Snakes alive! It’s the season of heat and lust

2008-11-12 00:00

Snakes are out and about in KaZulu-Natal and extremely hot weather conditions have been cited as one of the reasons for the recent increased snake activity.

Mark Enslin, a Pietermaritzburg snake enthusiast and catcher, said the hot weather and the advent of the mating season are the two main reasons for the increased activity.

“There is definitely a lot of activity this time of the year. Today alone I caught four different snakes, including two bush snakes, a red-lipped herald and a common night adder,” Enslin told The Witness yesterday.

He added that snakes are expected to slowing down only when winter sets in. “In winter snakes hibernate, but with the changing weather they do come out on hot winter days.”

Nonetheless, Enslin said, there is no need to panic as most snakes found inside houses are harmless brown house or bush snakes. “If you have a lot of geckos in your house then you will find you are likely to attract bush snakes … ”

He said it is important that the bush snakes are not confused with green mambas.

“Last week I got a call from a lady in Hilton claiming that there was a green mamba that had bitten her dog. “We rushed there and found that the dog had been bitten by a bush snake.

“It is important to know that we do not have green mambas in this [Pietermaritzburg] area. The important thing is that people need to know snakes so as to identify them easily,” he said.

He said dangerous snakes in Pietermaritzburg include Mozambique spitting cobras, puff adders and black mambas, which are found in the Ashburton area.

Enslin says that in Hilton, the common venomous snakes include the boomslang and the puff adder.

It is mainly pets who become victims of the snakes, he added.

Enslin advised residents not to try to catch snakes and to seek medical attention straight after being bitten.

Enslin’s help is free and he can be contacted at 082 373 2396.

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