Durban storm sees 'increase in snake sightings', say KZN snake rescuers

2017-10-17 18:00 -
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Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett

 
Cape Town - While we're accustomed to seeing snakes out in the bushveld, snakes in the city of Durban isn't a regular event.

However after the recent deadly storm which brought with it widespread flooding, residents in the Durban area are being advised to expect an increase in snake activity. But don't try to remove them yourself, rather call an expert if spotted. 

Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett - KwaZulu-Natal snake rescuers and stars of Nat Geo Wild television show Snakes in the City – urge all residents who come across snakes to contact an expert rather than attempting to remove the serpent themselves.

 Already the pair has been called out to retrieve a night adder at Wilson’s Wharf.

“This isn’t an area we’d usually find night adders but it had obviously been washed down the river,” continued Siouxsie. “There is a chance that people will find snakes in rather strange places following the floods until everything has settled.  

 “This isn’t because snakes are active in rainy, windy weather, but rather that the high rainfall would have washed them out of their homes or pushed them from trees.”

 Habitually snakes do not make holes, although some species tend to inhabit them as a way to feel secure. The recent ground saturation would force them to abandon these homes, with some snakes seeking dry refuge in homes, garages or even cars.
 
“The rain will have encouraged frog and toad activity which, in turn, brings out snakes with an amphibian diet such as herald snakes, night adders, forest cobras and spitting cobras drawn to the abundance of food,” said Siouxsie. “The dispersal of litter from the floods will also see an increase in the rodent population – another food source for snakes.””
 
According to Siouxsie, the rise in temperatures since Tuesday’s storm means that snakes will be probably be more active. “Being ectothermic, snakes rely on outside temperatures for warmth and function, so the sunshine will bring them out. We are calling out to all residents who come across snakes to please not handle them, but rather call out a snake catcher to retrieve and re-home the snake.”