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TOPIC: Lessons learnt in the African Bush.

Lessons learnt in the African Bush. 1 month 3 weeks ago #3623660

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One often ASSUMES certain behaviour with regard to an animal. The bushbuck is a shy and "private" antelope, seldom seen - but there are certain times of the year when even experienced game-gards and rangers won't go into thick forest - the rutting season. Injured bushbuck have also been recorded as having killed people.
When one looks at eland grazing peacefully, one would never think that the female could be so defensive/aggressive as to pose a serious threat. Luckily, her warnings are clear and easy to see.
Get too close to her calf (which will be hidden out of sight in the grass) and she will lower her head and raise it again quickly (a "nod"). Ignore that, and she'll "nod" again, but deeper. If you get between her and her calf, her horns will go into the grass, and you had better leave rapidly in the direction of away.
This happened on one of the trails
Fortunately we were close to the boundary fence and all made it in safety - some of the smaller trail members actually diving THROUGH the Bannox fencing. The little chubby teacher who was with the trail was up and over the fence before I even reached it. Amazing what one can do when that adrenaline kicks in!

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Lessons learnt in the African Bush. 1 month 3 weeks ago #3623751

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Jan v d Merwe method of 'Adrenaline' control.
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"Out of the Eyes and Words of Children. We 'May', be best Known."

Lessons learnt in the African Bush. 1 month 3 weeks ago #3623750

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Zapped. Auto 2 bites at the apple.
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"Out of the Eyes and Words of Children. We 'May', be best Known."
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Lessons learnt in the African Bush. 1 month 3 weeks ago #3625087

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All of us have some or other snake story to tell, yet, surprisingly, virtually no snakes were ever encountered when doing trails.
As a youngster, there was no such thing as pocket money, nor an allowance - in fact, at that time, just after the war, there WAS no money. I learnt, however, that the Durban snake park would buy snakes. This started a life-time fascination and study of herpetology that continues to this day. My catching equipment stands ready next to my bed even at this moment.
It's not surprising that we didn't encounter many snakes, for no matter how quiet we walked, ten pairs of shoes would set up some noise and vibration - to which snakes are very sensitive. A snake doesn't want to eat you, nor even bite. It's a waste of energy, and you're too big, and smell/taste funny. They'll get out of your way if given the chance. The people who do get bitten have either been careless or ignorant. Picking up any snake if not correctly identified is not only dangerous but stupid. Leave them alone and they'll leave you alone.
The most likely to be bitten by whilst walking is the puff adder (I wont use the proper name) as it is a very sluggish snake under most conditions and will lie in a path sunning itself and only moves slowly out of your way. It is a very nasty bite, with fangs and bite force quite able to penetrate a leather boot. The venom is a blood poison, often leading to massive ulceration and almost "rotting" of flesh. Medical assistance is necessary a.s.a.p. The only bite I ever had in 76 years was my own fault, trying to catch a boomslang in a tree.
It was pretty lucrative in those days with a mamba selling for a Guinea a foot - an enormous amount of money then, especially to a teenager.
Before every trail there was an introduction where students, no matter the age, were taught to breath, walk, what the various hand signals meant, what to do if a snake was spotted, and fire-arm safety.

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