Snakes are more active in summer

GARTH Watson of Kouga Snake and Reptile Rescue has been capturing and rescuing snakes in the Kouga area for many years.
He says they receive the most call-outs during the summer months when snakes and other reptiles become more active. It is also due to humans encroaching onto snake habitat when more encounters between man and snake take place.
Watson offers the following tips to help limit interactions with snakes on your property:
Snakes seldom frequent clear neat gardens. Remove any clutter from your property as this acts as a place for snakes and rodents (being a food source) to hide.
Snakes, like almost all species of animal require hydration. Many pet owners leave out water bowls for pets or have fish ponds which would also attract snakes and their food sources (i.e. frogs).
If your neighbouring properties are overgrown, ask the owners of the properties to clear their property, or clear approximately a metre around the boundary of your property (best to ask the owner of the overgrown property first).
If you have large trees on your property, keep them manicured and ensure no branches are up against your house to ensure no arboreal (tree-dwelling) species of snakes are tempted to enter your house.
The bottom line is that you need to make your property uninhabitable for snakes and to ensure you have no food or water source that may attract snakes.
Watson says: ” I have been doing rescue and relocations of snakes and other reptiles for over 10 years in the Kouga region and started off with a handful of rescues a year to a record of more than 300 call-outs a year”.
He says due to the large demand, local photographer Malcolm Lagan has also been involved with the rescue and relocation of snakes and reptiles for a number of years.
“The most common species we have rescued in the Kouga area are house snakes (olive and brown), south eastern green snakes and puff adders,” says Watson.
What to do when a snake is found in one’s property or residence:
Keep a distance from the snake and ensure that all pets and animals are kept away from the area the snake was spotted in.
It is extremely important that the snake, or the immediate area is kept in sight at all times, to ensure it does not move off before someone arrives to remove it.
Call someone to remove the snake. (See details below).
Watson says he has of late been called out to identify snakes that have been killed due to misidentification and in most cases the snake is harmless.
For example, the south eastern green snake (Philothamnus hoplogaster) is mistaken for a boomslang (Dispholidus typus), a Rhombic egg-eater (Dasypeltis Scabra) is mistaken for a puff adder (Bitis arietans) or night adder (Causus rhombeatus).
He says because of this a Facebook page was created. (Visit Kouga Snake & Reptile Rescue.)
“This allows the public to post questions or even photographs for us to identify and to use as a general education tool. I would like to urge the Kouga public to use this mechanism if they require any info regarding snakes and other reptiles,” says Watson.
He can be contacted on 081-399-9257.

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