Keep your eyes on the snake, warns Ekurhuleni’s snake catcher

Ekurhuleni’s senior environmentalist Christopher Mthombeni with a cornsnake, which he caught at one of the local community parks.

Snake season is upon us, which means snakes will soon be out and about after a long period of hibernation – hungry and in search of food.

Ekurhuleni’s senior environmentalist, Christopher Mthombeni (snake catcher), cautions pet owners to be on high alert and keep an eye on their domestic pets as they may fall prey to snakes.

Should residents come across a snake in their living space, Mthombeni cautions that people should not panic.

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He advises to always keep the snake within your sight at a distance of about five metres, not try to kill or handle the snake, and to give it right of way – don’t block its way and from a distance notice where the snake ends up while you call for help.

“Remember, snakes do not have ears so they can’t hear you, but pick up vibration and movement so avoid moving a lot, otherwise it will make the them uneasy,” says Mthombeni.

The Ekurhuleni region is prone to snakes due to the availability of the Blesbokspruit river system, Bullfrog Pan and other Highveld grasslands and many open spaces with good eco-systems that provide both food and shelter for snakes.

Beware of the puff-adder and rinkhals, as they 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 that is good at faking death. It is easily identified by the two white stripes visible across its neck when it spreads its hood.

“If you are bitten,” says Mthombeni, “not all snakes are poisonous, however all snake bites should be treated seriously and be checked by a medical doctor.”

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He advises that when coming to the rescue of a person bitten by a snake, it is important to start by relaxing the patient, calm them down and not panic as this increases the speed of blood flow.

Observe the symptoms and get as many details as possible from the patient so as to share them with the doctor and, most importantly, rush the patient to the nearest hospital.

Furthermore, he cautions residents on how to avoid snakes in their spaces by keeping the yard clean, as an untidy yard creates a habitat for rodents which is the primary food for snakes.

Use your municipal 240l wheelie bins to dispose of your refuse as this waste may also be food for rodents which will attract snakes.

Finally, when feeding your pets put out enough for the day, don’t have extra food on site to avoid feeding rodents.

When coming across a snake, residents can call the City’s snake catcher, Christopher Mthombeni, on 083 239 7774 or 011 999 3029 or email him at [email protected] for more information and advice.

Residents in Springs can also call Bossie Bosman on 083 656 1032 if they come across a snake in their home.

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  AUTHOR
Siphokazi Zama

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