Be prepared for snake season

2018-09-27 06:02
PHOTO: supplied(From left) Rusa officers Yasheen Singh and Kevin Valoo with snake catcher Jason Arnold.

PHOTO: supplied(From left) Rusa officers Yasheen Singh and Kevin Valoo with snake catcher Jason Arnold.

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SUMMER is around the corner on the KZN North Coast with temperatures rising daily.

This warm weather has increased snake activity and, with the increased activity, snake-human encounters are also on the rise.

With spring being snake season, reptiles of all kinds come out from their hiding places to enjoy the humid season and are slowly settling into their spring and summer routines.

Every year in Verulam and Tongaat, snake handlers and Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) officers are inundated with calls from terrified residents reporting sightings of dangerous snakes such as black mambas and pythons at their homes. A two-metre long black mamba was captured at a home in Parkgate, Verulam recently.

Rusa said in a statement that their officers rescued the snake, which was wrapped around a burglar bar in the living room. Professional snake catcher Jason Arnold of Universal Reptiles was called to the scene. The snake was then removed from the house.

Neville Wolmarans of the Ndlondlo Reptile Park has been involved in snake rescues and data collection for 30 years on the KZN North Coast.

“It is important to understand how to deal with snake encounters if one wants to avoid dangerous situations. “When a snake is encountered don’t engage the snake. Up to 72% of local snake bites are a result of people trying to capture or kill the snake. Only 28% of our snake bites are accidental, where someone stands on a snake or picks one up without realising it,” Wolmarans said.

He said once a snake has been spotted, the residents should keep an eye on it from a safe distance and call a professional snake handler to deal with it, saying: “If the snake is indoors, close the room up, shut the doors and windows and call a professional snake catcher. Keep pets and children away from the snake and minimise activity around the snake. Snakes only bite in self-defence and a lot of activity could lead to the snake feeling threatened,” Wolmarans said. He warned that people should not pour hot water on the snake or burn tryes or any other material to smoke it out.

“Call a snake catcher who operates in your area, he is closer and can get there faster. He will also be more familiar with the area and less likely to get lost,” Wolmarans said.

Wolmarans advised residents to be more vigilant during this season when scratching around in store rooms and garages as these are common places where snakes hide.

The team has rescued two black mambas and a green mamba in the North Coast so far.

In an emergency, call snake catchers closest to you — Reservoir Hills, Newlands, Phoenix and Verulam can call Jason at 082 745 6375; Tongaat to Tugela Mouth can call the Ndlondlo Reptile Park team, Neville at 082 561 4969, Helen at 079 453 3557 or Sam at 072 316 8178.

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