Shaun MacLeod, director of Reptile Educational Awareness Consultants (REAC)
With the weather warming up our cold-blooded reptile friends are now becoming more active, and a lot more visible. Snakes come out of hibernation on the hunt for a much-needed spring meal.
The recent sunny weather also means people are spending more time outdoors
and it is quite likely
they will encounter a snake going about its business.
Snakes are very important to our natural environment as they control the vermin rodents, who destroy our crops and who carry numerous diseases. Snakes and various other reptiles form part of the very important balance in our ecosystem. A simple equation, the more snakes we kill, the more rodents and pests there are.
We have encroached into their natural habitat, through habitat degradation, fragmentation and urban expansion. Our ponds, heaps of building rubble and rockeries in and around our garden and homes create micro-environments, which will inevitably attract snakes.
Remember snakes are attracted to neglected areas where there is not much disturbance, as snakes hate confrontation. There is no real way of keeping snakes off your property, but if you keep your grass cut short, trees well trimmed and clean up all your building rubble, just to mention a few, then there is less likelihood for snakes to reside on your property. In short, keep your garden tidy as snakes like to shelter in piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, and building materials
Snakes never attack but defend themselves if they are themselves threatened.
If you live in an area with snakes, please remember:
When left alone, snakes present little or no danger to people.
If you see a snake, keep calm and move yourself and anyone with you (including pets) away from the area.
Give the snake an opportunity to escape and don’t attempt to capture or harm snakes.
Never try to kill a snake. They go into defence mode and will strike at you, increasing the chance of getting bitten.
Keep an eye on the snake until help arrives.
We are the largest and most experienced snake rescue volunteer group anywhere in and around the Cape area. We have more than 100 reptile rescue volunteers on call around the Cape peninsula at any given time.
We are able to give trusted advice assisting in the awareness of these shy elusive creatures.
You can contact Shaun at 082 532 5033.