What you should know about dealing with snakes

Nick Evans is seen with a Black Mamba, which was captured in Westville.

With the beginning of the summer season, local snake catcher, Nick Evans, has issued tips on how to deal with snakes as it is currently mating season for the species.

“Now, female snakes are busy laying their clutches of eggs and looking for food to regain weight. Juveniles and males are both looking for food as well. In a month or two’s time, hatchling snakes will start appearing.  So this time of year has people a bit on edge, and worried, but don’t waste the festive season worrying about snakes, and avoiding going outside,” he said

Useful information on how to deal with snakes this summer:

I’ve seen a snake, what do I do?

If the snake is in your garden, keep a safe distance away from it, five metres or more.  Keep calm as there is no need to panic. The snake, even if it’s a big Black Mamba, will not attack you. Snakes are more scared of humans than we are of them. They will always try to flee rather than fight.

If you see a snake in your house, do the same as the above. Do not approach it. It is best to call a snake-catcher for advice, or to remove it.

Killing or catching snakes:

Never attempt to kill or capture a snake. This could well put you in hospital. Snakes just want to be left alone, but will bite if they feel like they need to defend themselves.

Killing a snake is not wise. Firstly, you’re getting close to the snake to kill it. Secondly, you’re inflicting pain upon it. It is then going to want to bite you, so do not do this.

If you want to save a snake, then that is a great attitude to have, but please leave it to a professional. A snake won’t know that you’re trying to save it. Should you approach it and grab it, it will bite you in defence.

So, no matter the situation, always leave them alone, and don’t go near them. This does not mean fear them, there’s no need to.

How do I keep snakes away from the garden?

Firstly, don’t waste any money in doing this, because there is no sure-fire way to repel snakes. No chemical or plant has been proven to repel snakes, this includes Jeye’s Fluid. The best and only thing one can really do, is to keep the garden neat and tidy. Keep the lawn well-mowed, trim down shrubs that may be growing against your windows, do not leave piles of wood or rubble lying around etc. Snakes come to properties for food and shelter, not to harm residents.

In the event of a snakebite:

No matter what snake it was, one must immediately go to the nearest hospital.

Do not:

  • Panic.
  • Wait for symptoms to show.
  • Cut around the site of the bite.
  • Attempt to suck the venom out as it won’t harm you, but it doesn’t work.
  • Rub any crystals or chemicals on the bite.
  • Do not use a tourniquet.
  • Do not try to kill or capture the snake to take to the hospital for identification, as this can end in another bite. A cell phone picture from a distance will help, but is not necessary, as doctors can work out what species is responsible for the bite via the symptoms.

“As mentioned, the best thing to do is get straight to a hospital, or to call an ambulance for assistance. Try to keep the patient calm. A pressure bandage is valuable, as it buys time by slowing the spread of the venom, but getting to hospital is still the priority. If you can get to hospital within an hour or maybe even more, you should be fine. Snakebites are rare, and death from snakebites are even rarer,” said Evans.

He also added that snakes do not need to be feared and persecuted. “They deserve respect, and are best left alone. Admire them from a distance, and remember that they are here on this planet for a reason. Once you learn about them, you will understand them better, and you will fear them a lot less. You may grow to love them. They are remarkable animals and are truly amazing,” Evans concluded. For snake awareness talks, email nickevanskzn@gmail.com or contact Evans on 072-809-5806.

 

 

 

 

  AUTHOR
Zola Phoswa
Journalist

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