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 Post subject: Snake Q & A
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 8:48 am 
This one is for the reptile experts: :wink:
I was wondering if any of you know of something that can be used to deter snakes from entering, or even coming close to a house.
Do they use something in Kruger for this purpose? Or is it the activity in the camps that deter the snakes from entering?
I got some advice to mix Jays Fluid with water and spray that around the house. Will this work? If it does work, why does it deter the snakes? Are snakes sensitive to certain smells?
Another question: Do snakes have lairs that are their permanent homes or do they travel around and merely find shelter in the most appropriate spot for the time?
Are there certain conditions that will make a place more “snake friendly" - humidity, cold or heat etc.?

Edited to remove “error” characters that appeared after the database corruption.


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 8:57 am 
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Hi Jumbo,

I know snakes hate cold. Prefered condition is heat following rain. Just make sure that you have all access entries to your homes block by mesh or screening or whatever else to keep rats and mice out. Snakes usualy follow these into a house. also make sure that no possible rat food are present in the house.

A snake will have a nest when pregnant and babies due soon. I also don't think that they roam too much around. I have found a rock where a rinkhals have made the immediate environment its home. the rock was shiny and smooth of all the years' snake buffing. the snake must have been there for quite some years. Saw it very often.

Thus I think they are teritorial. snakes don't like too much commotion. That is why you won't find them often in human habitation like camps etc. They are driven from their environent by destruction thereof and thus seem to be more and more common in PTA and west rand suburbs in gauteng.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:40 am 
wildtuinman wrote:
I have found a rock where a rinkhals have made the immediate environment its home. the rock was shiny and smooth of all the years' snake buffing. the snake must have been there for quite some years. Saw it very often.


Thanks WTM
This is very interesting! I wonder if it was more than one generation that used the same spot?
I also wonder if that rinkhals will return to this nest if you catch him and move him to say a area about 2 km away? Do they have a sense of direction?


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:38 pm 
O great! Thanks for this one!!! :shock:

Found a very informative website:
Snake info.

Extracts from this website that I found very interesting:

Quote:
Snakes do not usually attack humans unless they are surprised or cornered. Snakes will usually first warn off the human. Only a careless movement will stimulate the snake to strike.
Snakes prefer not to bite. Their venom is their precious ammunition for hunting. They will usually give many warnings before wasting venom or risking danger by actually biting a provoker. WTM, suppose the rinkhals decided that you are not worthy of his precious venom
Warnings include
Baring fangs: Opening the mouth wide, displaying teeth.
Making warning noises: hissing, spitting, vibrating vegetation
Getting into strike position: The classic S-shape. Some harmless snakes make false strikes with their mouths closed. Most venomous snakes make a few false strikes before actually biting.
And many that do bite usually don't inject their precious venom ("dry bites").

Quote:
Safety bite: A snake doesn't kill because it is mean and evil. It kills so that it doesn't get injured by its prey. A snake is quite a fragile creature with a delicate skull and thin teeth and lots and lots of ribs that can break. A struggling prey is not only dangerous when it is being caught, but also when it is being swallowed

Quote:
Some snakes hibernate in large groups at the same place every year, travelling long distances to go back to such a spot{so I suppose they DO have a sense of direction} This is common at high altitudes. ……Sometimes, good dens are so scarce that a wide variety of animals hibernate in the same spot. In Finland, one spot had toads, frogs, slow worms, lizards, grass snakes, bats and adders all snuggling together!

Quote:
Pythons are among the best egg-laying mamas. They not only coil around their eggs, but if the temperature falls, will "shiver" to raise the body temperature and keep the eggs warm.
The Mud Snake (Farancia abacura) a harmless snake, often lays in an alligator nest so her eggs have a fierce guardian from predators.

Quote:
Longest Snake: The Reticulated Python (Python Reticulatus) was recognised as the longest snake with the maximum verified length of 10.1 meters (almost as long as a bus!).
The fastest snake: is believed to be the black mamba of Africa. It is reputed to be able to travel up to 14-19 km/h in short bursts.

Quote:
Are snake predators immune to snake venom?
.. Other snake-eaters which have developed resistance include: mongoose, some rats and hedgehogs, meerkats. Even domestic cats are resistant to cobras. :shock:

Quote:
A snake doesn't get more bones as it grows. It gets longer because its bones (and muscles) get bigger. Snakes do grow longer continuously, but more slowly as they mature and imperceptibly as they near adult size.

Quote:
Treatment of snakebite?
DON'TS
Don't incise and suck the wound.
Don't apply an arterial tourniquet.
Don't cool the area of the bite.
Don't try to catch the snake, we do not need another victim.
Don't give the victim alcoholic drinks. Not even the odd Amarulla on the way to the hospital :roll:


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:12 pm 
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Quote:
I got some advice to mix Jays Fluid with water and spray that around the house. Will this work? If it does work, why does it deter the snakes? Are snakes sensitive to certain smells?


Won't work. (Nothing does) I do however tell people it does. Then the snakes are safe and the person has "peace of mind" :D

Quote:
Another question: Do snakes have lairs that are their permanent homes or do they travel around and merely find shelter in the most appropriate spot for the time?


In general SA snakes are NOT territorial. Some species do however stay in an area for many years if not disturbed. If you move them they will not come back. (Reptile intelligence is too primitive) SA snakes do not have lairs like the diamond back rattler for eg.

Quote:
A snake will have a nest when pregnant and babies due soon.

Only certain species. Most will lay eggs/ give birth never to return to the site
The most common to "nest" is the Afrock and skaapsteker.

Quote:
I know snakes hate cold.


