Save snakes and yourself

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Handler urges people not to remove reptiles themselves

STARTING out at a young age with a love for reptiles, Andrew MacLeod’s passion has evolved into a helpful and much-needed service for the East London community.

EXPERT KNOWLEDGE: Andrew MacLeod handles a highly venomous Cape Cobra, found in this area, while on a training course in Port Elizabeth. MacLeod removes and relocates snakes in East London Picture: SUPPLIED

Snake Relocation East London offers residents in snake-ridden areas a safe way of removing unwanted reptiles from businesses or residential areas.

“I started out with some exotic species like corn snakes and boas.

“I studied them as much as possible trying to gain as much information about their behaviours and types of venom,” MacLeod said.

Having bred snakes and attended courses on snake awareness, first aid for snake bites, and handling venomous snakes, hosted by best-selling author and director of African Snakebite Institute, John Marais, MacLeod has a vast knowledge on the subject.

MacLeod also carries all the relevant permits from the department of environmental affairs, giving him permission to capture and transport problem reptiles.

“I safely remove any snakes or reptiles and relocate them to a safe area, which means away from the public and where the snake will naturally adapt too.

“I have a great passion for snakes and reptiles and care for their safety as they play a big role in the natural environment and ecosystem,” he said.

According to MacLeod, snakes will try to find a warm and sheltered place to rest for the winter period, such as a home, garage or office.

“Our climate’s temperatures don’t cool down low enough in our area for snakes to go into hibernation, so they go into a hibernation-like state called brumation during the winter months.

“This means that although the snake will still be fairly active on warmer days, it will try to nestle itself into warm and sheltered places on colder days during the winter,” MacLeod said.

His advice to those living in snake- ridden areas is to use a snake relocation service in the event of an unwanted slithery guest, as most snake bites come from people attempting to kill a snake or remove it themselves.

“Sometimes what you see isn’t always what you get. Handling a snake that you cannot identify 100% is the worst thing to do and that is where I come in. I assess the situation, identify the snake and safely remove and relocate it,” MacLeod said.

“My greatest encouragement is knowing that I have not only saved the snake’s life, but potentially saved a person’s life as well.”

MacLeod also suggests people keep their areas clean by ensuring there is no building rubble, rubbish or roof sheeting lying around as this provides shelter for frogs, rats and mice and attracts snakes as they feed on these animals.

“There are no chemical or plant methods of keeping snakes away from an area. Any chemicals put down to try do this will merely poison the environment,” MacLeod said.

For anyone needing assistance of any kind with regards to reptile removal or snake bites, contact MacLeod on 084-573-6476 or visit the Snake Relocation East London page on Facebook.

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