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Forest Reserve where I spent several years of my childhood did indeed have many snakessince it was an oilfield placed in the middle of a forest which was cleared only for the nec-essary housing and equipment instillations. In that environment snakes were usually leftalone to continue their journey and there were no stories from adults told to me about theircharacter, so I had no negative feelings towards them or most other animals.My first memory of snakes was of a massive one killed when I was a baby. As a teenager aneighbour of mine confirmed that it was very large and that he had helped kill it. In anotherepisode I crossed over one walking home from the bus-stop after school.Hearing the cries of my siblings I crossed over it again tofind out what they were agitated about. I had not seen thehead nor the tail because it was so long it stretched acrossthe entire driveway. It stretched over part of a lawn, theright hand drain, a two car driveway, the left hand drainand a piece of the lawn on the other side.
It stayed in the garden for another few hours digesting the bulge in its stomach before mov-ing on. I assumed that a shallow earthquake had opened a crack in the ground that stretchedacross that whole distance. It was only when my siblings called out "snake" that I saw it forwhat it was. I stepped over it a third time to get into the house but my siblings may havedetoured around it.In another case a small landslip close to my house exposed some eggs which I took homeand put in a box in my room. A few weeks later I went outside to see four small snakeshanging from the clothesline, and they stayed there for about an hour. I decided to put theun-hatched eggs back, even though I did not know what kind of eggs they were; but mymain concern was whether they would still hatch after I had disturbed them twice.
My brother and I often went into the forest with three brothers from a neighbouring fam-ily to look for things that they wanted, such as sucker fish ‘mamatetas’ (Hypostomusplecostomus) for their aquariums and specific butterflies for my brother’s collection. Onthese nature trips the snakes that we encountered the most often were ‘horsewhips’Oxybelis aeneus, we were never attacked, nor did we kill them..
For my doctorate I conducted participatory research with hunters (Lans et al., 2001). Theydid not have any excuse for killing snakes except that they did not see why they should letthem live. After several months when they knew me better they acknowledged that theyhad never been harmed and had no justification. Apparently they called me the witch ladybecause I led the way back to the camp on the first trip even though I had never been therebefore or even in that Guayaguayare forest before. To me the paths were obvious and Iassumed they would stop me if I was on the wrong path.BMC Complementary and Alternative Medi-cine - BioMed Centralwww. biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6882-1-10.pdfC Lans - 2001 - Cited by 61 Hunter’s camp
Approx location of snake, Photos: Paul Wittet, Dilys Celestineat base of hill Approx location of bus stop School, couple of miles away Approximation of snake