Early days

I am Wouter van Brenk (1984), born and raised in the Netherlands. I grew up with love for nature and wildlife. Encouraged by my father, I learned to find Roe deer, Wild boars and Grass snakes as a young kid. I spent hours along the side of the ditch with my landing net, to catch tadpoles. 

 

It all happened in the forests and meadows near my hometown (Utrecht area) and at the 'Veluwe', with ninety thousand hectares the largest nature reserve in the Netherlands.

In the years that followed I kept my interest in wildlife and, more specifically, developed a major passion for herpetology. A period of learning about this fascinating world began and actually never stopped. Finding and observing reptiles and amphibians in the wild eventually became more than a hobby. It turned into one of my life goals.

Field research

Nowadays I am active in the field for RAVON, the organization that protects Dutch reptiles and amphibians. In one of the study areas I analyze the occurrence of four of our seven native reptile species. Since 2020 I am also part of the WAN (Working group Adder research Netherlands). The small and dedicated team is specialized in researching and conserving European Adder (Vipera berus) populations in the Netherlands. To be able to work in the field with our only venomous snake, which I deeply admire, feels like a privilege.

Photography

I am convinced of the fact that photography is a powerful tool to contribute to awareness and especially when it comes to certain reptiles. Unfortunately snakes can be considered as one of the most feared and misunderstood animals on the planet. Sharing some of my encounters hopefully changes (at least a little bit) the way these amazing and non-aggressive animals are judged by many people.

Photographing herpetofauna in the wild is preferably done, and during specific moments even strictly required, 'in situ' (untouched and as found). Working with respect and the least possible disturbance for both the animal and its habitat should always be the number one priority.

Wouter with a secretive Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), Netherlands

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