Well, today is the last day of my time at Croc Bank. Looking back over the past 9 weeks it is impossible to pick out a favourite moment. So I've picked out a few to reminisce over.
The only venomous snake kept in Croc Bank is the Albino Cobra.
Due to his weak immune system he is kept off-exhibit in a (sterile as possible) box. He also has a variety of lights above the box which are turned on and off, as normal sunlight would burn him. I was allowed to watch him being cleaned out or inspected on a couple of occasions, and I must say that he is one of the most beautiful snakes I have ever seen. He is also one of the angriest.
But I don't need to go disturbing off-exhibit cobras to see beautiful snakes.
I was lucky enough to go on an Irula Snake Walk, Where I saw Sawscale Vipers, Green Vine Snakes and a Sand Boa. The ability of the Irula to track and catch snakes is astounding. They would walk up to a tree or bush, and after a few minutes of searching were able to produce a snake.
Even just going on a snake hunt with some school children along Croc Bank's driveway revealed a venomous Krait. That sounds very dangerous but the poor little chap just wanted to escape from us!
My own snake tending abilities have improved remarkably as I've helped look after the five baby anaconda's Croc Bank is keeping in quarantine. At their last feeding one of them grabbed the mouse (dead of course) and then rolled into the water, creating an entrancing (if morbid) pirouette. The snake proceeded to swallow the mouse entirely underwater. So much for not swimming with a full stomach.
But the good times here haven't just been spent with snakes.
The Dwarf Caimans have really charmed me. They have vibrant reddy orange eyes and are very shy and passive, especially compared with some of the other croc species here (although a lot of things are shy and passive when compared to a male Saltwater Crocodile). They have a reddy colouring to the head, a head which they keep raised off the ground much of the time, giving them the look of wingless dragons.
The sheer volume of wild reptiles is in stark contrast with the UK (unsurprisingly, considering our climate). Whilst patrolling the park I came across a spectacular male Garden Lizard perched on a tree. These fellows are also known as "push up lizards" as they do press-ups to warn other males away from their territories.
So it turns out that instead of one favourite moment I have many (I'm not complaining at that). But one thing is for certain; I have had a great time and am so glad that I came out here. A big thank you to everyone who made this possible!