-Rea Borcherds

The Committee of the Betty’s Bay Botsoc Branch supports Pikkewyntjies Pre-Primary school at Mooiuitsig in a variety of ways, whether by material or financial support, or by environmental outings and suitable educational experiences for the children.

The latest event was a hugely successful Snake Show on Tuesday 21 February, given by well-known local snake expert, Francois van Zyl of Pringle Bay.

The show was timed for 6 pm so that parents and members of the community could also attend, and it had clearly attracted an enthusiastic crowd because the school hall filled rapidly. A noisy buzz of excited anticipation laced with apprehension was brought to order when Francois firmly spelled out the rules and the need for discipline while he was handling the dangerous animals.

His show was educational and entertaining, focusing on the types of snake most likely to be encountered locally and the appropriate response to such an event. He discussed snake behaviours, reproduction, and the comparative toxicity of different snakes. He also explained their camouflage, the mimicry by harmless snakes and the value of snakes to the ecosystem.

His exhibits were non-local species but very impressive – a huge Cape cobra, a fat puffadder, a colourful harmless exotic snake and a ball python.  With the latter two he invited volunteers to participate with hilarious results and to the delight of the audience. Finally, he took the snakes around, giving everyone the opportunity to touch them.

Cape cobra
Ball python
Ball python

The staff members of Pikkewyntjies were all in attendance, and Zaan Cilliers, the Principal, expressed thanks on behalf of the school to Francois and to the organisers of the occasion.