‘Snakes will flee rather than fight’

2017-07-18 06:00
Photo: suppliedSnake catcher, Nick Evans catches a mamba.

Photo: suppliedSnake catcher, Nick Evans catches a mamba.

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A SNAKE catcher has advised residents that cleaning their home and maintaining their garden could assist in minimising the chance of snakes entering their property.

Nick Evans, a local snake catcher, said that snakes enter houses when they are looking for food or shelter.

“We must remember that we keep destroying natural areas and we are encroaching on their space, this pushes snakes into suburbia. To minimise the chance of snakes coming into your home, keep the garden as neat and tidy as possible.

“Avoid piling up bricks, rubble or leave wood, however, if you want to keep these goods, store them as far away from your door as possible. Trim hedges growing against windows, but never cut down the trees or shrubs completely as there is no repellent that permanently keeps snakes away,” said Evans­.

Evans explained that in Durban, winter is mild. It doesn’t get cold enough for snakes to have the need to hibernate. That means they are generally less active.

“There are very few frogs and lizards around, which a lot of snakes would primarily feed on. Snakes need warm conditions to digest large meals.

“We have been experiencing a few warm days lately and snakes have taken advantage of that. They have been seen rather frequently. Black Mambas are common in valleys around Westville and Queensburgh, actually breeding in these cooler months.”

Evans advises home owners to call a professional snake catcher for advice or remove a snake if they should find one in their home.

“When someone has been bitten by a snake she or he must quickly get to hospital.If you do not know the type of a snake that bit you, don’t worry ,just rush to the hospital. If a venomous snake is responsible for the bite, the doctor will be able to work out what snake species or venom group is responsible,”he said.

Evans indicated that most snakes in the Highway area are harmless, but there are venomous snakes in the area as well.

“The most common venomous snake is the Night Adder which is actually more active during the day. It is a brown or grey snake with dark diamond markings on its back, and has a distinct ‘v’ mark behind the head.

“Mozambique Spitting Cobras and Black Mambas are common in the valleys and nature reserves around Westville and Queensburgh. It is highly unlikely to see one of these snakes in Pinetown central. Black Mambas are large, grey-brown snakes, reaching lengths of up to 2,5m or more.

“Mozambique Spitting Cobras, whose average adult length is around 1.4m, are also quite large and intimidating snakes. They are brown in colour, but underneath, in the neck region, they have orange and black bands.

“They are able to bite, but also spit their venom up to two to three metres away in order to defend themselves.

“The Spotted Bush Snake, a thin green snake with black spots, and a pale yellow belly, is the most common snake in the area. It is completely harmless, and spends its days looking for geckos.

“The brown House Snake is often found around homes, especially under pieces of wood, rubble, bricks or pot plants. It’s a brown snake with cream-coloured stripes on its body. It is harmless to humans, yet fantastic for rodent control.

“The Herald Snake, a harmless species, is grey and the head is darker than the rest of the body. They also have white speckles on the body. If threatened, they will flatten their head and strike repeatedly to intimidate you,” said Evans.

Evans said all snakes are scared of people.

“When encountered, they feel more scared of the giant in front of them. Snakes will always try to flee rather than ‘fight’. They bite as a final form of defence. So leave them alone and it will leave you alone.

“If you see a snake, leave it alone, move away slowly,” added Evans.




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