Ignorance is Bliss

snake for nick ID (2)

Found this tiny snake in my pool weir. Immediately set off to find my net – I have a dark little net they often just crawl into for refuge, making catching them easy. I very seldom handle a snake. Besides caution, I really don’t want to injure them. Also, I suspected this one may have been injured. Dropped into the pool by a kingfisher maybe, I was thinking.

But – frustration and disorganisation – I couldn’t find my net or anything else to scoop it up with, and the bowl I wanted to use to take pictures in didn’t fit into the weir. So – convinced it was some kind of worm snake – I reached in and lifted it gently and placed it in the bowl.

Took pics and sent them to Nick Evans, Westville’s herpetologist extraordinaire.


Ooh!  Confession time: Actually Nick, I did handle it!

So then he sent this:


Weirdly, I had read up on the stiletto snake this very week and noted that: “This snake cannot be held safely and you will, in all likelihood, get bitten if you attempt to hold one.”

But at average length 40cm and the fact that the stiletto “is an irascible snake that bites readily” and my little snake was so docile, I “knew” my snake was harmless!

Lesson learnt!

Stiletto snake Marais

Here can be seen how the stiletto snake can bend its neck and how a tiny side-swipe could allow a fang to prick you. Thanks Johan Marais (see his site and here).

Stiletto snake Marais_fangs
thanks Johan Marais


postscript: When Tommy read this he grin-snorted: “Very caucasian to be handling a venomous snake, Dad, very caucasian.”

Steve Reed: That oke is a hoot! Sensahuma second to none.


Another stiletto-ignorant fella wasn’t so lucky:

– with thanks to Johan Marais’ very informative newsletters –


  1. bewilderbeast says:

    My hand is fine. That was someone else’s hand with the bite. Obviously I am a skilled handler! Also a last-time handler. As Nick said: 😐 (uh, oh! emoji)


  2. Jon Taylor says:

    Hope your hand is OK? Thanks for the heads up!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s