I have an enthusiastic affection towards snake and other Herpetofauna. I hunt snake and try to study them scientifically. There is a term on what I do. I called it herping. According to Wikipedia and I quote “Herping is the act of searching for reptiles or amphibians. The term, often used by professional and amateur herpetologists, comes from "herptile", composed of Greek herpeton and Latin reptile, both meaning "to creep". The term is a shorthand for the two classes of cold-blooded tetrapodes. Herping consists of many activities; any way one can find reptiles or amphibians can be considered herping”
Herping is not actually a walk in a park. Do not believe everything that you saw on Nat Geo and especially Discovery Channel. They made it as if the snakes or the reptiles or amphibians are readily available and cooperative. In truth, it is not as it seem. They are very shy animals. They tend to get agitated easily and retreat to their hideout as soon as they feel our present. The Jacobson’s Organ plays their part very well. Do you know that some of the snake can sense molecule in the air as far as 1 Km away? They have plenty of time to escape before being detected. That is why it is hard to accomplish my objective. It is a painstaking job to locate and studies them. They can see in infrared too. With these arsenals, they can beat anything the surrounding throw at them. It is not surprising that this class of animal can survive for 160 million years.
When dealing with snakes, we have to change some of our bad habits like sloppiness, and sluggishness. Keep in mind that some of them can kill with microgram venom. It is like a drop of water the size of a pin head - even smaller. For me, I have to stay alert all the time. Some of them are very strong and willing to fight. Despite of their appearance, they are very fast. For example, the Phyton. They don’t surrender easily, not without a bite. There are ways to tame an angry snake. You just have to show them love.
Peoples always afraid to encounter snake when crossing the forest trail. They bring all sort of deterrence in a form of physical item such as the sulfur. For me, Sulfur can damage the soil ecosystem and harm trees. It makes no difference, although snake have nostril on their internasal, some of them are not very keen in smell. They still attracted to your body heat and approach you. Some peoples I observed bring some kind of wood. It is believed to keep any serpent and other wild animal at bay. It’s not like I think all of these are critical or necessary, but for me, it’s a redundancy. You don’t have to bring all sorts of weapon and theoretical belief to scare these animals away. Your very present is a threat to them. They will run before they even see you.
I logged my journey entry and mileage entry every time I went on my herping expedition. I have traveled a staggering 1689km by foot, kayak, and bicycle. I have to run to catch them because they are fast to disappear, dive in and swim to find them at sea, I have to crawl and I even abseil from a rock face. I usually hunt them in a new area and that requires me to read the terrain using a map, learn GPS and compass. It developed my orienteering skills as I progress through the dense foliage and extremely difficult terrain. I traverse more than 50 mountains, doing 500 expeditions, free dive in 4 different sea, islands pathfinding in a period of 2 years. Sometimes, during the extremities, I have to improvise. Learning a survival skill is a must. Studying from the aborigines the efficient way to setup shelter, find food and build up fire. I’m not saying I am the best because I know I’m not. But, at least I know what I am doing all the way.
Even with all my effort, I still manage to catalog only 51 species out of 166.
So…. Who said being a herpetologist and herping is lame and easy?
These are some of the pictures