RAUK - Archived Forum - What is this guy doing!!??

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What is this guy doing!!??:

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Peter
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Posted: 01 Jun 2008

I really didn`t like the way this chap handles grass snakes.   He may well be doing some type of send up or micky take, I am not sure.  Whatever he is doing there is no need to handle an animal like this.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk4WsrxJbMM&feature=relat ed

Peter39600.7054976852



GemmaJF
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Posted: 01 Jun 2008

Very poor, he actually looked scared that it would bite him

Most grassies if allowed to curl around the hand will calm down in seconds after the initial thrash as I'm sure you know Peter. Hope nobody from here takes this as a lesson on handling grass snakes, absolutley awful to see him lifting it by the tail tip without supporting the animals body weight, obvioulsy no idea of how delicate the creature he was handling actually is  Hope he doesn't try that technique with a youngish adder without controlling the sharp end


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Peter
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Posted: 02 Jun 2008

[QUOTE=GemmaJF]Hope nobody from here takes this as a lesson on handling grass snakes, absolutley awful to see him lifting it by the tail tip without supporting the animals body weight, obvioulsy no idea of how delicate the creature he was handling actually is[/QUOTE]

Exactly!  I have never been bitten by a grass snake.  They tend to wrap around the hand within seconds of capture as you rightly state.  The video is a terrible example to set and leaves anybody who doesn`t know better with the impression that grass snakes are dangerous to handle.  I shuddered when I saw the animal swinging suspended by the tip of it`s tail with no support like that.

 

 

 

 





tim hamlett
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Posted: 02 Jun 2008
[QUOTE=GemmaJF]

  Hope he doesn't try that technique with a youngish adder without controlling the sharp end

[/QUOTE]

maybe he should try it...teach him a lesson!

tim


GemmaJF
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Posted: 02 Jun 2008

[QUOTE]

maybe he should try it...teach him a lesson!

tim

[/QUOTE]

The thought never crossed my mind

Seriously though if anyone is going out without a lot of experience and is wondering how they ought to handle animals just ask. We have plenty of people here with ooodles of experience that can give the correct techniques that will not harm the animals. I'm about to start a thread on handling neo grassies, so I'm not afraid to ask for advice myself despite having caught and handled several thousand animals.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
AndyS
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Posted: 02 Jun 2008

Well he also has one about the Adder!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ6TiPFcRm8&NR=1

 


Peter
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Posted: 02 Jun 2008

What a complete idiot.

 

Something tells me that he may have watched a Steve Irwin programme or two.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDk6YwHv5D0&feature=relat ed

 

CRIKEY MATE WHAT A WHOPPER!   WOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!

Peter39601.6237152778



Deano
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Posted: 02 Jun 2008
Looking at his hand movements I'd say he's been watching Austin Stevens too much. And it looks like he filmed both clips in Epping Forest, have to keep an eye out for him....
Deano
Better to be lucky than good looking.
GemmaJF
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Posted: 03 Jun 2008
He's going to get bitten if he keeps handling young adders like that without supporting and controlling the front end.. if not by the adder by me if I come across him
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
adamanteus
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Posted: 03 Jun 2008
He seems to think our Adder is the same genus as the Puff Adder and Russells Viper!  Last time I looked they were Bitis and Daboia.
James.
Peter
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Posted: 03 Jun 2008

There are many gaps in his knowledge.   Quote;  Adders have no natural predators.   Hmmm, whatever gives him that idea!

Seriously though, my main concern is the amount of comments left on the feedback of his videos on Youtube from impressed and naive yougsters.  He actually gives advice back, and describes himself as a wildlife documentary presenter.   Dellusions of grandeur are all well and good as long as they don`t affect or influence other people to act unwisely.   Unfortunately, judging by the comments left in response to his videos by impressionable youngsters, that is precisely what will happen.





adamanteus
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Posted: 03 Jun 2008
YouTube is a potentially dangerous media.  And nearly impossible to police.
James.
Peter
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Posted: 03 Jun 2008

[QUOTE=adamanteus]YouTube is a potentially dangerous media.  And nearly impossible to police.[/QUOTE]

Agreed!





Robert V
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Posted: 04 Jun 2008

 

I can't think of anyone else, ever, that has actually managed to make it look as if a grass snake might bite!!!!!!

He could make a carp look dangerous.

