Winters, in our part of the bushveld area, where we operate, are quite warm, compared to other areas in South Africa. But, the nights are still chilly and the days are getting hot during the periods around midday. In these cold periods reptiles, of which, snakes specifically, go into a state of torpor (inactivity) during winter.
Being mid August, we can already see that spring is coming, as the trees are slowly starting to shoot new leaf sprouts, while we sow our vegetable seeds for germination as the days are getting hotter & longer.
As the temperature slowly rises, so do snakes become more and more active. We are experiencing more snake activity around our base. On a warm Sunday afternoon, we came across a young, very active Mozambique Spitting Cobra, which was very interested in one of our rescued kittens, stalking and smelling it from close! As the kitten is only a few months old, it was not sure about this creature, that it has seen for the first time in its life. The venom of a Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica) is cytotoxic, causing pain, swelling & blisters on a human, but can easily kill a young kitten or a younger dog, if not treated properly and quickly! The bite site is extremely painful as the protein of the venom destroys skin tissue.
Fortunately, we saw the snake just in time and got the chance to get the kitten away from the snake, before the snake was able to either spray its venom into the kitten's eyes, or bite it! This is a wakeup call, as spring approaches, so will the snake activity increase, and therefore we all need to be more aware of the animals around us. To keep our animals safe, at our base, the dog kennels are checked and cleaned on a daily basis, to make sure that any snake that makes its way near the dogs, will be caught and released into the bush, away from the K9s.
Snake identification, and the treatment of snake bite is crucial especially since we live in a remote area.