Snake activity set to increase following Durban’s flash floods
Durban was battered by winds of up to 70km/h and received almost 800mm in rain during flash floods that created havoc on Tuesday, 10 October. In addition to the devastating loss of life and structural damage, the flooding – and subsequent sunny days – could result in an increase in snake sightings across the city.
Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett – KwaZulu-Natal snake rescuers and stars of the popular Nat Geo Wild television show, Snakes in the City – urge all residents who come across snakes to contact an expert rather than attempting to remove the serpent themselves.
“Because of the recent flooding, residents in the Durban area and surrounds might expect to see snakes,” explained Siouxsie. “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.”
Habitually snakes do not make holes, although some species tend to inhabit them as a way to feel secure. The recent ground saturation would force them to abandon these homes, with some snakes seeking dry refuge in homes, garages or even cars.
“The rain will 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,” said Siouxsie. “The dispersal of litter from the floods will also see an increase in the rodent population – another food source for snakes.”
Already the pair has 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,” continued Siouxsie. “There is a chance that people will find snakes in rather strange places following the floods until everything has settled.”
According to Siouxsie, the rise in temperatures since Tuesday’s storm means that snakes will be probably be more active. “Being ectothermic, snakes rely on outside temperatures for warmth and function, so the sunshine will bring them out. We are calling out to all residents who come across snakes to please not handle them, but rather call out a snake catcher to retrieve and re-home the snake.”
Audiences can view this charismatic British snake-catching duo on season 4 of Snakes in the City, brought to television screens by the production company, Earth Touch New Network, every Monday at 6pm on Nat Geo Wild. The couple also shares useful insights on snakes with the public during their informative Facebook Live sessions on the Snakes in the City Fanpage every Monday at 1pm.