If a crime ever deserved a punishment, this is a crime of total bulls**t and the punishment should be for him to have to sit in a bath filled with grass snake gunk! Now that would be worht videoing.

R


RobV
Vicar
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Posted: 04 Jun 2008
[QUOTE=Robert V]I can't think of anyone else, ever, that has actually managed to make it look as if a grass snake might bite!!!!!![/QUOTE]

Did you see Paul's post last year where he actually did get bitten?...and it drew blood...but everything bites Paul so it doesn't count.

(only joking mate)

Re Mr. YouTube...half of me thinks 'bless him, at least he's keen'
the other half thinks maybe he needs a little more time, experience and training before using such an influential medium.


Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Vicar
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Posted: 05 Jun 2008
Did you see this one by him? LINK
Enough said.

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
tim hamlett
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Posted: 05 Jun 2008

care in the community is a double-edged sword!

tim


GemmaJF
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Posted: 05 Jun 2008
How did he miss that one in the lake  Well we can't say he isn't entertaining I guess.
Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Peter
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Posted: 11 Jun 2008

In the interest of fair representation, here is a reply from Ben Waddums regarding the same video which I recieved on another forum;

 

Hiya Guys,

I have read all the comments posted on here. I would first like to thank you, not for simply spending the time viewing my clips (whatever you made of them) but for getting involved, taking time out and discussing them (positive or negative). I am really encouraged that there are so many caring and concerned people out there and far from upsetting me, this forum has really made me feel a great deal happier about our herpers and animal lovers.

I don't intend to sit (or fall off) the fence, and I will defend my views and will try and answer as many points, queries and questions as I can.

First off, I can absolutely assure everyone that I am not an attention grabber/seeker or whatever. I believe my first video was that of my diving in the local river. This was entirely a bit of fun when it was hot enough to do that with a mate and a couple of dogs. Of course there was no snake there and if there had been I would certainly have let him/her swim off rather than being stupid enough to risk damaging it. I am really not in need of youtube as a platform to show off on, I don't need the attention and I don't want it. I am simply doing it to showcase our wildlife in an interesting and unique way and if I ride the wave of my own enthusiasm, I'm sorry, but that's really what I am like - take it or leave it and apologies to anyone who doesn't like it.

I am not trying to copy Steve Irwin (oh and by the way, I have worked with Austin Stevens at Tigress Productions and consider him to be one of the very worst 'wildlife presenters' (or is that actor?) out there). On the other hand, I had immense respect for Steve Irwin. I believe his message about not sitting back on the long lens and merely observing wildlife, but getting right in there and dragging you in with him, up close and personal with the animals was a revelation and highly highly successful in (as he would say it) getting people jazzed up about wildlife and each species' conservation and preservation. I think if people get involved with wildlife on that level, for that reason and with that eventual aim in mind, they will be doing alot of good on this planet.

Here I'd like to admit to some mistakes. I absolutely agree that I should have put a warning and/or statement of some description up before and after my clips and if I make any in the future, this is what I will improve on. I AM concerned that people will try and copy (I hope I don't come across as arrogant enough to use the term 'imitate') me and injure the animal concerned or heaven forbid (!) themselves. I would love for viewers to go out there and try and find the species I show, but certainly not damage or unnecessarily disturb them in any way because of it (adult female adders for example in april/may/june when they can become stressed and reabsorb their embryos). This is something I will address in future clips and I sincerely thank you for your comments.

My Vipera Berus info was off a little. I don't really have an excuse for this one. I have admitted to it in the comments if people can be bothered to read them and all I will say is a) it was my first adder at that location and my first youngster and I was literally, lost for words - hence the post commentary, and I also felt I was stressing the little girl out and so the clip is actually, as I'm sure you noticed, the same shot several times, repeated/flipped/reversed/flopped/zoomed, because after about 15 seconds I let her go! Apologies...as I say, its in my reply to the comments and b) Thank you for the info concerning hedgehogs and birds of prey/corvids.

Alot of my negative comments concern...concern for the animals, which is why it makes me so happy that people care. I can, hand on heart assure you that none of the animals I've found on my walks with a camera were harmed in any way. It would never enter my head to treat an animal with any less respect than my friends, which I consider them to be. I considered that Grass Snake to be happier being tailed than being held around the body or (seriously..heaven forbid) around the neck or head. I would never touch a reptile's head or neck and all of my captures are held as gently as possible. For 95% of the Grass Snake video, although I was in contact with the tail, he was given support on the ground or my other hand and I was simply keeping in contact with him.

