If you live in the greater Durban area, you’re likely to run into a slippery friend, but instead of fearing snakes, experts say we should hug them – because they’re everywhere.
The National Geographic Wild TV series Snakes in the City is still going strong after seven years on the air and filmed all spring in the coastal region of KwaZulu-Natal.
Snake Catchers Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett star in the show, which educates audiences to save snakes from human harm.
The duo say human interaction with snakes is more worrying as dealing with dangerous snakes and part of their mission is to try to “convert” people by dispelling fears and dispelling myths about snakes.
“It’s called ophidiophobia,” Keys explained. “It is quite remarkable that the people who live in this lush tropical climate are unaware of how many snakes they literally live next to. But when faced with a snake in their garden, home or at work, they are petrified. We have to empathize with them and try to help them overcome this fear. “
Gillett continued: ” A lot has been written about this fear of snakes. Some say our fear is evolutionary – we’ve been taught to avoid it since the beginning, as one or two species could potentially kill you.
“We see the bad name, the they get in everything from cultural myths and beliefs to children’s stories to movies. This brave, adventurous Indiana Jones character got gross when faced with a grave full of them. Parents also play a role in passing this fear down to generations.
“Snakes are not cuddly or fluffy. People often assume that a snake’s skin is slimy – which pushes it further down the sympathetic scale. ”
The couple use snake trapping as a Opportunity to let customers touch and interact with the reptiles.
“I would say that 75% of the time we can” convert “people,” said Gillett.
“It is really remarkable to see that these creatures are very beautiful and mostly just want to keep to themselves.”
“In reality, most snakes are not dangerous and do far more good than bad in our ecosystems. They are an important part of the food chain – snakes, for example, are able to control rat populations very efficiently.
“People often kill snakes in response to this fear, but it is Devastating to ecosystems and the environment – every living thing and every plant has a role to play on this planet, and therefore people should think more holistically. “
Keys said the rains of the Lately it would have resulted in a lot more water, which means that a lot more frogs are breeding.
“Because of this, snake activity increases because there is more food and therefore more human encounters gives.” he said.
The snake catchers advise residents to keep their eyes open and lose their fear.
“Snakes Always try to avoid you first. But they’re more active when it’s warm and wet, so stay alert and watch where you’re going, “said Gillett.
They warned of flooding < span> also flushes snakes out of hiding places. Be careful around piles of wood, rubble, old tires, under houses or sheds, in places where snakes can keep themselves dry.
The duo says when encountering a snake, its environmental usefulness should be considered. Instead of killing them, it’s best to call the Snakes in the City team to catch and relocate snakes for free. Even better, the event could be used in a future episode of their TV series.
So if you find a raunchy friend, call Snakes in the City 063 234 6932, to remove it.