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martes, 18 de diciembre de 2012

An impromptu rattkesnake workshop, fuzzies falling out of the sky and old friends reunited

I love it when it gets hot, so much more goes on! For example last week I was walking towards the beach in the late afternoon when Jonny phoned “there’s a rattlesnake in the water, a rattlesnake in the water RIGHT NOW!” as I sped towards him it was clear there definitely was a rattlesnake and what a beauty! The beach was swarming with Paraguayan tourists and Jonny was keeping people back (not too tricky when most people are afraid of snakes) and keeping an eye on the snake. I jumped into the water with the snake and waited to see what it was going to do. Although rattlesnakes have potent venom they are not aggressive so I was confident that I could keep my distance whilst steering it away from people who may panic and harm the snake. Once it was on the beach it stayed where it was, so I asked Jonny to run back to the house and get a bag and the snake grabber. I needed to bag it and take it somewhere safe away from people. While we were waiting, quite a crowd had gathered so I used it as an opportunity to talk about the species and explain that whilst these snakes are venomous they aren’t aggressive so the actual threat they pose is fairly low. Jonny returned and our star was a model example while I demonstrated how to catch and safely bag a snake. A collective sigh of relief followed by a round of applause from the crowd concluded a successful and admittedly quite exciting snake rescue. We took it to the forest and released it unharmed. I love my job. But it’s not just the scaly wildlife that gets rescued. I was working in the museum a couple of days ago when one of the forest guards came to find me. On the floor in the corner of their house, was the most pathetic neonatal small mammal, squeaking its little heart out. Even the most hardened herpetologist is going to go weak at the knees at the sight of that; so I had no hope! I scooped him up and took him home. Sadly after two long nights of round the clock feeding he didn’t make it, it was always going to be a long shot but at least we tried and we did manage to establish he was a rodent before he went off to the great cheese board in the sky. And finally it was exactly this week last year when Norman Scott and his wife Joan came to visit us at Laguna Blanca. Norman Scott is a world expert in herpetology and one of PLT’s extrernal collaborators. He returned, and this time brought his family with him. It was such fun to have 3 generations of Scotts and their respective partners here. Nick Reed is Norman’s granddaughter’s partner and is a film maker by profession. How convenient! A PLT movie is something we’ve wanted to make for a while now, so when Nick suggested that he wanted to get some footage, everything simply fell into place. We would like to say a massive thank you to Nick for his hard work making this happen and to the interns Georgia and Ruby for being brave enough to talk about their projects on camera, plus all the other volunteers who contributed their personal footage to the film. Be the first to view it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHlICBk2zzM&feature=plcp Now there is no excuse not to come and volunteer with us! Until next time Hx

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