Unbeknown to me this tour also included a close up and personal with a snake. As we were guided round learning lots about fish, puffins and baby jellyfish I kept seeing signs for snake bite emergencies but at no time thought anything much of it, except that it seemed a weird place for it behind the scenes with the fish.
And then suddenly our lovely guide invited us to grab a stool and sit down in front of some glass tanks. And I suddenly had the nightmare realisation that she was taking a bloody snake out of its glass encasement and was intending to share the thing intimately with us.
My backward walking was perfected in seconds and I got as much distance between the slithering reptile and me as possible, without actually diving into the deep fish tank next to us. It crossed my mind.
My father looked rather shocked by events too - (hence scientifically proving that a fear of snakes is genetic and inbuilt. To further prove my point, one of his sisters, my godmother, is petrified of snakes. I mean petrified).
Our guide asked if anyone wanted to hold it. I mean seriously: half the adults in attendance looked close to passing out, one looked a little uncomfortable and one admittedly looked neutral. So she said maybe we'd like to touch the snake, run our finger over it.
My youngest obliged by tickling it and trying to give it a good squeeze, my middle son ran a finger along the snake, as did my husband. And then I summoned up supermama strength, faced my fear and actually touched it. I touched a snake. And a little bit of my fear for snakes left me.
And then my husband
My husband said, "I don't particularly like snakes, but I sat thinking maybe I'll never get the chance to hold a snake again so if I don't do it now, I'll never do it."
And when it comes to snakes, I'll be happy if the chance to hold a snake never presents itself again (I said the fear had dissipated a little - the fact that I can actually look at this photo is a HUGE step!) however, I think his philosophy is a good one to stroll through life with:
"Live like you'll never get the chance to do this again"And on this note, if you get the chance a tour behind the scenes at Blijdorp is definitely worth it - we all enjoyed the peek at the bits you don't usually get to see as a zoo visitor.