­tain Ad­der” - a spe­cies with on­ly 11 con­fir­med re­cords at that ti­me.

The Plain Moun­tain Ad­der is a dwarf ad­der, and has a dis­tincti­ve tri­an­gu­lar shaped he­ad, gro­wing to a max­i­mum of 35cm and he­a­vy bo­died. It has plain grey/bro­wn co­lou­ra­ti­on, with in­dis­tincti­ve mar­kings. It is thoug­ht that the snake is di­ur­nal, but the­re is not yet e­nough re­se­arch a­vai­la­ble to con­firm this.

‘Bi­o­nerds’ is part of a re­se­arch group that vi­si­ted the S­neeu­berg a week pri­or to Ke­vin con­tacting them with his find. In

4 days, with 11 s­cien­tis­ts and re­se­ar­chers, they ma­na­ged to find three dif­fe­rent sna­kes, all ma­le. The boys’ find rai­sed the con­fir­med re­cords to 12 spe­ci­mens.

Ac­cor­ding to Bi­o­nerds, "Plain moun­tain ad­ders are da­ta de­fi­cient, we still need to le­arn mo­re a­bout how veno­mous they are (we think it will be the sa­me as ot­her dwarf ad­ders, cau­sing po­ten­ti­al swel­ling and se­ve­re pain), their prey pre­fe­ren­ce, w­hat ha­bi­tat they pre­fer and their bree­ding and li­ving ha­bits."

S­hould a­nyo­ne think that they ha­ve found a Plain Moun­tain Ad­der, or need as­sis­tan­ce with a rep­ti­le i­den­ti­fi­ca­ti­on, it is im­por­tant to ta­ke a cell pho­ne pho­to, ta­ke a GPS re­a­ding, no­te the da­te and ti­me and W­hat­sapp the in­for­ma­ti­on to 063 461 5964 or send it via e-mail to al­ou­i­se.lynch@bi­o­nerds.co.za

The Art­hur King­will Hou­se boys from U­ni­on High School can be very proud that they we­re a part of the 12th e­ver re­cor­ding of the Plain Moun­tain Ad­der, and it is won­der­ful that the u­ni­que bi­o­di­ver­si­ty of the S­neeu­berg is tre­a­su­red by or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons such as Bi­o­nerds.

All lan­do­w­ners s­hould be wa­ry of a­nyo­ne re­que­s­ting access to find, re­se­arch or pho­to­graph rep­ti­les on their pro­per­ties.

The­re is an u­pri­se in rep­ti­le po­a­ching in­ci­dents in South A­fri­ca, and this spe­cies is highly soug­ht af­ter. Re­port and vet a­nyo­ne who re­que­sts access, or was found il­le­gal­ly on your pro­per­ty to the aut­ho­ri­ties.

The Plain Moun­tain Ad­der has a dis­tincti­ve tri­an­gu­lar shaped he­ad.

Pho­tos: Cour­te­sy of Bi­o­nerds

The ra­re Plain Moun­tain Ad­der.

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.