What to do if you find a snake in your house

DEAD: A gardener kills a snake for fear that it is venomous.

Although local residents would think that they live too far into the brick-and-mortar city to find slithery creatures on their residential doorstep, Caxton group editor Megan Tyack proves this thinking wrong.

On 20 October, while Tyack was at work, her gardener, who goes by the name of Frans, discovered a snake in the garden outside the bathroom in the back of the house.

Scared that the snake might eat or bite one of the family dogs, the gardener killed it with the help of an electrician who was also working on the property at the time. The snake was later identified as a red-lipped herald, which is a semi-venomous to humans.

SLITHER: The snake which was found in the garden.

SLITHER: The snake which was found in the garden.

“We live near a river and have quite a few frogs on the property, it was probably just looking for food,” explained Tyack.”While it was wrong of the two men to kill the snake, I do believe that we can all learn a lesson from it. The snake’s ending is a very sad one but, hopefully, we can do some good by letting people know what their options are when they have unwelcome creatures in their home.”

Anton Lotter, the owner of the Croc City Crocodile and Reptile Park in Nietgedacht, said that this time of year when the weather is becoming warmer, reptiles are ending their hibernation and becoming more active.

Lotter offered the following advice to residents who find an unwanted house guest in their homes:

  • Field mice, toads and frogs often come into houses for food, and because animals like this are a snake’s natural diet, snakes will enter your home in order to find food.
  • If you find a snake in your house, it is important to stay calm. While there are a number of snake species in the area that are not harmful to humans, it’s best to treat any snake as potentially venomous if you are not sure what species it is.
  • Do not try to kill the snake as it will try to defend itself if it feels threatened and you will have a far greater chance of being bitten.
  • Get your children and family pets away from the snake as a safety precaution, and everyone should keep a safe distance from it, about three meters should do it. Keep in mind that the snake will probably feel threatened and it’s intention will be to get away from any movement and retract to the closest and safest dark spot it can find.
  • If you live in an estate or complex, security personnel have undergone snake removal courses. Keep an eye on the animal while you call security as this will make it easier for the guards to find and remove it.
  • If you are feeling particularly brave, get a bucket or container, turn it sideways next to a wall and use a broom to steer the snake into the container. Put the lid on and release the snake in a safe area (such as near a river or stream) away from other houses. Note, this is only recommended for smaller snakes.
  • Snakes serve a crucial role in the eco-system so please do not kill them.

Details: If you are unwilling or unable to remove a snake, contact Mike Adams on 083 680 7619; Chris Cooke on 072 866 9108 or Mike Perry on 011 464 1450.

Robyn Kirk

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