Snake Country – To kill or not to kill

As I was saying, I went, I voted and I came home again. Gee that was fun. Since then, apart from my pension plummeting, nothing much has changed. But having clapped and cheered my way through another Comrades last Sunday, I’m now fired up and ready to vote again – but this time I’ll be voting for the soon to be formed Comrades Association Party, a party that in the space of about three days, got Municipalities to clean up the litter, cut the grass and fill in the potholes along the road from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. This of course had nothing to do with the fact that people all over the world would be watching. Thanks CAP for a job well done.

Whilst on the subject of what needs to be done, I’m going to continue to expand on the subject of what to do when a snake pops its head over the parapet, but this time from the moral viewpoint rather than the fear aspect. By now there should be some readers out there who’ve followed my ramblings and have become a tad more controlled and rational when facing off with a snake, but when the chips are down there’ll still be the ‘greenie’ versus ‘pragmatist’ dilemma to deal with. The greenies might think along the lines of “they were here first – live and let live” and the pragmatists might consider more deeply, the consequences of any action or inaction in terms of their immediate concerns, not those of the environment. Hopefully the following might help when snap decisions are needed.

1. Amongst our range of something like 160 species, although the Gaboon adder and the Green mamba merit consideration, there are few that are critically endangered. If you feel you HAVE to kill a snake because the situation demands it, go with your instincts.
2. If you’re worried about the kids, dogs etc. consider the fact that despite the over rated danger implied by the mere presence of a snake – probably a long term resident – the dogs and kids are still alive and unpunctured. That you’ve spotted the snake is more a case of its bad luck, not yours.
3. Any snake trapped within a building, vehicle etc. is naturally a concern and unless there’s a friendly snake catcher nearby, you’ll need to make the call. This is where you’re going to have to trust your instincts again. If you know it’s harmless, leave it to get out on its own – bear in mind that trying to chase it away might cause it to hide. If you think or know that it’s potentially harmful, put some rational thought into your actions before you pull the mental trigger. I don’t know of anyone who has been attacked and bitten by a ‘trapped’ snake, but there are many who’ve become unwitting victims of their own stupidity. Think before acting.

© pat mckrill. 2014 herpet@eastcoast.co.za Cell: 0833036958 Home: 031-7851410

Snake pic Boomslang ed141 jun14