I see it like this (and this goes for the Grass Snake, the Adder, the Gopher Snake, the Rattler, the Red Rumped Tarantula and everything else) if I get bitten, I look like an idiot...which wouldn't bother me personally, but if I was say a taxi driver and you got in and I said 'yer hop on inside mate, I've had 43 crashes so far, lets see what happens this time...' would you think I knew what I was doing? Probably not! I think 'dodging' a bite by watching an animal's mood and knowing what he or she is thinking, (which can only be said, I believe, with respect, if you have had alot of experience with the species) is far more impressive and demonstrates a much greater understanding and therefore respect for the animal concerned, than getting bitten and watching the blood ooz out and giving the animal a bad reputation. Again, just my own personal opinion. (and mate, there's a big difference between a fast reaction time and 'flinching')

I was until recently a 'hot house' keeper at my local zoo and, although no-one seems to be questioning my experience, I just wanted to take the opportunity to let people know that I am fairly well qualified as a safe herp handler, having been in contact with some great stuff! Saw-scaled vipers, burmeses, emerald boas, alot of scorps and tarantulas, sailfins, crocs, matamatas, snappers, rattlers, house snakes, terrapins, snake necked turtles, basilisks, plateds etc the list is almost endless...does this prepare me or qualify my to pick up or touch wild species, certainly not. But I think it gives me a degree more respect, knowledge and practical understanding of SOME of them. (can a large rattlesnake reach my chin within this range or not...for example!)

I see myself as a familiar animal (that being a human being) for others of my species to use as a link between them and the wildlife I am showing.

As far as 'wild' jobs and practical experience goes, please ask me for it if you disbelieve me, but to list a few: Slow worm conservation project for Cardiff Uni, Sand Lizard and Smooth Snake habitat surveying for Dorset wildlife trust, RSPCA worker on the Napoli sea bird disaster, Water Vole researcher on the Grand Union canal, Amphibian swabbing for protection against the viral pandemic...Slightly further a-field, I have been involved with GAFI, the Great Apes Film Initiative, which uses innovative ideas and award winning documentary films as outreach material, travelling to areas such as Borneo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and showing these films (ie the BBC's Cousins) to the local people who have to live in the presence of these apes as well as to the government ministers, responsible for the civil wars or deforestation that are so devastating to these creatures.

So to sum up. Thank you. I admit some mistakes and yes, we do all make them. What you see in my clips, is what you get. I'm not acting, or I'd be somewhere else right now. I have grown up with and handled dozens, if not hundreds of reptiles and consider myself to have at least a bit of experience with them and other reptiles. (I go on walks to my favourite herping grounds most weekends and rarely touch or pick up what I see). I am content with a photo most of the time but, and if I have a statement, I guess this is it;

To merely view, observe and pass by wildlife that is in decline around the world and across the UK would be selfish. Why? Because one can do so much more. You can go and find and handle and touch and smell our wildlife (drawing the line at adders) and I believe if people don't, then we are going to start seeing extinct species very, very soon. If the current approach is not working as well as it probably should, why not try something a little different and unique? Alot of these people that really experience wildlife hands-on (not wrestling with them for heaven's sake, but gently) and get involved, go on to become conservation officers, environmental ministers, biology teachers and conservationists to name but a few. Keeping it local...British wildlife, especially our herps, aren't going extinct because people are taking photos and vision of them and experiencing them...they are becoming extinct because of our greed. Our farming culture and our insaitable appetite for houses. If I can excite one person and make them care about our wildlife, just that one extra degree which means they take a conservation themed career, then I will be forever a happy person.

I hope I have answered some of your questions. I have my own views, just as you have yours. I won't get drawn into a slogging match but I would like to reply to sensible comments and replies of your own. Sorry for upsetting anyone and apologies if my spelling's a bit off here and there, I did a zoology, geography and conservation degree with wildlife art thrown in, not english.

Thank you for doing what you do, as you know, our wildlife needs our help and our love more now than at any other time.

Happy herping, cheers,

Ben

 

My reply to the above;

slangman wrote:
i for one havent seen a grass snake in the uk but dont really see what the fuss is about . If he tried to handle the snake with hooks etc , it would certainly suffered more seing as how frisky it was .



