The metro’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 just may fall prey to snakes.
Mthombeni advises that should residents come across a snake in their living space, they should not panic.
“Keep the snake within your vision at a distance of about five metres away. Do not try to kill or handle the snake. Give it right of way – don’t block its way, look from a distance where the snake goes while you call for help,” said Mthombeni.
“Remember, snakes do not have ears so they can’t hear you, but pick up vibration and movement so avoid moving a lot, otherwise they will become uneasy.”
The Ekurhuleni region is subjected to snakes due to the availability of the Blesbokspruit river system, Bullfrog Pan, Highveld grassland and open spaces with good eco-systems that provide both food and shelter for snakes.
The environmentalist said we should beware of the puff adder and rinkhals, as they are extremely dangerous with the puff adder known to be very instinctive and quick to sense danger.
“The rinkhals, or ring-necked cobra, is a fast-moving multi-feeder that is good at faking death,” he said.
“It is easily identified by the two white stripes that are visible across its neck when it spreads its hood.”
Mthombeni said not all snakes are poisonous, however, all snake bites should be treated seriously and be checked by a medical doctor.
“When you help someone who has been bitten by a snake, start by relaxing the patient. Calm them down and don’t make them panic as this increases the speed of blood flow,” said Mthombeni.
“Observe the symptoms and get as many details as possible from the patient, share them with the doctor and, most importantly, rush the patient to the nearest hospital.”
He added residents should keep their yard clean, as an untidy yard creates a habitat for rodents – the primary food for snakes.
“Use your municipal wheelie bins to dispose of your refuse as this may also be food for rodents which will attract snakes,” said Mthombeni.
“When feeding your pets put out enough for the day, don’t have extra food on site, to avoid feeding rodents.”
Should residents come across snakes in their residential areas, they may contact Mthombeni on 011 999 3029 or 083 239 7774 or email [email protected] for assistance.
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