Entering the Silent, Secret World of Snakes & Reptiles - What's it like?

For many people, snakes & reptiles conjure up images of scary, scaly beasts, with forked tongues, low slung bodies, cold blood, low intelligence and bad attitudes; ready & willing to kill anyone within striking distance. Many people are afraid of snakes, even people with a well-developed awareness of the environment and the natural world.

But what is it really like to enter the silent, secret world of snakes?

Herpetologists like Johan Marais who have entered their secretive world, marvel as the snakes slither, silently, alone, into the adventures of their own lives. Why? What do they know about snakes & reptiles that is so fascinating, captivating & interesting that they pick their way through swamps, deserts and forests, to learn about these animals?

Perhaps the answers lie in the following perspectives:

  • Snakes are what they are and do what they do for the sake of survival. Herpetologists like Johan have long ago stopped judging these fascinating reptiles on the basis of folklore and ignorance. In fact, they are appalled at the lack of knowledge about snakes and other reptiles as this often leads to the destruction of these innocent creatures.

  • Snakes & other reptiles respond in their own ways, and the more Johan & his fellow herpetologists observe how they behave, the more they understand their own lives and the worth of all living things. Snakes & other reptiles have survived not by trying to restructure nature, but by being part of nature and taking only what they need.

  • Herpetologists appreciate reptiles because they look at them with the compassionate eyes of objective sensitivity to the relationship of all living things.

  • They care for snakes for the simple reason they are snakes, and their behaviour and beauty challenges them - they invite mankind to look beyond our narrow lives in order to understand their lives.

  • Just as the time of snakes encompasses the time of animals on earth, their fascination with snakes encompasses their experiences and search for knowledge.

  • There are many lessons to be learned from snakes. They remind us to be patient, to strike in defence only when all else fails, and that while love remains incomprehensible, life is beautiful.

  • Herpetologists feel a profound and moral responsibility of not only understanding our reptilian friends, but also of educating others about their ways. Johan has written several books & publications to share his knowledge and inspire us to appreciate the natural beauty & ways of snakes & other reptiles.

Discovering a snake in its own unique environment sends a surge of excitement through Johan, and he feels honoured, for nature has allowed him to become a private witness to some very special secret information.

We trust that an insight into the world of snakes & other reptiles will replace your fear of snakes with respect. We think that most people, once equipped with a little knowledge and understanding of these beautiful, interesting and inoffensive animals, will find that there is nothing left to fear.

"Our worth is judged by how we regard ourselves and our fellow creatures, and how we respect the beauty of all life on our planet." 

Frank Lundburg, president of Reptile Conservation Resources, USA. 1990