Snakes - Frequently asked questions
Where do snakes come from?
Snakes live in a variety of habitats. While most species are terrestrial and live on the ground there are some fossorial species that live underground. Arboreal species spend most of their lives in trees and rarely come to the ground. There are also aquatic species that spend most of their time in rivers and oceans. There are certain species that only occur in certain areas hence it is important to learn about the common species that occur in your area.
Are snakes slimy?
No. Most snakes have a shiny appearance and this leads people into believing that they are slimy. In actual fact snakes have perfectly dry skin and do not secrete any kind of slime from their skin.
Are all snakes dangerous?
No. Contrary to popular belief approximately 90% of the worlds snake species are fangless and non venomous and pose no risk to humans. However there are a few species of snakes which are highly venomous and a bite from one of these snakes can and may have lethal consequences if medical attention is not seeked timeously.
Do snakes chase people?
No. There is no snake in the world that will chase and attack a human being. Snakes are shy animals that perceive humans as predators and will try their utmost to avoid a confrontation. When a predator is sensed most snakes first response is to flee but if cornered or harassed most species will defend themselves using various methods.
Do all snakes spit venom?
No. Only Spitting Cobra’s within the cobra family and the Rinkhals have the ability to spit venom at their attacker or predator. This venom if sprayed into the eye is painful and will need to be rinsed out immediately with a bland liquid as to avoid permanent damage.
Do snakes travel in pairs?
No. Snakes are solitary animals and live the most part of their lives alone. Males and females will mate for a very short period during the mating season and will then go their separate ways. Males that come across each others paths will wrestle for breeding rights within a specific area.
Why do snakes enter our homes?
Snakes, like many other animals are being affected by habitat destruction. This has become a worldwide issue with a variety of animals trying to survive side by side with humans. A snake may enter your property seeking warmth, shelter from the heat, water or food. Snakes do not consciously enter peoples homes in an effort to scare them, they are trying survive in what used to be their natural habitat, and what is now turned into a concrete jungle.
Are Black Mamba’s black?
No. Black mamba’s are actually grey in colour and their name is derived from the inky black colouration inside their mouths.
What should we do if we come across a snake?
Firstly, do not panic. If you know for certain that the species involved is non venomous then it can be gently sweeped into a box or container and released into the closest nature reserve. Be careful though as certain venomous species share remarkable resemblances to non venomous species. If you are uncertain of the species then rather call a competent snake wrangler to safely remove and relocate the animal. A small fee from a snake wrangler is a much better option than trying to catch or kill the snake and risking life or limb.
How can one learn more about the snakes that occur in our area?
There are many snake books available today. Many of these books are very reasonably priced, have very good information and full colour photographs of the species that occur in South Africa.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, queries or concerns in regards to snakes and we will gladly assist.