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Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Ekurhuleni warns pet owners to be on high alert as snakes come out of hibernation

Some venomous snakes include the rinkhals or ring-necked cobra, a fast-moving multi-feeder good at faking death.

Spring season is upon us, and the country finally gets to enjoy warmer temperatures, but this also means snakes will now be active after long hibernation.

According to the City of Ekurhuleni, snakes come out of hibernation in search of food during this period of the year until May.

“This is the period when a number of harmful and harmless snakes get out of hiding. Snakes such as the puff adder and rinkhals are extremely dangerous,” warned the city on Tuesday.

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The puff adder is known to be instinctive, slow in pace, and quick to sense danger. The rinkhals or ring-necked cobra is a fast-moving multi-feeder good at faking death.

“It is easily identified by the two white stripes that are visible across its neck when it spreads its hood.”

The City of Ekurhuleni has cautioned pet owners to be on high alert and to watch their pets as they may fall prey to snakes.

“On the same note, while the community is cautioned to be vigilant against harmful snakes, there are also snakes that are harmless to humans, such as the brown house snake, Arora house snake, olive house snake, and red-lipped snake that are likely to be found in backyard gardens searching for food like rodents,” it said.

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“Due to their harmlessness and less defensive nature, these species tend to be easily killed or captured as pets.”

However, keeping them as pets is illegal and punishable if you do not have a legal permit.

Snakes in KZN

Ekurhuleni’s warning comes after snake rescuer Nick Evans caught two different snakes at the same property in the Moseley area in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

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The first – a black mamba no more than 80cm long – was high up in a scrambling shrub outside the property.

“Sightings of mambas at this size are rare. I usually get two to four calls a season for hatchlings in the hatching season, February-March. But after a few months, none. They’re known to grow quickly. I was surprised this one was still so small. I tried catching it, but I stood no real chance, and it escaped,” said Evans.

The second snake – a female Mozambique Spitting Cobra – measured out at 164cm.

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He managed to catch this one.

“I’ve only seen two or three longer than that, the longest being 181cm. A memorable cobra and a memorable call.”