As winter comes to an end, snakes across Ekurhuleni are about to emerge after a long period of hibernation, hungry and in search of food, warns the city’s senior environmentalist and snake catcher, Christopher Mthombeni.
He has cautioned pet owners to be on high alert and keep an eye on their domestic pets as they just might fall prey to snakes.
Residents who come across a snake in their living space have been advised not to panic. Mthombeni recommends always keeping the snake within your vision but at a distance of about 5 metres away. Residents should not try to kill or handle the snake but rather give it right of way. It is also advisable to keep an eye on where the snake ends up while you call for help.
“Remember, snakes do not have ears so they can’t hear you, but they pick up vibration and movement so avoid moving a lot, otherwise it will make them uneasy,” said Mthombeni.
The Ekurhuleni region is prone to snakes with the Blesbokspruit river system, Bullfrog Pan, highveld grassland, and many open spaces providing good eco-systems that provide both food and shelter for snakes.
The city has warned residents to beware of the puff adder and rinkhals, as they are extremely dangerous with especially the puff adder known to be very instinctive, slow in pace, and quick to sense danger.
How to handle snake bites
“Not all snakes are [venomous], however, all snake bites should be treated seriously and be checked by a medical doctor,” added Mthombeni.
If someone you know is bitten by a snake, Mthombeni advises that you start by relaxing the patient. Panic increases the speed of blood flow thus speeding up the flow of venom in the blood stream if the snake is venomous.
While rushing the patient to the nearest hospital, you should also observe the symptoms and get as many details as possible from the patient in order to share them with the doctor.
“Use your municipal 240ℓ wheelie bins to dispose of your refuse as this may also be food for rodents which will attract snakes. And, when feeding your pets, put out enough for the day, don’t have extra food on site to avoid feeding rodents,” cautioned Mthombeni.
Lastly, Mthombeni advised keeping a clean yard, as an untidy yard creates a habitat for rodents which is the primary food for snakes and they will be tempted to enter your yard in search of food.
If you have come across a snake in the Ekurhuleni area, you can call the city’s snake catcher, Christopher Mthombeni, at 083 239 7774 or 011 999 3029 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and advice.