A bird called Lorna.. a fresh angle..

Before I start this post .. I’m off down to Cape Town for business for a few days so I will be missing from the blogs, but I’ll be taking my camera to capture some photos of our fairest Cape and what it will show me… see you in a few days time, or at the earliest Thursday next week… See you…

Table Mountain (photo courtesy of www.capetown.travel.co.za)

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Their famous Waterfront (Courtesy of www.sharkbookings.com)

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Now lets get back to a bird called Lorna…

I named a bird after Lorna of Lornasvoice (to see her blog click here)… she has a certain likeness to this bird. She has a very special sense of humour (The bird and Lorna) and this likeness comes through in her posts.

Here are a few more photos of the Grey Crowned Crane (different perspectives)…

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Coots cute eggs… breeding time for Coots..

The Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata)

A noisy bird, an aggressive bird, it is likely to bully any intruder, even large birds such as Egyptian geese. It can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species, and strongly territorial during the breeding season.

But what I hate about this bird – and I don’t hate many – its behaviour towards its own young is so aggressive, that only a few are likely to survive to adulthood.

I took a few photos of the birds with their young, lucky for them too far away to even throw a stone at them. They chase them, peck at their heads, how any parent can behave such towards its own young amazes me. Actually I hate this bird because of that. I accept that in certain species the young will fight in the nest till one is killed and then the other gets all the food. Natures survival of the strongest… but this is a parent against its own offspring….

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I spoke to a pigeon about this and it informed me it closes its eye to such bad behaviour…

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It also said the other alternate is to look the other way….

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But as it looked down there was a Coot nesting below …

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Were there eggs, would any of these survive??? I will be watching to see what happens…

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Puff Adder… Africa’s deadliest. (Well I think so)….

Any where from below the equator in Africa, you can find the Puff Adder. A deadly snake that can reach 1.2 m or 4 ft. long, a body girth of 30 cm or a ft. and fangs the size of sewing needles just a lot thicker.

It will lie quietly next to a pathway and when you virtually stand on it, bite you on the ankle… not that it was waiting for you, it was waiting for its prey. Will it get out of your way? No.

This species is responsible for more fatalities than any other African snake. This is due to a combination of factors, including its wide distribution, common occurrence, large size, potent venom that is produced in large amounts, long fangs, their habit of basking by footpaths and sitting quietly when approached.

The venom has cytotoxic effects and is one of the most toxic of any vipers. Cytotoxic, kills cells. Venom yield is typically between 100–350 mg, with a maximum of 750 mg. About 100 mg is thought to be enough to kill a healthy adult human male, with death occurring after 25 hours. A painful death I’m told…

So my recommendation is … stay away from the blunt end of this footless killer… I have caught many and relocated them, but I have probably killed just as many for frightening the becheeeezes out of me…

At the show….

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Well camouflaged in the grass….

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But I thought I’d show you some captures I’d made before of one I could get up close to…

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Angry looking snake… she is talking to me … “Come closer, I want to bite you Bulldog” I was very close, but because of the way she lay on the tarmac she could not have struck at me without first moving her head and coiling her body… How do I know she is a she?? The female has a shorter tail than the male…

Snouted Cobra… Not to be taken lightly…

Yesterday I mentioned the show I went to with the Grandkids and wives who were being treated to a Mothers day special. Below… Grandson and the Bulldog…

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Apart from the snakes (which Linda would not watch, she won’t even look at a comic book snake) we had Nianell entertaining us… before this she was not a favourite of mine, her sister Riana Nel is, but after listening to her, I am a fan… boy has she got a good set of pipes on her (talking about her voice), is it possible to have two such magnificent voices in one family.???

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But this post is about a snouted Cobra….

Snouted cobras inhabit arid and moist savannah, particularly in bushveld and lowveld areas. As a large cobra, it often has a permanent home base or lair in an abandoned termite mound, where it will reside for years if left undisturbed.

It is a nocturnal species, foraging for food from dusk onwards. It enjoys basking in the sun during the day near its lair or retreat. This species can be quite nervous and will strike to defend itself if threatened.

Like other cobras, when disturbed, it usually raises the front-third of its body when extending its hood and hissing. The hood raising is actually a request for you to leave and let it slip off quietly, although threatening in nature, it would rather escape from you than confront you.

Most of the time it has either seen or felt you coming and escaped down its hole, but if surprised it will ask you nicely to step back, the hissing sound you hear is it actually asking you to leave it alone and it will rush off… (I know and understand snake language, the snake whisper taught me)

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Love the photo above… means its going away from me…

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Quite the beauty… by the way most snake language as interpreted by me is “Get the hell out of here or I’ll bite you” they don’t have a big vocabulary…

Black Mamba.. Two steps to death..

I recently, (Mothers Day actually) attended a show where they had a short demo on snakes. The Black mamba was one shown to all interested parties. The brave handler said that the snake is known in some circles as the “two step to death” snake. It is thought to be so deadly that you take two steps after being bitten and you die. Although this is untrue, his advice.. after being bitten don’t take the two steps… I did enjoy that one.

The Black Mamba is a dangerous snake, but lets be honest, the stories of it being aggressive and chasing you are probably not all that true. Sure.. in the Steelpoort area I walked into one and it promptly raised its head and looked directly at me… I stood still as is recommended. It made a move towards me and I turned and ran. I was later told I should have looked back and I would have seen it wasn’t chasing me, but rather making an escape.. my answer… “I run faster looking forward rather than back” and anyway who wants to run into a tree because you’re looking the wrong way… think I’m an idiot…

The Black Mamba however is deadly if you do not receive medical attention fairly quickly.. there is a reported death (in a medical report) having occurred within twenty minutes to someone being bitten on the upper arm.. But most recorded deaths are between 3 and 8 hours after the fact… still not good news…

This is a fast moving snake, one of the fastest in the world (12 KPH or 7 MPH) luckily at this age I can still run faster than that… it is considered one of the most efficient killing machines on no feet… it delivers a neurotoxin, also called Dendrotoxin, but basically it disturbs the neuro messages and hearts, lungs and everything driven by neurological messages in the body are disturbed and you die. Unless you have an aggressive induction of anti-venom…

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The inside of the mouth is a deadly black, so don’t get near enough to see this unless you have a 3 inch glass pane between you and it…. and don’t let it talk quietly to you as this one seems to be doing…

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It is a beautiful snake as snake beauty goes, but it is known here as “the kiss of death” and to one expert as “death incarnate” … to me it is known as the one snake to avoid if possible and if not, then run like the clappers…

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“Want to touch it??”

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And a bit from Wikipedia

Its bite can deliver about 100–120 mg of venom on average and the maximum dose recorded is 400 mg.

If bitten, common symptoms for which to watch are rapid onset of dizziness, coughing or difficulty breathing, and erratic heartbeat. In extreme cases, when the victim has received a large amount of venom, death can result within an hour from respiratory or cardiac arrest. Also, the black mamba’s venom has been known to cause paralysis. Death is due to suffocation resulting from paralysis of the respiratory muscles.

The black mamba is regarded as one of the most dangerous and feared snakes in Africa due to various factors. Nevertheless, attacks on humans by black mambas are rare, as the snakes usually avoid confrontation with humans and their occurrence in highly-populated areas is not very common compared with some other species.