Dealing with that unwanted snake in your compound

Dealing with that unwanted snake in your compound

Many people have been living in fear after media reports that a female officer of the Nigerian Air Force died after being bitten by a snake, which hid in a water closet.  How did that news come to you?

Snake envenomation incident anywhere in the world, is a common occurrence, especially in the tropical regions of the world, where snakes are common, except in places like Antarctica, Greenland, and some other places where there are no snakes. But in every other part of the world, there is a common interaction between mankind and serpents. In some Asian countries, some people keep deadly snakes in their houses, some worship them and some release them to protect their farms and take them back home afterward. This gives an idea of the interaction between humans and snakes. Snakes are very wise, they are shy and they hide from people but some persons have unpleasant experiences mostly out of ignorance or carelessness on their part, without reference to this unfortunate instance. A common instance is to see people walk in the dark without light; people don’t wear a protective boot and if they step on a snake by accident, they would be bitten. You also see farmers and herders walk in the bush without proper safety wear. That is not good enough.

How to prevent snakes from getting into your water closet(WC)

  1. Boil at least two 2 full bucket of water.
  2. Flush the toilet twice with the hot water.

NOTE: It is advisable to flush the toilet with 2 buckets of hot water because matured snakes has a skin that is resistant enough to bear the heat but the second bucket coming in quick succession would flush the toilet and there is 75 per cent chance that whatever (snake) that is there would escape or die.

Does a mixture of salt and Kerosene prevent snakes from your toilet or water closet?

Anything that cannot be validated scientifically, someone with my level of science cannot dwell on it. I’m not a snake charmer, I’m a scientist. Meanwhile, in many parts of Nigeria, we have saltwater and we have snakes in the saltwater, so I don’t know how salt would help to kill snakes. But Kerosene and petrol do kill snakes if they cannot escape from it, but the danger is that in trying to put kerosene or petrol on snakes, some people end up setting fire to their houses, may be out of panic or the snake runs across the fire to another place where the fire catches something else. That has caused fire incidents in a number of places in the past. There are certain snakes that fight back they panic and fight back and they end up biting the same person pouring the kerosene or petrol on them because the liquid doesn’t kill them at once. The best thing is to call an expert to come and remove them. Snake charmers have their own strategy, which I don’t know about. But in countries like Papua New Guinea, where I have gone to work in the past, some snake charmers could remove the snake and put another one there so that you call them again since you would pay them each time.

What can people do to keep snakes away from their environment?

If you give snakes their space, they won’t come to your house. In designing our residential areas, industrial complexes, marketplaces, and public facilities, we must make room for snakes. However, if you keep your environment clean, they won’t make your place their habitat. The venom of a snake is not meant for human beings. They use it to kill their prey and digest it. And a human being is not the prey of a snake, so it’s not meant for humans. People have to clean their compound and once it is free of snake food like lizards, rats, birds on the roof, snakes would likely not come. However, when you plant excessive flowers that droop into another person’s compound or into a bush or plantations like banana, plantain, and crawling plants like cover crops, it will definitely attract snakes. Also, for those who use the latrine, it is the habitation of the Spitting Cobra, because latrine rats live inside and roam on the feces, enjoying the heat generated by the rottenness, the same way a cobra would enjoy the heat and it would definitely go and stay there. Also, people must stop piling unwanted materials, like woods and all kinds of metallic and plastic things, in their compounds. People, especially women, should learn to dispose of what they no longer need because those are places for rats and snakes to hide. Gutters and other drainages must be kept clean always.