Omani photographer’s wildlife pictures wow followers on social media
February 14, 2018 | 9:30 PM
by Times News Service
Mohammed Al Mashani’s passion pushed him to learn more about snakes, and how to handle them. Photo – Supplied

Muscat: Mohammed Al Mashani, a 38-year-old wildlife photographer, is always happy to see snakes, and feels no fear facing them.

Since childhood, his passion was to do something with wildlife and nature.

And now, he has realised this dream and shares his adventures with reptiles and other predators, with thousands of followers on his social media accounts.

His last shared video is that of an orange cobra snake, which he found at his farm in the Taqah mountain in Dhofar governorate.

“My brother first saw the snake in a room and he called out to me. I was surprised to see the orange cobra, it is a unique snake and not commonly sighted.

“I took it out of the room, then I started shooting a video and took some pictures too. Later, I released it in the wadi, away from the inhabited areas,” Al Mashani said.

Mohammed Al Mashani’s passion pushed him to learn more about snakes, and how to handle them. Photo – Supplied

His passion and interest in snakes pushed him to learn more about them, and how to handle them. “No one taught me how to deal with snakes, but my harmony with nature taught me a lot. I know where the cobra snakes are and the times they appear,” Al Mashani said. “Snakes usually come out in the hot weather and during the rains.”

He has taken photographs of many snakes, such as the orange cobra, elegant racer, bitis arietans and red spitting cobra, as well as dotted bitis snake, black spitting cobra and echis carinatus.

Al Mashani has been tracking snakes for six years but has not been bitten yet.

He said, “Snakes are very dangerous, strong, fierce and a person must deal with them very carefully to avoid bites.

“They move fast and to avoid bites you should be quick and intuitive, especially when a snake inflates its neck, which means the snake is ready to attack.”

“Since I purchased my first camera six years ago, I started looking for snakes. I was filming them and keeping clips; then with the advent of social networking sites, I was encouraged to share the videos with my followers to show them the beauty and the hidden secrets of the Dhofar Mountains.

“Followers are usually fascinated by the images of animals that I post. Most find out about the varied wildlife in the Sultanate through my account.

“Risks and challenges are an essential part of searching for snakes,” he said.

Al Mashani added, “Predators are usually found in deep valleys and mountains; the route to find them is full of cliffs and huge rocks along with dense trees, and one does not know what is hiding underneath, and one may become a prey.

He added, “I like to go alone on my travels, but sometimes friends accompany me. I carry a bag with basic equipment, sticks, and it is important that I wear protective gear to shield myself from stings and bites.”

Snakes and wildlife photography were a hobby, which became a passion for Al Mashani. He said, “When you know some of nature’s secrets, you have the enthusiasm to further search and explore. There are many creatures yet to be discovered.”

In the future, Al Mashani aspires to produce a documentary about animals and snakes in the Dhofar Mountains.

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