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 Post subject: Snake Q & A
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:38 pm 
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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Virtual Ranger
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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 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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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: 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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Location: Gauties .
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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 Post subject:
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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 Post subject:
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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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:49 pm 
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I do have one piece of good advice, should your cat, by some wierd chance, get bitten by a snake, give it Rescue Remedy, it will most likely save it's life :)


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:54 pm 
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Rescue Remedy :wink: :lol: :lol: could save many a life :wink:
An interesting thing about snakes (heard on the discovery snake bite progamme) (sorry not a regular tv watcher :redface: :redface: ) up to 50% of snakebite victims are above the legal limit in terms of alchohol intake.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:41 pm 
Hi all
Just a quick visit to let you know that I have found a “Snake Terminator"..... or just call him “The Bill" :twisted: . He is now my best friend.
This mean machine caught what looks like a young mamba - I saw the kill and the tenderisation process. Hope he can do the same with the Mamma - suppose this qualifies as an organic deterrent? :wink:

Image

Image

@Francoisd, sorry cannot help with the ID - bought a snake book Friday but left it in my “bush house" need to tell the doctor what bit me :? .
Great photos BTW. Looks like it was quite a long snake! {brrrrrr, Jumbo getting chills right into her small toe} Maybe a Cape Cobra?

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


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:51 am 
We found the following two critters on our veranda, even though I stained all our cement slabs around our house with the purple Jeyes Fluid - any advice how to get rid of Jeyes Fluid stains? :roll:

After our first snake, we bought the “Sasol Field Guide to Snakes and Reptiles". Unfortunately we found that this booklet was not comprehensive enough for our needs. We now purchased a very good book on snakes (will also mention this in the “Recommended reading" topic): “A complete guide to the snakes of Southern Africa, Johan Marais). We got it at the shop in Lower Sabie. I can truly recommend this book. It is easy to use and has very valuable info. - includes first aid information. :wink:

ImageLarge

This beautiful snake we found midday, just as we returned from a Kruger daytrip.
It was very relaxed. The steps it is lying on, is next to the driveway.
We manoeuvred the car back and forth a few times hoping the vibration will persuade it to leave, but it just moved it's head looking at the 2 people sweating it out in the warm car.
Eventually we got somebody to come and catch the snake.
The snake lay still, till the guy touched it with the “catching stick" and only then sped off - so much for snakes being scared of humans. :?
With great difficulty it was eventually caught and released elsewhere.

We still have difficulty identifying this snake.
First thought was a green version of the boomslang.
But the guy, who caught the snake, said his eyes were not big enough for a boomslang.
Another options is a Angola Green Snake, but they only have a maximum length of 1.2m and this snake was almost 1.5 - doesn't look like that on the photo but we saw it when it was caught and held up in the air.
Does anybody have an idea?
I had no idea that there are so many "green snakes", and that most of them are harmless.

Image

This one was a Mozambique Spitting Cobra (M'fezi in Zulu).
Somewhere I posted that they are responsible for the most snakebite casualties in SA, but it seems that my info. was incorrect - and the source I got it from.
The M'fezi is however classified as a very dangerous snake that accounts for many bites in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
This one took us by surprise.
We were busy having dinner on the veranda when I by chance noticed a bundle next to the front door.
It was quite dark - we prefer to use lanterns i.s.o. electrical lights.
It was coiled up between the burglar bars and the door and we have no idea how long it was there and when it decided to join us. :shock:
This M'fezi wasn't fully-grown, about 60cm in length - their maximum length is 1.5m.
We had to get the “snake catching man" again {At R50 per snake I will have to add a new item to my household budget. :roll: )

Some interesting fact on this snake, taken from “A complete guide to the snakes of Southern Africa" (Johan Marais).
It is mostly active by night although juveniles are quite active by day.
“It is a retiring snake that seldom stands its ground"
This snake bites and also spits its venom.
It can spit up to 2m and does not always spread its hood before spitting - “can spit effectively from a concealed position within a rock crevice"
One of its preferred preys is Puff Adder.


