Confrontations with snakes are common, in the event you do encounter a snake, the best advice is to leave it alone.
Every spring snakes come out of hibernation on the hunt for a much needed spring meal. Snakes are very important to our natural environment as they control the vermin rodents, who destroy our crops and who carry numerous diseases.
Snakes and various other reptiles form part of the very important balance in our ecosystem. A simple equation, the more snakes we kill, the more rodents and pests there are.
We have encroached into their natural habitat, through habitat degradation, fragmentation and urban expansion. Our ponds, heaps of building rubble and rockeries in and around our garden and homes create microenvironments, which will inevitably attract snakes.
Remember snakes are attracted to neglected areas where there is not much disturbance, as snakes hate confrontation. There is no real way of keeping snakes off your property, but if you keep your grass cuts short, trees well-trimmed and clean up all your building rubble, just to mention a few, then there is less likelihood for snakes to reside on your property. In short keep your garden tidy.
You are statistically more likely to be struck by lightning or kicked to death by a donkey than to die of snakebite in South Africa.
Leave the snake alone - and it will leave you alone. Most bites occur when people attempt to kill snakes.
If a snake is encountered contact me as I am available 24/7 for advice or for emergencies pertaining to snake encounters.
We are the largest and most experienced snake rescue volunteer group anywhere in and around the Cape area. We have more than 80 reptile rescue volunteers on call around the Cape peninsula at any given time.
We are able to give trusted advice assisting in the awareness of these shy elusive creatures.
Follow these steps to make sure you and your pets avoid snakes:
• Most snake bites are caused by accidentally standing on a snake. If you are walking in the bush or veld, wear sensible shoes and long trousers, not sandals.
• Don’t walk around barefoot outside at night or early morning (many snake bites occur within two hours of darkness and sunrise).
• Always walk with your dog on a lead when walking in a field. Snakes can feel your vibrations coming and it gives them time to escape. If the dog is off the lead, they might startle the snake and the snake will have no alternative but to attack rather than move away.
• Keep your eyes open and watch where you’re going.
• If you are mountain climbing, don’t put your hands in places that are not fully visible.
• Don’t step over logs or large rocks, as snakes may be sunning themselves on the opposite side.
• If you come across a snake, stand still and retreat slowly, snakes never chase people.
• Don’t try to kill a snake. Shooting them or hitting them with a spade is asking for trouble.
• Do not tamper with a dead snake, some of them feign death as a defense, with the body turned to the side or upside down.
Article by: Shaun MacLeod
Snake Rescue coordinator volunteer 0825325033
Director of REAC (Reptile Educational Awareness Consultants)