Problem Snakes - What to do...?

Very often I get a call with words along the line I saw a snake or please help I have a snake. When I ask when they saw it and where, very often it is a while ago and I don't know what it looked like.

Now to some degree I can understand this view. The person is scared which often blurs vision and comprehension of detailed sight. One amusing catch I was called to many years ago was at a local stable. On the phone it was a Rinkhals (Haemachatus heamachatus), when I got there I had varying descriptions from all walks of life and I cam to the conclusion I was catching a hybrid Rinkhals, python, worm snake... It landed up being a Red-Lip Herald (Crotaphopeltis hotamboia) of around 20cm long scared out of it's mind. There are other amusing catches like the Green mamba in an office block in Sandton, pity the thing was dead, so dead it was plastic, which happened to belong to the MD's son, but it still instilled fear with everyone.

I have made light of it, some are serious and do need to be taken note of. Another was a women who had a Rinkhals in her childs (2 year old) bedroom, problem the snake was between the mother and the door focusing on the child who was not doing well with standing still. By some miracle the specimen didn't spit, but it could have ended disastrously. However in this one the mother remained calm, she could give an accurate description and I too could give her advice which aided in the whole situation.

Key points to remember.

  1. If you see a snake, make sure someone keeps watching it. They do move and a witch hunt is not what catches want.
  2. Phone a catcher, local police....,or your fire department. Quite often they can assist. Local zoo or animal anti-cruelty league have numbers of people. I unfortunately no longer help due to health reasons.
  3. Take note of the specimen, size, distinct markings or colour.
  4. Take not of behaviour, standing up or hooding, coiling back, hissing, tail rattle etc... These are also key elements to identification.
  5. Get to know the specimens and species in your area.
  6. When you have called someone out, keep watching the specimen.
  7. Keep dogs and cats away, especially from spitting species. Most spitting species can spray venom approximately 1.5 to 2 times their body length. If unsure keep around 2m away.
  8. During all this, remain calm. They are not that scary, in fact it is more scared of you in reality, just some species show fear through aggression.

Reptile Equipment

Whether a handler/ nature conservation body or just someone who wants to move a snake away from their house, see ELM Services