Pointy, prickly, poisonous pals on my passage to adventure
The past few weeks have been a lot of fun, partly because my damaged shoulder has been recovering but largely because my adventures have taken me to wonderful places to meet wonderful creatures.
While walking in a very special part of The Cape Peninsula we saw this remarkably docile Mole Snake. This individual was at least 1.5 metres long and although the species has a reputation for aggression, this snake was unconcerned about us being 50 cm away from it. These non-venomous snakes feed mainly on Golden Moles and are therefore excellent burrowers themselves.
Very soon after seeing the Mole Snake, I was in Namibia and one day while setting-up camp we noticed this beautiful Horned-Adder taking refuge beneath the vehicle tyre. These small venomous desert-adapted snakes often burrow so that they are concealed just beneath the sand from where they ambush their prey of lizards, small rodents and birds. There is much debate regarding the function of their “horns” but they do seem to be involved in protecting the eyes when the snake burrows.
This month everything seemed docile – even this young Gemsbok who strolled to within Iphone photographing distance. His magnificent horns are used in defence as well as in territorial displays and conflicts.
But most amazing was this very docile Black Hairy Thick-tailed Scorpion (Parabuthus villosus). Although the venom of these enormous scorpions is considered to be potentially life-threatening, this one showed no signs of aggression at all. This enormous specimen was about 14 cm long (with its sting curled over its back).