Thursday 7 June 2012

A trip to Khamai Reptile Centre

When we lived in South Africa 16 years ago we managed a farm called Richmond Game Farm.  On the corner of the farm there was a little park called Swadini Snake Park and we were friends with it's owner.  So on our return to SA we decided to take Sir N and Miss J and go back for a visit.

A lot has changed in 16 years and we had a wonderful day rediscovering Donald's park which has been renamed Khamai Reptile Centre.  I highly recommend his website it is full of interesting information. Donald is an expert on snakes from all over the world so if you have a snake question get in contact with him.

Khamai was opened as Swadini Reptile Park in November 1984.

  • To conserve through education and research. 
  • To locate, propagate and relocate rare and endangered reptiles. 
  • To establish viable captive populations of rare and endangered reptiles.

In the Park there are an assortment of cement figures and one Sir N particularly enjoyed was the life size figure of a Nile Crocodile.  I think he was a little bit overwhelmed by it sheer size (so was I) and enjoyed climbing on it.  We learned about the Nile Crocodile during our Egypt Expedition Earth Study before we went to South Africa.

We then went over and had a look at the small one Donald had in an enclosure just behind the model.

At the Park you can find Lizard Rock Cafe where I can remember enjoying the most wonderful hamburgers for dinner. Sir N enjoyed exploring the interesting dinning room.

There are numerous snake enclosures to explore and I took loads of photo's of snakes and all variety of creepy crawlies.

This is an African Rock Python (Python Sebae).
  • This snake can grow to 30 feet in length and is Africa's largest snake and the third largest snake in the world.
  • They are non poisonous and kill their prey by constriction.
  • Females lay eggs of up to 100 eggs in a clutch which she aggressively defends. 
  • The babies are 18-24 inches in length.
  • These snakes can live up to 12 years in captivity.

This is a Black Mamba.
  • They get their name from the blue-black of the inside of their mouths which they display when threatened.
  • These snakes can grow up to 14 feet in length and travel at speeds up to 12mph.
  • They can strike from 4-6 feet away. Before antivenins were developed, a black mamba bite was 100% fatal.
  • The Mamba has a lifespan of 11+ years.
  • The fangs are Proteroglyphous and the venom is Neurotoxic.

Snake Skeletons of interest

One of the most interesting displays I found was one showcasing different snake head skeletons.

No Fangs Aglyphous Non Venomous Snakes.

Back Fangs (Opisthoghlphous) Venomous Mostly Semi Venomous but also Boomslang and Vine Snakes.

Front Hinged Fangs (Solenoglyphous) Venomous Adder or Vipers

After a good look around the different enclosures in doors Donald arranged for us to hold, touch photograph a snake.  I must agree with Sir N I don't like touching snakes however Miss J really enjoyed the experience.

There are three Squirrel Monkeys living in the gardens and when they saw we had some lollies they wanted in on the action.

Sir N with a Squirrel Monkey on his shoulder.

It was so good to see Donald and how much his park had grown.  If you ever find yourself in South Africa take some time to pop in and explore the park and take some time to get to know these interesting reptiles.


1 comment:

  1. I love seeing your nature photos, Chareen. One day, it would be so great to travel to see the places you've been to - what an experience! In the meantime, it's just lovely to share your photos. Thank you for posting them.

    God bless:-)


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