Heavy rains bringing out snakes in Durban

17 October 2017 - 12:10
By Nivashni Nair
File photo of a night adder.
Image: Paul Venter via Wikipedia File photo of a night adder.

It's a case of snakes in the city. Literally.

The stars of the popular Nat Geo Wild television show Snakes in the City‚ Durban-based Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett‚ have warned that there could be an increase in snake sightings in the coastal city following last week's flash floods.

"Because of the recent flooding‚ residents in the Durban area and surrounds might expect to see snakes. This isn't because snakes are active in rainy‚ windy weather‚ but rather that the high rainfall would have washed them out of their homes or pushed them from trees‚" Gillett said.

The two have already been called out to retrieve a night adder at Wilson's Wharf.

"This isn’t an area we’d usually find night adders‚ but it had obviously been washed down the river. There is a chance that people will find snakes in rather strange places following the floods‚ until everything has settled‚" Gillett said.

The recent ground saturation would force the reptiles to seek dry refuge in homes‚ garages or even cars.

"The rain would have encouraged frog and toad activity‚ which in turn brings out snakes with an amphibian diet – such as herald snakes‚ night adders‚ forest cobras and spitting cobras – drawn to the abundance of food.

"The dispersal of litter from the floods will also see an increase in the rodent population – another food source for snakes‚" Gillett explained.

Snakes are likely to become more active following the rise in temperature after the storm.

"Being ectothermic‚ snakes rely on outside temperatures for warmth and function‚ so the sunshine will bring them out‚" Gillett said.

The pair urged residents to contact an expert‚ rather than attempt to remove serpents themselves.