Snake Removal


After one or two light rains, the toads have really started to wake up over the past two-three weeks or so. With the toads out, so are their predators!

I have started to get an increase in calls for Herald Snakes and Rhombic Night Adders, both of which feed on these large, croaking frogs.

The Herald Snake, pictured first below, is a very cheeky snake, that often gives people the frights of their lives! They curl back into an 'S' position, flatten their heads, strike and hiss repeatedly! But don't be fooled. This is all just an act. All talk and no action. This is not a species to be concerned about :)
Technically, they have a mild venom, but it is harmless to humans. There's a belief that their venom causes headaches, should you be bitten. This is not true, and should a Herald Snake bite you, and you get a headache, that's stress!

Heralds are relatively easy to identify, although they are often mistaken for small mambas (which I should add are rare, and a Black Mamba hatches out at 60cm+-).
The most obvious feature of the Herald is its head. Should you be too close, it will flatten it out. You'll also notice that the back of the head is black. The body is an olive/grey colour, with white flecks/speckles on it.

Occasionally, we see them with orange or red lips, hence the common name, Red-lipped Herald. It's important to note that most specimens do not have the bright orange 'lips'! They're often pale, or white.

The Rhombic Night Adder has more of a bite to it than the Herald.
A bite from a Night Adder should be taken seriously, and patients should be taken to hospital. The general symptoms are a lot of pain, and mild (sometimes not so mild) swelling. Fortunately, bites are not considered life-threatening, and the bite from this snake has never killed. However, I have seen some people react far worse than others, so please never take a chance with this species.
Identifying them is fairly simple. Brown, sometimes a more grey coloured snake, with dark diamond-like markings running down the body. There's a prominent 'V' marking on their head.
They may hiss and puff if threatened, leading people into believing that they're Puff Adders.
We generally don't get Puff Adders in Durban. They start occurring in the Upper Highway Area, and further inland.

If you see a Herald in your garden, you can just leave it alone. It will make sure you don't have too many toads croaking around. They're nocturnal, exploring your garden when you've settled down for the evening.
Night Adders you'll encounter during the day, weirdly. I cannot remember ever capturing a Night Adder at night. They're definitely far more active during the day.
If you have dogs, you probably don't want to leave it in the garden, because if your dogs attack it, they'll end up with a swollen face. Best contact a snake-catcher if one of these are in your garden. In saying that, many people are happy to leave them to slither off by themselves. It's up to you.

Lastly, don't hate the Guttural Toad for the 'noise' they make! It's nature's music! Plus, they're controlling insect numbers. I love hearing them in my garden! 
These two snakes will control the volume for you :)

There's one snake still MIA- the Mozambique Spitting Cobra. I haven't had one call for one of them this season, yet. They usually start in September, and when they do, they keep me busy!

~Nick Evans
072 809 5806