By Robain Polly, Product Evangelist and Resident Snake Charmer, Autochartist.com
I collect venomous snakes as a hobby; my collection includes adders, vipers and cobras. I spend hours studying and looking after them. I have often decided to quit, and a few weeks later I find myself getting new snakes just because they are pretty or rare. Yes, I have a problem, it’s an addiction.
Snakes fascinate me. I have worked with them almost my entire life and living in Africa has the unique advantage of bringing me into contact with snakes in the wild. I’m the go-to guy for the local community and emergency services when there are problem snakes on peoples’ properties.
I know what you are thinking, “that is crazy”, “it’s dangerous”, and that is mostly true. Yes, some of the species can seriously hurt me, and some could easily kill me. There have been times when things have gone wrong and it came very close to disaster, but I have never been bitten by a venomous snake. It may be just be a function of skill and experience, but it’s probably just pure luck.
White Lipped Tree Viper drinking water off a leaf
Before handling a snake I make sure that I have the right tools; for example large snakes need sturdy snake hooks and snake tongs, which are clumsy when working with smaller snakes. Snakes that spit venom require that I wear special eye protection.
I also assess the risks. What happens if the snake bites me? What treatment options are there? Do I have an “Exit Plan” if things go wrong?
On the other hand, I look at possible rewards; is the snake special enough to accept the risks? Does the color or beauty factor justify the risks? Is there a challenge to get the species (are they common, or difficult to find)? Does catching/working with the snake cause excitement or adrenaline rush?
Red Spitting Cobra, hooding
It’s as if snake collecting and trading is the same thing. Risk versus Reward, and the same concepts of Risk/Reward show up. What happens if you I money? Can I afford to lose the money? If it goes wrong, do you have an exit plan?
Why trade in the first place? For me it’s the challenge and excitement of entering the trade, and the adrenaline of watching the progress of my trades.
In terms of tools, the one tool I don’t trade without is Autochartist’s Risk Calculator. It puts my mind at ease about not losing excess amounts of capital.
Rinkals drinking water from a bottle
For me it’s all about risk vs reward, both when I handle snakes and when I trade. I love them both!