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Venomous Snake Identification

The course starts with a Snake Awareness, Scorpion Awareness, Spider Awareness, and First Aid for Snakebite/Scorpion sting lecture that lasts around 3 hours. It includes scorpion awareness, snake awareness, biology and behaviour, myths, identification, basic first aid for snakebite, scorpion sting and spider bite, as well as medical treatment of snakebite and is followed by a written test. We will break at around 13:00 for lunch and snake handling, for those doing it, will start at around 14:00 (these times are suggested and not exact). Snake handling, depending on the group size takes around 1½ – 2 hours.

Snakes used for the handling session vary but we usually make use of the following species: Puff Adder, Snouted Cobra, Cape Cobra,  and Rinkhals. The African Snakebite Institute will supply all equipment needed for delegates to use during the snake handling session (hooks, tongs, buckets and tubes).

As you will be writing a test just before the lunch break, please bring a pen and notepad (for those who wish to take notes). No prior studying or snake knowledge is necessary for the test and the format is multiple choice.

Dress code: Those doing the venomous snake handling should wear long trousers and closed shoes. On hot days please bring along a hat.    Important:

1). No spectators are allowed during the Snake Awareness session. This includes children. Spectators (including children) are welcome to watch the venomous snake handling session from a safe distance but please ensure that spectators, especially small children, do not interfere with the training in any way.

2). Cell phones: The use of cell phones for text messages and calls is not permitted during the awareness or handling courses and may only be left on for emergency calls.

3) Our minimum age requirement for both the Awareness course and the Handling course is 12 years of age.

Please note:

1). Delegates that do the venomous snake handling will have to sign an indemnity prior to the practical session. Those below 21 years of age will have to have a parent or guardian sign the indemnity.


Our courses are presented by Johan Marais, one of Africa’s leading herpetologist with over 40 years of experience. Johan is an FGASA approved service provider and accredited by ISZS (the International Society of Zoological Sciences). Johan is the most prominent author of snake books in Africa and has written the best sellers A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa, Snakes and Snakebite and First Aid for Snakebite. He is also the snake expert for the Tygerberg Poison Centre and the Red Cross poison centre, as well as an advisor to various hospitals and clinics throughout Africa. He conducts snake awareness and venomous snake handling courses for a variety of organisations, including Travel Doctors and Inhemaco. This course is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and registered health professionals earn 4 CPD points (level 2). This course is also recognised by the Directorate of Nature Conservation, Gauteng, for those applying for a problem snake removal permit.

MIN: 12 MAX: 25 persons


Waterberg Tourism Members – R1450-00

Non-Waterberg Tourism Members – R1650-00

Cost includes:

Certificate, course notes, the First Aid for Snakebite booklet as well as a Dangerous Snakes of Southern Africa poster. Tea and coffee will be served, but delegates must please bring their own lunch.




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Apr 22 2021


All Day

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Apr 22 2021
  • Time: All Day


From R1450.00


Farmers Hall, Vaalwater


African Snake Bite Institute

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