What to do if you see a snake?
This is a common question and a fear of many people. Remember this; the snake is just as afraid as you are (if not more so). Respect its wish to be left alone, give it space, don’t interfere with it and you will both be fine.
Something that is important for all of us to understand is that snakes are animals like any other. They have basic survival needs just like we do. In the face of a threat, just like us, they will either go into fight or flight mode.
Fight or flight?
Flight mode is always preferred because there is less risk to the snake and can include behaviours like staying completely still and using their camouflage to remain hidden – puff adders are an excellent example of this.
Of course there are times when snakes do choose to fight. This is called self-defense. If we touch them, hurt them, step on them or do anything that is perceived as an attack by us then they will naturally defend themselves. Can we blame them?
Snakes want to hurt you?
The idea that snakes go out looking to hurt people is, simply put, wrong. If they bite us, it is almost certainly a death sentence for them because the venom takes longer than a retaliation from us to take effect.
Before they strike, snakes will more often than not give some type of warning. Hissing, hooding, spitting and coiling into strike pose are all signs that the snake is feeling scared.
The best thing to do, is to simply honour the snakes request to be left alone and to increase the distance between you and the snake. If you are very close to the snake, move slowly as sudden movements might give it a fright. When it feels safe to do so, it will move away from you to a place where it feels safer.
Snakes Don’t Chase People
I know that I might get negative comments about this because perception is very, very powerful. But I’m going to state it again, snakes don’t chase people. Period. Watch this video for proof.
One must not confuse a snake taking flight in the same direction as you as this being proof that it’s chasing you. WE also mustn’t confuse a snake, like a Cape cobra, that advances in a charge or mock strike as one that chases you.
What to do if you see a snake on your property?
Of course, in some cases you don’t want to just leave the snake. You are probably wondering what to do if you see a snake on your property. The principles of the leaving the snake alone and giving it space still apply. However, in this situation you will want to keep your eyes on it and call a professional.
Please feel free to leave comments and questions, I will happily answer them for you.
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