The year was 1989, the place – the wilds of the small Warwickshire town of Henley in Arden. When my father brought home our first pet snake, a captive bred Corn Snake. I remember him being quite a feisty little fella, so I aptly named him after the school bully, Kevin. I was 6 years old, and I was in love, not like most 6 year olds, holding hands with ‘Little Kate’ because she gave you half her chocolate milk, and being embarrassed because your mother saw it when she came to pick you up from school. Nope, my love was for snakes, there was something about them, something hard to pinpoint, but it was there, and it still is.
Reading books, studying, watching documentaries over and over again just wasn’t doing it for me anymore, neither was our fortnightly herping trips to local woodlands such as Kingsbury Water Park and the Lickey Hills. I needed more.
I’m lucky enough to have travelled far and wide on my studies of these wonderful reptiles, 4 continents, 16 countries, numerous hire cars, various bouts of food poisoning and a few scars. And I still want more.
Over a year in Egypt, many a sweltering day was spent in the Sinai Desert, and even hotter ones spent in the Eastern Desert, all worth it to find my first Naja Haje.
Many trips to Southern Africa, breath-taking trips through The Emirates and the awe of seeing the Everglades for the first time, to name but a few.
And I still want more.
This is what we do, many people think we’re strange, many people think we’re just plain nuts. But us, like the reptiles we love, are misunderstood.
So, let’s have some fun.
Matt is the author of “Takes on Herpetoculture: an irreverent look at reptile culture”