Remember those days when what is shown on television inspires rather than fill our brains with all sorts of uncertainties? One of my favourite television show has to do with wildlife rescue and the series was set in Kenya, Africa. I have forgotten the actual name of the television show, unfortunately. But the lessons taught has made me see how wonderful it is to be kind to all of God’s creatures.
Now recently, my sister-in-law complained that a snake has sneaked into her son’s bedroom. This is a frightening dilemma because when it comes to snakes, unless you’re a snake expert, there is really no way of knowing if the one you’re dealing with is poisonous or not. The rule of the thumb that I always abide in is to treat all snakes as poisonous and to never guess.
So far, that has saved me from being bitten and eaten by snakes in my younger days, despite having to live next to the jungle, and despite having come across wild snakes throughout my life. I have come face to face with a python which was over eight feet long (it took several adults to carry it out of our rice barn) when I was a tiny child. It could have easily gulped me down but fortunately, my brother and I saw it just as we entered the barn and ran for our lives. Being bigger, my brother left me far behind. Fortunately, our green wooden house was only a sprint away. This story has been the source of jokes between me and my brother to this day and it was an experience only we endured together.
My father and a couple other neighbours captured the snake and I assumed killed it before throwing it into a fire pit where it was roasted until there was nothing left but dark ashes. I guess my father was shocked by the find and his adrenaline was probably up to his head knowing full well he could have lost his two small children if the reptile had caught and coiled itself around us. I would have been an easy meal since I was smaller, but my brother was only slightly bigger, so he could have been easily gulped down too.
Anyway, returning back to the snake at my nephew’s bedroom — my sister-in-law said she had a shock when she saw it. And it also gave her goosebumps because her son and his cousin slept in the room the night before, and she realised they may have been napping with the snake next to them. Ohhh the thought of that is able to make any mother faint or die of a heart attack!
In any case, they were lucky because we live so close by the the Lokkawi Wildlife Park which is also the office of the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). I had a chance to meet them several times due to work and they are a rare breed of people who risk their lives and limbs to protect wildlife. Pondering about it now, I think they should be featured in Sabah’s own wildlife rescue television series. Their story would be more inspiring than many of the useless shows which are not only detrimental to the human spirit but I believe, have also cause values to change. For example, I have never, in my lifetime, encountered so many people who swear as if that was the most normal thing to do.
So, what transpired is I gave the telephone number of one of the person I often deal with at the zoo, and next thing I know, one member of the WRU arrived and captured what he dubbed the ‘rat snake’. It is non-poisonous which is a relief.
The captured snake was then released elsewhere, where it can live as freely as it wants to, far from people. Hopefully it can grow old and not be killed. After all, snakes are part of God’s artistry too.
So the lesson is this — if you’re in Sabah and you see a snake in your house or anywhere near your lodging, or even in your car and so on, call the Wildlife Rescue Unit. They are Sabah’s experts in catching snakes.