Rainy weather sees quiet snake season

2009-12-01 00:00

SNAKE experts say the snake “season” is not over, but that snakes are hiding because of the cold and rainy weather. Independent snake handler Garth Carpenter told The Witness recently that in October and the beginning of November, he attended to about 60 call-outs in the Ashburton and Mpusheni areas.

“The most hectic was a weekend last month where I had to attend to 16 call-outs. We had quite a few hot days in that month, so it is normal that snakes come out of hibernation to hunt for food. When it gets cold, they find comfortable areas wherever they are,” Carpenter said.

During the call-outs to the areas, he caught 10 spitting cobras, four black mambas, four pythons, a number of puff adders and the harmless species.

“We always advise people not to handle snakes if they don’t have the experience to do so. Rather call the experts to avoid unnecessary injury or death,” he said.

The venomous black mamba, spitting cobra, puff adder, harmless brown house snake, herald and spotted bush snake are common in the two areas Carpenter has been called out to. He said boomslangs are found more commonly in the Blackridge area.

He said snakes come out at night to hunt for frogs and rats, not to attack people.

He warned people to ignore snakes, especially puff adders and pythons as they lie still when they encounter people. “They do so hoping that they are not seen, but if you charge at them, they fight back. The python is not venomous, but its bite is painful; the puff adder is poisonous.”

Mark Enslin, also an independent snake handler, said snakes also come out during the day.

He said because they are cold blooded, as soon as we have hot days, they’ll come out depending on the temperature.

No reports of snakes biting people were given by either of the snake handlers.

People who use their gara­ges as store rooms are advised to be careful because snakes are likely to hide in there.

Other advice is to clear yards of any rubble.

Certain dark and warm spots inside the house and underneath motors of swimming pool pumps are also favourite hiding areas.

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