Red tape more important than red belly

(15 Dec 2017) With a striking red belly, and a beautiful glossy black back the red bellied black snake is, in my opinion, the winner of the local serpent beauty contest… year in, year out. This week we received a call because one of these gorgeous creatures did not know how to get out of a house it accidentally entered.
These snakes are dangerously venomous and – apart from legislative reasons – it is for the sake of anyone’s physical well-being not to get anywhere close to them. I took the photo during the snake handling course, because almost all snakes will leave you alone if you don’t move. Solid footwear and thick jeans also form good protection against bites.
Thanks to the obsessive need of politicians and government officers to add more and more red tape where ever possible, the government has recently decided that snake catchers now also need to hold a valid first aid certificate. I’ve caught hundreds of snakes over the years, understand the value of wildlife handling licensing and documentation of catches and releases of snakes.
But this extra layer of bureaucracy is too much for me. Local snake catchers have, for many years, provided services to the community for free, for the sake of the snakes, to reduce the pressure on the police and simply because we find it a nice activity. During the training we have learned more about first aid in case of snake bites than you will ever learn in a first aid course, and this extra requirement is simply nothing but bureaucratic nonsense. I – for one – will not surrender to it.
As soon as that requirement is dropped, I’ll be on board as a – free of charge – local snake catcher again. But I refuse to go to – and pay for – first aid courses. It’s a pity, because having a group of locals handling snakes is the best way to protect these beautiful creatures.