SA warned on summer snake bites

2012-12-10 16:05
Summer means that snakes will be more active and there may be potentially dangerous encounters between the reptiles and the public. (AP)

Summer means that snakes will be more active and there may be potentially dangerous encounters between the reptiles and the public. (AP)

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Biodiversity importance

2012-11-08 13:11

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Cape Town - Summer in the Western Cape means that snakes will be more active and there may be potentially dangerous encounters between the reptiles and the public.

CapeNature has urged that they be contacted in the event of snakes being found in private gardens.

The organisation has trained volunteers who are authorised to capture and remove the reptiles from residential property to ensure that they are not destroyed by overzealous individuals.

"Snake capturers are authorised by CapeNature by means of a permit and are required to obtain a letter from persons on behalf of whom they remove snakes before the snakes are removed from the property. Members of the public are requested to assist CapeNature and authorised snake capturers in this regard," the organisation told News24.

The Western Cape is home to the venomous Puff Adder, Cape Cobra and Boomslang and though these snakes will often avoid human contact, the public is urged not to interfere with them when spotted.

Deaths

"During the summer season we are faced with a number of wild snakes found in residential areas. Most people are terrified of snakes and this fear is mostly caused by the lack of information and understanding of these creatures leading to dire consequences for both snakes and humans," CapeNature said.

Snakes are mainly attracted to prey such as rodents and it is recommended that garden shrubs be cut to ensure that there is little space for rats to hide.

"Snakes can be kept away from houses by trimming dense shrubs or removing any loose building material next to the house.  This usually attracts rodents which are prey items for most snakes, including venomous ones such as the Puff Adder and Cape Cobra," CapeNature urged.

In the event of a venomous snake bite, the victim should be immobilised and transported to the nearest hospital. There are about 15 deaths per year from snake bites in South Africa.

The Poison Information Centre located at Tygerberg Hospital outside Cape Town can also help with information if given a description of the snake.


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