EMM warns residents about snakes

BEWARE OF SNAKES. *Image compliments of flickr.com

WE are well into the spring season and the weather is nice and warm; this also means snakes will now be out and about after a long period of hibernation, hungry and in search of food.

From mid-August until late May next year it is snake season and the City of Ekurhuleni wishes to caution pet owners to be on high alert and keep an eye on their domestic pets as they may fall prey to snakes.

A number of snakes which are harmless to humans, such as the brown house snake, olive house snake and red-lipped snake, are likely to be found in backyard gardens searching for food like rats and cats.

Due to their harmless and less aggressive 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.

Meanwhile, snakes such as the puff adder and rinkhals are extremely dangerous, with the puff adder known to be very instinctive, slow in pace and quick to sense danger.

The rinkhals or ring-necked cobra is a fast moving multi feeder which is good at faking death. It is easily identified by the two white stripes that are visible across its neck when it spreads its hood.

Things 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 five meters from the snake as some snakes can spit poison;
  • Watch where the snake ends up so as to assist to locate the reptile once you’ve contacted an expert;
  • Do not try to kill the snake, trying to kill the snake may lead to the danger of snake bites;
  • Call for help.

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

  • Do not panic;
  • Do not run or try to drive yourself;
  • Do not take it for granted;
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible.

Should residents come across snakes in their residential areas, they can contact Christopher Mthombeni on 011 999 3029 / 083 239 7774 or e-mail: [email protected] for assistance. You may also contact a local snake expert.

*Press release supplied by Themba Gadebe, EMM spokesperson.

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David Pienaar

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