“Snakes are not what many people think they are,” says snake catcher, Nick Evans.
Like us, snakes feel pain. “Hitting a snake with a stick or spade is cruel. In the greater Durban area, few people are bitten by snakes. It is not something that happens everyday, and the chance of you being bitten are extremely slim,” said Evans.
He said that snakes are excellent for rat control. “Last week, I removed a beautiful, harmless brown house snake from a Shallcross yard. It had just eaten a rat. With snakes around, you won’t need to use rat poisons. They also control the numbers of lizards, frogs and etc,”.
According to Evans, a snake specialist from KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation,there is something you can do to reduce the chances of being bitten by a snake – just leave them alone.
“It is certainly not a good idea to confront a snake. Being confrontational increases the risk of snake bites. Deadly snakes like the Mozambican Spitting Cobra can kill a person with its bite. A snake will only bite a person if it is cornered,” said Evans.
Evans said snakes do not know when someone is trying to help them.” Any person is viewed as danger. People are bitten by snakes when they are picked. If you think the snake in your garden is harmless, and you want to save it, please do not touch it with your hands. There is a venomous snake called the Stiletto. They are relatively common around Durban, particularly after the rain. It is a small, dark, inoffensive-looking snake, that a lot of people pick up. It’s something you’ll regret doing, as this snake will bite when touched. Its cytotoxic venom will cause a lot of pain and swelling,”
According to Evans, one of the common questions he is asked is Why do snakes come to my garden?
“When you see a snake on your property, try to be compassionate. Much of the natural habitat around Durban has either been destroyed, or is shrinking due to human development. Snakes are having less and less of a space to live in. Sometimes, they can’t help but to make their way into yards. Keeping piles of bricks, rubble and garbage on one’s property is not a good idea because snakes will seek shelter and food like rats,” he said.
He added that Jeyes Fluid and repellents will not keep snakes away from one’s property. “It is advisable to keep the garden grass short. Trim hedges/shrubs away from windows. Remember though, having a snake in your garden isn’t a bad thing. It will be there eating various different animals in your garden. It’s a sign you’ve got a healthy environment.”
Evans said in the event of someone being bitten by a snake, particularly the deadly type, the priority must be to get the victim to a doctor or hospital quickly. “In that scenario, time is of the essence,” he said.