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Trinidad: ‘Snake boy’ assures he knows how to handle reptiles

By Trinidad Guardian

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) —  He is now be­ing called “snake boy”.

Sai­fudeen Muham­mad the 13-year-old, Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege, Ch­agua­nas stu­dent went vi­ral af­ter a video was post­ed on so­cial me­dia of his brav­ery in re­mov­ing a wild maca­juel snake at the school com­pound this week.

Since his brav­ery was high­light­ed, Sai­fudeen has re­ceived both prais­es and crit­i­cisms.

The teenag­er said he has a love for an­i­mals and is a wildlife vol­un­teer at the El So­cor­ro Wildlife Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre.

“My whole life I have loved an­i­mals and es­pe­cial­ly snakes, I find them so fas­ci­nat­ing, so when I heard there was a snake at the school in­stant­ly I knew that I had to go and re­move it be­cause there was some­one there al­ready with a piece of wood about to hit it,” he said.

“I told him don’t hurt it, I will re­move it, so I went and pulled it out and take a stick and pinned down the snake on the head.”

This was not Sai­fudeen’s first en­counter with wild an­i­mals.

He has a YouTube chan­nel where he shares his many an­i­mal res­cues through­out Trinidad.

“I have been vol­un­teer­ing at the El So­cor­ro Wildlife and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre and be­ing at the cen­tre taught me a lot about wild an­i­mals es­pe­cial­ly snakes,” he said.

Sai­fudeen said in Trinidad and To­ba­go a lot of peo­ple are afraid of snakes but he gave a bit of ad­vice: “a snake is not go­ing to hurt you un­less you pro­voke it.”

He added when you see a snake and you want it re­moved call in pro­fes­sion­al like him­self.

The 13-year-old wildlife lover has over four cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in wildlife con­ser­va­tion and in the near fu­ture, he wants to be­come a her­petol­o­gist.

A her­petol­o­gist is some­one who spe­cialis­es in the study of rep­tiles and am­phib­ians.

Sai­fudeen’s fa­ther, Anes Muham­mad said, “Since Sai­fudeen was five he had a love for wildlife, as he was fas­ci­nat­ed with learn­ing the names of di­nosaurs, we sure he had a pas­sion and we en­cour­aged him and then we took him to the El So­cor­ro Wildlife Cen­tre”.

Muham­mad added, “Well any­time he does have a snake en­counter I am very ner­vous but he han­dles him­self well all the time, I al­ways ask him if he is sure about what he is do­ing and he replies he is.”

The fa­ther said, “So far so good, it’s some­thing he loves and we will con­tin­ue to en­cour­age him.”

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of El So­cor­ro Wildlife Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre Ri­car­do Meade said from their wildlife camps a lot of the kids come out with new en­cour­age­ment for con­ser­va­tion and Sai­fudeen was one of them.

“What we saw on the video, was some­one who is ca­pa­ble and act­ed as a re­spon­si­ble pro­fes­sion­al in re­strain­ing that snake that very few peo­ple in this coun­try could have done”, Mr Meade said, “For that we ap­plaud him as he has tak­en our train­ing in­to a re­al-life sce­nario and de­ployed it cor­rect­ly.”

The snake at the school com­pound was lat­er re­leased in­to the wild.

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