Snake IdentificationCoexisting With SnakesSnakebite

Snake Identification

Need to know what type of snake is in front of you? Here are some resources for identifying a snake species in your part of the world.

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Coexisting With Snakes

See a snake near or in your home? Don’t panic! Snakes make great neighbors! Most snakes are harmless and all snakes deserve our respect. They play an integral role in the ecosystem, control rodent populations and are actually really cool. However, for some that may fear snakes, finding a snake near your home can be an extremely unwanted experience. It is important to understand these animals, be compassionate and consider their right to live in nature. The best part? We can do so with no one getting hurt. Here are three easy ways that you can make your home safe for you and for snakes:

1. Be Snake Aware

Ask yourself, “Could a snake be there?” That’s being snake aware! When walking, playing or gardening, be conscious of where you put your hands and feet. Snakes like to curl up in dark, quiet places during the heat of the day. Typically in the early morning and evenings, snakes will become more active. At night, always use a light to avoid stepping on a snake. Teach your children about snake safety. Tell them to never pick up snakes and say they need to get an adult if they see a snake. Educate yourself about the snakes in your area and learn how to properly identify what species are venomous. Find a reptile identification guide or simply search online for “snakes of {your area}”.

2. Make Your Home Snake Safe

  • Do you have boards, debris or trash lying around the yard? Clean it up! A board on the ground is a perfect hangout spot for a snake.
  • Keep your yard tidy and the snakes won’t stay around your house.
  • Keep your grass low and control thick vegetation around your home.
  • Examine your home, see a place a snake could get into? Close up cracks and other openings.
  • Rodent proof your home, but never use poison or glue traps to do so. Snakes will search for food where there is prey. No food? No snakes.
  • Never use plastic sod netting or bird netting – they trap and hurt snakes!
  • Welcome non-venomous snakes to your yard – excellent rodent control!
  • Snakes are shy and prefer to not be bothered. If you maintain an active presence around your home, you will scare most snakes away.

3. Respect The Snake

If you find a snake, leave it be! Remember that the snake is more afraid of you, then you are of it. Do not try and pick it up. Do not try and get it to move by hitting it with a stick. Snakes are not aggressive, so watch it from a little distance. After some time it will move off on its own. After observing a snake, you might find that they are actually very interesting! Snakes have been around a long time, so it is very important to understand that we moved into the snake’s backyard first. We should do our best to coexist peacefully.

For more information about how to keep snakes away from your home, please watch this educational video created by Reptiles Alive!

Snakebite

Each year, 2.7 million people around the world suffer a serious snakebite envenomation. At least 125,000 are killed and 400,000 more are permanently disabled. In India alone, over 46,000 people die from snakebite, which accounts for almost half of worldwide snakebite deaths. Casualty statistics are underestimates, as many deaths are never recorded. In response to this snakebite crisis, the World Health Organization classified snakebite as a neglected tropical disease as few efforts exist to reduce snakebite in developing countriesWatch a featurette from the documentary Minutes To Die, as it explores the sheer devastation of snakebite on victims, their families and their communities in some of the most snakebite-afflicted countries:

What About Antivenom?

Antivenom has the potential to save a snakebite victim’s life, but the unfortunate reality is that antivenom is expensive, sometimes not effective and is in short supply for the communities who need it most. Rural communities in tropical countries are the most impacted by the snakebite crisis. Families in these communities are primarily poor with very limited access to health care. A snakebite can destroy not only an individual’s life, but their family’s livelihood as well. Those who do survive a snakebite are often faced with a massive financial debt to pay for antivenom treatment, yet are often unable to return to work or school because of their injuries.

To further understand the antivenom shortage in Africa, watch Breaking the Vicious Circle of Antivenom Shortage from Soc. Africaine de Venimologie:

However, snakebite is a preventable disease. With a basic understanding of snake ecology and simple changes to daily routines, most snakebites could be avoided.

How To Prevent Snakebite

1 – Watch where you put your feet and hands, so you don’t accidentally touch or step on a snake.

2 – Always use a light when you walk at night to avoid stepping on a snake in the dark.

3 – Keep rats and mice away from your home, because they they will attract snakes.

4- Keep paths clear, cut grass short and remove debris that accumulates near your home.

How You Can Help

Save The Snakes implements sustainable solutions in communities impacted by snakebite and we mitigate human-snake conflict. You can support our work by donating today, which will help fund our snake awareness and snakebite treatment workshops. Together we can save snakes and protect people in communities impacted by snakebite.