Not really, cold conditions are vital for their reproductive cycle

Quote:
if you remove one you will create two problems... The poor snake will have to fight for a new place, and you will get a new one....


They are too thin on the ground for this to be a real problem.
The problem is that that a snake should not be move too far out of an area (genetics)

PS. If you catch a snake without a catch and release permit you can get a fine of up to R5000-00 :!:
If you kill it- no problem....


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:08 am 
Pilane wrote:
PS. If you catch a snake without a catch and release permit you can get a fine of up to R5000-00 :!:
If you kill it- no problem....


This is very sad! So this gives people “reason" to kill the creatures ... doesn't make sense.

Pilane wrote:
Quote:
if you remove one you will create two problems... The poor snake will have to fight for a new place, and you will get a new one....


They are too thin on the ground for this to be a real problem.


My problem is that my house is in the bush, away from a road and there is very little activity in and around it. I'm sure there are still a number of snakes that might give me a visit.... :? :
I encountered the puffadder while he was in a warm dark cage outside the house (and then there is a leaking water tap that add moisture to the whole story). Unfortunately for me, I have to open this cage quite often - and have to put my hand into it! :shock:
Inside the cage, with the snake, I also found a skin shedding. After the incident I took a closer look at the surroundings and from the marks in the ground it does appear that he visited this cage frequently. This is why I wondered if this cage was a type of lair.

Concerning the deterrent: I received advice yesterday that I believe might work. Chlorine! I think this might do the job. I doubt (and hope) that the snake will go and lay in the cage if I put chlorine into it.

Despite the fact that I now have a sort of phobia about them, I still believe they are beautiful and interesting creatures – even though the Puffy almost bit me, I still took the time to admire him .... ok, that was after he was caught :wink:
I have to say that puffadders are probable one of the most beautiful snakes in SA. We have had several sightings in Kruger - SO once even picked one up with his braai tongs in Satara, to throw him back over the fence. Somewhere we have photos of a Puffy we took near Sirheni - beautiful those patterns on his skin when he is in the sun.

Edited to remove “error” characters that appeared after the database corruption.


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:52 am 
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Jumbo your best deterent is a cat, they are fearless where snakes are concerned and snakes are not keen on cats either, even a kitten will chase a snake! it's actually awesome to watch!
And the next best is to clear an area around your house just like they do in kraals, not pretty I know, all that bare ground, but it is for the best, becuase let me tell you snakes suss the place out and then move in! :shock: We had endless hassles on the farm with all the wildlife wanting their own bedrooms :?


Last edited by Jay on Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:19 pm 
Pilane wrote:
Never throw a puffy. The are heavy snakes and injure very easy when dropped/ thrown

A irritant like chlorine might dicourage the snake not to use the cage, but it will not chase it away from the area


O no Pilane! We people do stupid things out of plain ignorance. SO thought he is doing the Puffy a favour be getting him out of the camp where he might clash with people. He did land in a bush. Hopefully his landing was not too hard.

My intentions are not to chase off every snake. This cage is my problem {and my nightmare :?: } ...I am going to try the chlorine.

Jay, thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I am not allowed to keep pets at my “bush house"... however, I do have 4 cats at home in Maputo. Interesting the fact that cats are resistant to the poison of cobras. I wonder why only cobras? Would other felines like leopards also be resistant to this poison?

Edited to remove “error” characters that appeared after the database corruption.


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:38 am 
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Hi Jumbo, I have spoken to a friend of mine, who grew up with all sorts of snakes in the KZN midlands and later with cape cobras in the Western Cape.

He swears by the common malva plant. But a malva with a strong smell.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:58 pm 
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A malva is a geranium, which is indigenous. Those bigger red and pink are hybrids but stil considered indigenous. Ofcourse the ones with the srongest smell are the non hybrids such as rose and lemon geranium. Any nursery will have them, they are also evry waterwise :D

find it interesting they repel snakes! I do know certain plants definitely deter certain animals.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 4:18 pm 
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Jay wrote:
A malva is a geranium, (...) find it interesting they repel snakes! I do know certain plants definitely deter certain animals.


I was waiting for this one. This definitly will not work.
This is a geniune an old womans tale..... :D


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:19 am 
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Quote:
Treatment of snakebite?
DON'TS
Don't incise and suck the wound.
Don't apply an arterial tourniquet.
Don't cool the area of the bite.
Don't try to catch the snake, we do not need another victim.
Don't give the victim alcoholic drinks. Not even the odd Amarula on the way to the hospital :roll:


So what are the do's then , apart from alcoholic drinks to the
people who are not bitten , but merely in a mild panic .

I must say , this thread is actually very amusing , makes a good read :lol: .

Have seen in camps -
boomslang in skukuza next to petrol station in tree.
Phython in letaba at fence, very big , must be the 1 that eats the resident camp bushbuck.
Amazingly , those are the only 2 inside camps i have seen .

Saw a very very interesting twig(or is it vine) snake in january this year , must find photo to post for proper identification .
plenty other snakes in the park though , especially after / during periods of good rain , the year after the floods was a bumper year for the slitthery ones .


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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:29 am 
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The vine/bird/twig snake is extremely venomous, having the same venom as a boomslang but with no antivenom. Boomslang antivenom does not treat this snakes's bite.

Here is some do's.

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:06 am 
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Lots of snakes at Boulders Camp :shock:
There is lots of sighns to warn you about them and photos of snakes that are resident in that area. We did not see any because it was winter time, but in summer there is plenty.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 8:42 am 
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Back fanged? Yes. The twig/bird/vine snake is not aggresive, fortunately. Beautifull snake though. One of my favourites with Gaboen adder.

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

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