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 Post subject: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 4:10 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
This here forum is probably the only place on the Internet where I can show these photos without triggering a lawsuit for parental neglect or getting flamed into charcoal. I don't even dare to show these pix to the grandparents as proof how nicely the boys have grown lately :D . But show them I do, even if there was no actual field herping involved. Well, in a way there was, at least for the firefighters who caught and delivered the cobra to the zoo, so I hope you'll be lenient...

We received a call from our friends at the Taipei Zoo Rescue Center last week to drive over and check out their new arrival, an adult Russell's Viper. After the photo session with that beast (see here), my sons, who had been at the Center before, went looking for their favorite animal family in the whole wide world, namely the cobras. The Rescue Center houses three of them - a Snouted Cobra (Naja annulifera), which was relocated to the Center a few years ago after killing his owner in a tank cleaning accident, and two Chinese cobras (Naja atra) that the fire brigade had brought in. Seeing the fiery craving in the boys' eyes as they stood before the tank housing the larger specimen, our friend opened the enclosure and took the snake out. My kids and I have some experience in handling some species of snakes, but in many ways, cobras are totally different animals and require different techniques, and we never pass up a lesson from an expert. Our friend showed us how to tail the snake, told us what signs to pay attention to, and eventually demonstrated how to grab the cobra behind the head for safe handling. We took turns tailing the animal, but refrained from taking a shot at grabbing its head - even the storied madness of the Twoton Clan has its limits. We did, however, relish the opportunity to feel the snake up (so to speak)....it feels much smoother than it might look.

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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 8:42 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:48 am
Posts: 353
Location: Seattle, WA
I would probably let me son tail a cobra too, but probably not in flip flops!

That is one beefy cobra.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 9:19 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
OMG !!111! call CPS OMG! ;)
I dunno, mom let me play in a bayou back of our house in Houston when I was real little (think 6 years old)...rattlers and corals :) no one cared then. And then go hiking by myself in the Rockies when we moved there.

What type of cobra is it? I'm not up on elapids at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 9:20 am 
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 10:14 am
Posts: 772
Location: Eastern Washington
NICE!

I am jealous of them. I wouldn't have been able to say no thank you in handling it by the head though. I guess it is a good thing venomous snakes are not that common in my part of the planet.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 9:23 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:31 am
Posts: 364
Location: A bunker near Mountainburg AR
Awesome stuff Hans! I always get excited when I see you post stuff...
looks like your boys are living what most of fantasize about....tell them they are super lucky to have a dad like you!


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 9:26 am 
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I wouldn't assume you won't get torched here. :) That's a hot-button set of photos. Certainly plenty of room for legitimate criticism.

scott


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 10:42 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:14 pm
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Location: Pacific Northwest
No complaints with me as I know that the person doing the training probably has a very good understanding of that snake and the species' behavior, and I've seen cobras handled before and know their movement while handling is unique, so some of the complaints I might have had about the narrow hallway and stuff isn't as much an issue as it might have been with other species...


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 10:48 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 2:29 pm
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Even the BEST hot handlers make mistakes? How would you feel if it happened is the question?


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 11:26 am 
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 10:14 am
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Location: Eastern Washington
There are risk with everything.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 2:59 pm 
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Joined: June 30th, 2010, 12:37 pm
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Location: Earth
No flames from this guy. Brings me back to when I got my venomous training from a very respected keeper. I had the same misconceptions going in to my training "they're lighting fast, they just want to kill you, you touch them and the immediately react by biting" etc. For the most part captive cobras are calm - so much so it is unnerving. I tailed numerous cobras of various species - up to 7 feet long. My training wasn't over until I gained confidence in my abililties. Your kids are going to be more prepared and knowledgeable due to experiences such as this. If my father had spent the time and given me these types of opportunities, I would probably be a herpetologist. :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 5:10 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:11 am
Posts: 5722
Location: Los Angeles County
I thought there was a unwritten rule of no posting of holding hots here?

For the very fact we don't want to encourage it any level..

Personally I think holding cobra or a pit by the tail for the sake of doing so isn't real smart. And I don't agree with allowing a kid to do so. But hey we live in free countries..

