Snakes create a plethora of reactions: there is the high-pitched scream, hurried attempts to turn your face away and not look at the creature, to a curious fascination and passion. Meet "Snake Man" Michael Fordham, who spends his time introducing snakes and other animals to schools, universities and colleges in the UK giving students a chance to hear his stories and meet some real life animals.
Traidhos Camp, Chiang Mai was lucky enough to spend a few days with Michael when he visited northern Thailand this summer, and campers surprised themselves by getting up close and personal to these emotive reptiles.
Michael has been studying, tracking and catching wildlife for over twelve years across multiple countries. He uses the experience he acquires in the wild to pass on information during his educational sessions. He believe in the motto: "In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught".
During his visit, Michael shared his love of snakes with a range of campers. Young Traidhos Family Camp participants stroked the body of a snake and were surprised at how smooth and warm it felt. Older campers carefully held the snake learning about its distinguishing features and its favourite diet. English campers dressed up a camper in snake-catching clothes and learnt what to do if faced with a snake on campus. Still other groups, joined Michael for a night walk, learning not only about snakes, but some of the other creatures in the habitat who are part of the snake's foodchain.
Michael comments, "I firmly believe in the motto and in sharing my passion for wildlife. I have seen first hand at what a difference positive interactions and enthusiasm for wildlife can have. I find this particularly important here in Thailand as many children (and adults) that I meet are very ill informed of what wildlife they have here and what jewels they are missing out on..... I am so desperate to show them!"
What an amazing opportunity for Traidhos campers! We look forward to further visits from our very own "snake man"!