Snake breeding season is here

2015-11-24 06:00
Harmless house snake. Photos: supplied

Harmless house snake. Photos: supplied

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SUMMER is here and many people are happy because of the warm weather and pretty flowers around.

But this time of year also causes people to panic, because it is snake season - a time when snakes come to breed.

According to KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation spokesperson Nick Evans, snakes are one of the most feared and most misunderstood animals on Earth.

“This is due to a lack of education, TV and myths and beliefs that have been passed on through the generations. Ninety-nine percent of these beliefs are false. Snakes do not need to be feared at all.

“Most of us get snakes in our garden or homes. There is nothing you can do to keep snakes away permanently, no chemical or plant will do that. Keeping your garden tidy will not attract snakes. They come onto our properties looking for food and shelter - that's all. Remember, snakes have few natural areas to occupy, because of all the destruction of wildlife habitat.”

He said the number one rule when dealing with any snake is leave it alone - for your safety and the snakes. Most snakebites occur when people either try to catch a snake, or kill it.

“It's time that we all get to understand snakes a little better. You don't have to like them, just respect them.

Snakes, like all animals, are here for a reason. They have a role to fulfill in the ecosystem. Snakes are important in our environment as predators and as prey.

“They are like free pest control, keeping rat and gecko populations in check.”

They also help keep frog numbers under control. Snakes are food for a host of animals, such as birds and small carnivorous mammals. So snakes form a key link in the food chain. We need to co-exist with wildlife, it's one of the terms and conditions for living in Africa.”

He said if one sees a snake in a garden keep calm and still, and move away slowly, and stay at a safe distance. “If you would like the snake to be removed, call someone who specialises in dealing with snakes. Until that person arrives, it is important to keep an eye on the snake. They tend to disappear quickly. Snakes do not want to bite people, they are a lot more scared of us than we are of them. Snakes only bite as a last resort.

“So next time you see a snake, do not kill it. Just let it fulfill it's natural role. You don't need to live in fear of snakes at all. Remember, respect them, don't fear them. They're amazing animals that are really interesting. Take the time to learn about your local species via Google and social media, as well as books.”

For snake removals, call Nick on 072 809 5806 or email - Supplied.

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