78 snakes removed from WRand properties

By Drum Digital
14 March 2013

During the past summer, West Rand emergency services removed more than 78 snakes from residential stands, it was reported on Thursday.

"Most were released into a safe environment," snake expert Gerhardt Nieuwoudt, who is also the head of Mogale City's emergency services, told Beeld.

He said snakes were generally more active in warm areas and preferred the lush vegetation found in KwaZulu-Natal.

"But there are snakes everywhere... even in and around Gauteng a lot of snakes are captured and removed annually."

He said encroaching urban development threatened the reptiles' habitat and they had therefore become a lot more prevalent in urban areas.

Beeld reported three snake bite incidents in the past week.

Nieuwoudt said emergency officials on the West Rand were trained to safely capture snakes.

he told the newspaper certain television shows promoted an irrational fear of snakes, and that most South African snake species were harmless.

The best thing to do to prevent snake bites was to keep a safe distance, as a snake would defend itself if it felt threatened, and to find a contact number for an experienced snake handler, some of which were listed on sareptiles.co.za.

-by Sapa

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