Snake safety tips

By Drum Digital
24 November 2015

Spring has sprung and snakes will soon be coming out of the hiding in search of food.

By Nomzamo Ngcobo

The City of Ekurhuleni cautions pet owners to beware and keep an eye on their pets, as they may fall prey to snakes.

City Spokesperson Themba Gabede says a number of snakes which are harmless to humans are likely to be found in backyard gardens searching for food. These include the brown house snake, aurora house snake, olive house snake and red-lipped snake.

He explains, “Due to their harmless and less defensive nature, these species tend to be easily killed or captured as pets, an illegal and punishable act if one does not have a legal permit.”

However, he adds that snakes like the puff adder and rinkhals are extremely dangerous.

What to do when you come across a snake:

  • Give the snake a right of way.
  • You can scream and shout but don’t jump or move.
  • Keep a distance of about 5 m from the snake as some snakes can spit poison.
  • Watch where the snake ends up so you can help locate it once you’ve contacted an expert.
  • Don’t try to kill the snake, as this will put you in danger of being bitten.

What to do if bitten by a snake or spat on in the eyes or an open wound:

  • Don’t panic.
  • Don’t run or try to drive yourself.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible.

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