The reason that the grass snake in the video was so frisky was because of the discomfort of being suspended by the tip of it`s tail. I have encountered grass snakes on countless occasions and can count on one hand how many were as frisky as the one in Ben`s video. All of these calmed down within minutes to wrap themselves around my hand.

I don`t know of anyone using snake hooks on non venomous snakes of any kind (EDIT: In the British Isles). It certainly would be a ridiculous and unnecessary thing to do.

As is tailing a harmless snake.

It is not the way to handle an animal, leaving it dangle off the ground for periods of time with no support.

I caught a female grass snake today as it happens. She was an individual that I have encountered previously and was in the middle of her shed cycle with very milky eyes, a time when snakes are at their most vulnerable and defensive. She wrapped herself around my hand almost immediately. I was able to collect a sample from her as she musked, and then put the lid on the sample tube, all with the snake in or rather around my other hand. I wasn`t bitten either, and I didn`t swing her around by her tail.

Members of the public should not be encouraged to tail harmless grass snakes or adders for that matter! If you look at the famous TV snake handlers that have been referred to previously, when a snake is tailed, the weight of the animal is still supported either by a stick or the ground. and not left dangling for periods of time. Tailing a grass snake is competely and wholly unecessary as it would be to use a snake hook.

Here are some images of wild grass snakes taken seconds after capture. No dangling by the tail, and absolutely no snake hooks! Laughing






Ben,

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

benwaddams wrote:


First off, I can absolutely assure everyone that I am not an attention grabber/seeker or whatever. I believe my first video was that of my diving in the local river. This was entirely a bit of fun when it was hot enough to do that with a mate and a couple of dogs.



I did think it was funny.

benwaddums wrote:
(oh and by the way, I have worked with Austin Stevens at Tigress Productions and consider him to be one of the very worst 'wildlife presenters' (or is that actor?) out there).



I would never have guessed! We agree on Austin Stevens at least. Wink

benwaddums wrote:
Here I'd like to admit to some mistakes. I absolutely agree that I should have put a warning and/or statement of some description up before and after my clips and if I make any in the future, this is what I will improve on. I AM concerned that people will try and copy (I hope I don't come across as arrogant enough to use the term 'imitate') me and injure the animal concerned or heaven forbid (!) themselves. I would love for viewers to go out there and try and find the species I show, but certainly not damage or unnecessarily disturb them in any way because of it (adult female adders for example in april/may/june when they can become stressed and reabsorb their embryos). This is something I will address in future clips and I sincerely thank you for your comments.



Fair play. Cool


benwaddums wrote:
Alot of my negative comments concern...concern for the animals, which is why it makes me so happy that people care. I can, hand on heart assure you that none of the animals I've found on my walks with a camera were harmed in any way. It would never enter my head to treat an animal with any less respect than my friends, which I consider them to be. I considered that Grass Snake to be happier being tailed than being held around the body or (seriously..heaven forbid) around the neck or head. I would never touch a reptile's head or neck and all of my captures are held as gently as possible. For 95% of the Grass Snake video, although I was in contact with the tail, he was given support on the ground or my other hand and I was simply keeping in contact with him.



Ben, having caught more grass snakes than I care to remember over the past 30 plus years, the only time that it is neccessary to grab the animal is during the initial capture, after which the snake entwines itself around my hand. It holds me, I don`t hold it.

benwaddums wrote:
If I can excite one person and make them care about our wildlife, just that one extra degree which means they take a conservation themed career, then I will be forever a happy person.



Fair comment also. I would be a great deal happier if you reshot the grass snake episode without all the unnecessary tailing however. Hopefully that will reduce the instances of copy cat behaviour which may be less "careful" then you were. A few warnings regarding adders wouldn`t go amiss either. Wink

Peter

EDIT. Ben if you have the time, you may want to read the thread here; http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=2585 &PN=1&TPN=1

Some of the most experienced British field herpetologist`s are members of this forum, many of which have already commented on your videos. I am sure that they would be only too happy to discuss your videos with you and advise you regarding handling techniques.

 

 

Hopefully he will also read this thread and perhaps seek advice from this forum`s membership.

 


 

Peter39610.3555092593



armata
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Posted: 11 Jun 2008
Just to say that there are a few non-venomous snakes you should handle with care, i.e. hook and tail. Mole snake comes to mind, get bitten and you will probably need stitching up
'I get my kicks on Route 62'

- What is this guy doing!!??

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