Spring also brings snakes — a catcher’s crucial advice

Gerhard Strydom pictured with an  18-month-old Hog Island Boa snake.
Gerhard Strydom pictured with an 18-month-old Hog Island Boa snake.

Spring is in the air and just as we enjoy basking in the sun, so do snakes.

“Snakes are starting to come out now and show themselves. The winter hibernation is coming to an end and as we go into spring and summer the weather starts to warm up and this is when snakes start to come out into full view.”
Snake catcher and son-in-law of the late legendary snake catcher Zane Barnard, Gerhard Strydom.

With spring around the likelihood of coming across a snake has increased and therefore Strydom says that should you ever be confronted by a snake it is best to not make any sudden movements at first glance, which can be hard given that most people are afraid of snakes.

Strydom maintains that you should never antagonise or approach the snake.

“Stop and pause for a few seconds then move away slowly from the snake and contact a snake catcher/expert to help with the removal of the snake from your property. Do not, under any circumstances try and antagonise the snake you come across as it will strike and attempt to bite you,” said Strydom.

“The most common snakes I have come across are the variegated/spotted bush snake and the brown house snake.

“Within Pietermaritzburg and the surrounding area our more common snakes are the brown house snake, red lipped herald, variegated/spotted bush snake, Natal green, night adder, puff adder, Mozambique spitting cobra, black mamba, rinkhals and many more,” said Strydom.

If ever bitten by a snake, Strydom says you must identify the snake or take a picture of it so that when you seek medical attention you can tell the medical staff what snake has bitten you so they know how to proceed with treatment.

“One of the main things to do when bitten is to keep calm so that your heart rate remains steady to avoid extensive spreading of the venom and seek immediate medical assistance.

“Do not try sucking the venom from the snake bite or your system as you could have open wounds in your mouth and the venom will re-enter your system that way,” said Strydom.

“Another tip my father-in-law used to give was to put up wild bird feeders. Wild birds generally start chittering when a snake is close by so this can act as a good alarm system,” advised Strydom.

Urging the public to be aware of just how dangerous a snake can be, Strydom says some snakes can spit far and high and can blind you.

“Also, some species of snake are protected and cannot under any circumstance be killed. Any snake you come across, please contact a snake catcher to come and assist you to have it captured, removed and released into the nature away from your home and from being harmed,” said Strydom.

  • 082 850 7713 or 063 562 7917 if you come across any snakes on your property or in your surroundings.

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