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If you do spot a snake, it will usually be in the warmer season when they are at their most active.
Only gardens with extensive secluded wildlife areas will have snakes. In most garden areas if snakes are seen, they are most likely just passing through.
There are a few 'hard to spot' signs that you can look out for if you have concerns about snakes. These include:
There are certain places where snakes are more commonly found.
Reptile Habitats - Nature reserves of rough grassland, disused quarries, large allotments, large derelict urban sites or sunny road and railway embankments with scrub cover.
Garden Features - Wood, rock or rubble piles, rockeries, ponds, long grass areas and shrubs.
Sunny Areas - Sun trap areas with lots of vegetation cover and places to shelter.
Gardens, parks or other grassed areas - Be prepared to find reptiles if you lift up debris or are near features such as hedges, ponds, compost heaps and areas of long grass.
To deter snakes there are a few things you can do:
Mow grass regularly to keep it short.
Clear low growing plants and shrubs that provide cover.
Remove rockeries, debris, wood or log piles. Keep compost heaps in a sealed bin.
Fill holes that they can hide in; under sheds, patios and walls.
Putting close fitting fences or walls around ponds can be a deterrent.
There are hundreds of species of snakes around the world but only a low percentage of these are venomous. In South Africa there are a few venomous native snakes, some of which include some Adder and Cobra species.
Snake awareness is important in protecting yourself and your family from snake bites.
The recommended first aid for snake bites will also vary according to species.
Treatment for a snake bite is defined according to whether the venom is cytotoxic, haemotoxic or neurotoxic and the wrong treatment will not only be of little or no help but could even be dangerous.
CYTOTOXIC - An agent or process that is toxic to cells and suppresses cell function or causes cell death.
HAEMOTOXIC - An agent or process that kills red blood cells and prevents clotting resulting in internal and external bleeding.
NEUROTOXIC - An agent or process that is destructive or deadly to nerves or nervous tissue.
Symptoms usually manifest soon after a snake bite, so observing the victim is extremely important.
If no symptoms have occurred within half an hour of the bite then indications would be that it was not a venomous snake, it failed to inject any venom or the snake was very old and had little or no venom left.
While there can be differences of opinion as to what we should do for snake bites the consensus of opinion as to what not to do is reasonably consistent:
The contents of this page are for information only. Rentokil Pest Control South Africa does not treat reptiles.
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