Fundad


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 5:33 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 3:28 pm
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Not a flame, but just some friendly advice:

Lots of photos that make nice family keepsakes shouldn't ever be posted on the internet. Showing pictures of a zookeeper giving young children a lesson in cobra handling is one thing, but showing pictures of said young children doing the handling themselves is quite another. No good and a lot of bad can potentially come from the latter. I'd take those particular photos down if I were you.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 26th, 2010, 9:53 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks for your comments, all! Lots of food for thought.

Quote:
holding cobra or a pit by the tail for the sake of doing so

Tailing a cobra - any venomous snake, really - in order to move it involves more than just grabbing the animal's tail and lifting it, and for us, any opportunity to learn how to do it right is very welcome: for the next eight years, we will live in Sarawak (Borneo). Cobras are part of daily human life there, and not just in the countryside. Familiarity with these animals and knowledge about efficient, safe ways to handle them is not a parlor trick, but a real skill set that will be useful even if we weren't herpers.

Quote:
I thought there was a unwritten rule of no posting of holding hots here?

There is? If so, I'll apologize and take the offending pictures down. On the other hand, I've posted photos of people handling kraits and pitvipers here before and was never reprimanded. Please let me know!


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 27th, 2010, 12:28 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:06 am
Posts: 142
I don't see anything here more dangerous than allowing your kids to cross the road.
They are with an experienced handler (and having more than one person while dealing with a cobra makes like ten times easier), captive cobras become really quite 'tame', and you can pretty much see the strikes coming - of course any animal can be unpredictable, but the chances are low, and if it did, you could just drop it, and step back if need be.

In my opinion handling a cobra by the tail is far far safer than handling a pitviper by the tail.

The only concern I have is that the kids will think all cobras behave like this; a wild cobra is very different and you will need space to move, ideally a hook, and the species in Borneo are generally a lot more slender.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 27th, 2010, 12:34 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:39 am
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I am not concerned for the safety of your kids at all, but I would not personally post such pics just because of concerns for the random stupid people on the internet who won't be able to understand exactly what precautions go into doing such a thing. Not to mention the ones that will try it with a cottonmouth.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 27th, 2010, 12:43 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Quote:
The only concern I have is that the kids will think all cobras behave like this

They know the difference. Although they've never really experienced a cobra in the wild (seen, yes, really met, no), fellow herpers have told them many stories about wild specimens and their behavior. We also have many friends who keep hots, including one eccentric fellow who shares his bedroom with 120 venomous snakes, among them 38 cobras from various countries, and they've seen those animals in action too, so they're quite clear about the difference between the unpredictability and temper of wild snakes and often rather docile captives.

jonathan,

you have a very valid point there. But do these people frequent FHF? From what I've seen here in the past two years, the number of idiots is amazingly low, compared to many other forums.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 27th, 2010, 1:02 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:39 am
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Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
jonathan,

you have a very valid point there. But do these people frequent FHF? From what I've seen here in the past two years, the number of idiots is amazingly low, compared to many other forums.



The number of people who lurk may be greater than the number who post, and the unfortunate thing about the internet is that a picture can be copied and pasted and emailed and posted far past its original source and context.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 27th, 2010, 1:18 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Quote:
The number of people who lurk may be greater than the number who post, and the unfortunate thing about the internet is that a picture can be copied and pasted and emailed and posted far past its original source and context.

True again. One could, of course, counter-argue that "Jackass", NASCAR races, and professional boxing routinely televise ways of harming oneself and others in various gory ways, and they do so under the premise that nobody will be stupid enough to copy them. The balance between indirect responsibility for your fellow human's actions and personal freedom of expression is very delicate, I admit.


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 Post subject: Re: Chinese Cobra & Little Twotons
PostPosted: July 27th, 2010, 9:59 am 
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 10:14 am
Posts: 772
Location: Eastern Washington
Coming from someone that recently removed pics off of the internet for FAILOR...

Personally I am on the fence in regards to the kids tailing the snake. But I am also the kind of father that tries to expose his kids to as many 'safe' life experiences as possible. No I did not show my kids the pic I removed. I think these pics are fine for the internet as there is a trained handler and I don't really see it triggering bad behaviors by amateurs. I would have let my kids touch said cobra but only if the cobra was headed by someone who knew what they were doing. It just depends on the level of experience the kid has. I would wager that your kids probably have more experience with venomous snake behavior and handling than myself. So ultimate you know if the acts in the above pic were appropriate or not. I can tell you with certainty that if I was in a place that my 4 children would be exposed to deadly snakes I would go out of my way to make sure they knew how to properly deal with situations that might arise.


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