Bill Aherne

Name ID 1484

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 217b
Extract Date: 1960's

Live venomous snakes

George Six remained in Arusha for some years after the death of his good friend. Besides his chosen career as white hunter, Six kept up his other remarkably varied interests. The former physician obtained a contract to supply live venomous snakes to American research groups. As dense bush was cleared on his Kiru Valley coffee plantation, enormous anthills were uncovered. George had a tractor driver knock down the anthills with a bulldozer. This usually revealed an amazing number of snakes living in these abandoned cementhard anthills. Once the 'dozer blade leveled the anthill, George would dash into the rubble and catch snakes. He often held the snakes with a forked "catching" stick, then grabbed them in his bare hands, holding them behind the neck, then by the tail. He would hold the snake at arm's length with the reptile's head facing the ground. Some days the catch would total as many as thirty venomous snakes, everything from boomslangs to black mambas and puff adders. George carefully catalogued the snakes, then placed them in fine wire-mesh cages for shipment.

While Six assisted with safaris for Stan Lawrence-Brown, his farm was managed by a salty old Australian named Bill Aherne. The plantation was regarded as a model, especially as George had ingeniously built gravity-fed irrigation canals that stretched for miles. Six was to suffer a terrible accident on the farm when his leg was crushed while he worked beneath a crawler tractor. The accident forced him to quit professional hunting. When Tanganyika became Tanzania, the newly independent government nationalized all the farms and most private businesses. George, who had put every cent he had into his Kiru Valley coffee farm, lost everything, and shortly afterward Mary, his wife, died of a heart attack.

Extract ID: 3838