TALKING POINT with bruce georgehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/talking-point-with-bruce-george/

TALKING POINT with bruce george

Apart from the usual snakes and different reptiles,there are going to be a whole lot of other animals like elephants and orangutans.

The snake rescuer talks about his long-standing love affair with the lethal reptiles

What animals are you bringing to our television screen with your new show Snake Crusader with Bruce George?
Apart from the usual snakes and different reptiles,there are going to be a whole lot of other animals like elephants and orangutans.

How long have you been fascinated by snakes?
Ever since I was a wee little fellow. My age hadn’t even hit double figures. I used to go to a fair every year where they had belly dancers. But the real attraction for me was the snakes that the dancers used to have wrapped and coiled around them. And at the end of the show,they’d pass the snake around the audience and I would be so thrilled to handle them. Over the years,I got more and more involved with these animals. It’s a relationship that’s lasted almost 35 years.

Australia has some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Have you found equally challenging animals here on the subcontinent?
Definitely,there are many interesting animals to be found in Asia. Apart from the orangutans and the elephants that I already mentioned,there have been some fascinating snakes like the king cobra,reticulated python,Russell vipers and kraits.

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Any interesting run-ins?
The most interesting experience so far was getting kissed by a king cobra. This was in Kuala Lumpur where I was working with some rescuers. I’d never held a king cobra before,so naturally I was very excited. The snake then leaned in and pecked me on the cheek — it was a soft,gentle,sensuous kiss. I fell in love with the king cobra,but it was a female,so I guess I should call her the Queen.

What’s been your scariest experience so far?
This happened in 2003,when I was bitten by a viper; I think it was a death adder. I was 600 kilometres away from the nearest hospital. I had to be given anti-venom,which is actually a very potent cocktail of venoms. So basically,I can’t afford to get bitten anymore — if that does happen,then there’s a 98 percent chance that I won’t make it.