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:57 pm 
christo wrote:
I've seen a product at a nursery that is silicone based and claims to be an effective snake deterrent.


Hi Christo

Thanks for this info. Will keep my eyes open for it. 8)

We only saw an M'fezi once in Kruger. It was crossing the road near Mopani - unfortunately only have video of that. It was a fully-grown one.
Have to say, I much more prefer watching them crossing the road in Kruger that having them on my veranda.

After our experiences with these snakes, I have to say that I have more respect for the Kruger rangers that have to venture into the bush by foot. I'm sure the guys from the anti-poaching units, that do foot patrols, often encounter snakes - and in the even of a bite, it may take a while to get them medical treatment.

Toddelelfe wrote:
Very interestening guests at your home and nice pics.

LOL Thanks, but I took about 15 photos of the M'fezi, and this was the only one that was in focus - I was shaking too much. :redface:

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


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:59 pm 
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The name of the repellent is "snake repel", manufactured by a company called repel in Dbn. It costs R64.95 for a 500ml trigger bottle. (But I am sure it can be found cheaper)

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:07 am 
Pilane wrote:
Looking at the length, the dark edges of the bright green scales
head shape, colour under the chin and we have..... a superb specimen of a male boomslang!


Thank you Pilane.
Wow but you do have a vast knowledge of snakes! :D: I'm intrigued to what your "day-job" is

Have to say that this boomslang was so beautiful that I wasn't really scared of him - he was actually cute in a certain way. But the M'fezi, that is a mean looking creature! :evil:

Pilane mentioned that the green snake was a male boomslang. Here is some more info. I got from my wonderful snake book “A complete guide to the snakes of Southern Africa" (Johan Marais).
{It has been mentioned that I am now the “snakelady" :wink: :lol: , well trust me, it is definitely not by choice - I think you guys can see that we do have a teeny weenie problem with snakes at our “bush house". SO and I have now decided to start and mark of the snakes in our book, as we do with the birds. :roll:
Seeing that I'm now educating myself on these creatures, I think I might share a few interesting tit bits with the forum}

The colour of the boomslang:
“Most females are light to olive brown with dirty white to brown bellies, whereas males might have the following coloration: (a) green to olive green with or without black interstitial skin, the belly a similar but lighter colour; (b) bright green with black-edged scales, giving the snake a crossbarred appearance; (c) dark brown to black with bright yellow bellow; (d) black above with dark grey belly scales that are black-edged. Brick-red specimens are found in some areas.
There are also intermediates of these colours, and occasionally females have typical male coloration"

To me this basically means the boomslang can be any colour. I think the best way to id them is the big eyes and short stubby head.

As I mentioned before, there is quite a number of green snakes, and to my untrained eye, they all look the same. It appears that the only two green snakes that are dangerous are the boomslang and the green mamba. The green mamba has a more flatter head that the boomslang (talking under correction, but if the snake on my photo was a green mamba, the chin wouldn't have gone up, it would have been flat on the ground)

The other green snakes are of the genus Philothamnus. All of these snakes are harmless but are often confused with the boomslang and green mamba. I have to say, I can see why. The problem is, although they are harmless, they also bite and act aggressively when cornered. This behaviour and their similar appearance to the harmful snakes probably causes them to be killed be people. :(:
Snakes of this genus are the Spotted Bush Snake, Ornate Green Snake (not found in SA), Angola Green Snake, Green Water Snake and Natal Green Snake.

@Christo. Thank you for the info. and the trouble you went through to get it. :D I did a search on the Internet and found the product. Am going to try and order it - doubt that the shops in Maputo will stock it. Will let you know if it works.

PS: Pilane, it appears (touch wood) that the chlorine in the cage is working. On the other hand the resident "cage" gecko is still living there and actually running over the dry chlorine :?

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


Last edited by Jumbo on Thu May 04, 2006 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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