Snakes and Snakebite

Western Stripe-bellied Sand SnakeWestern Stripe-bellied Sand Snake

Photos S. Gericke

Information on this page is given to help shareholders and visitors to the farm to be aware of snakes and their habits, so as to avoid being bitten or spat at if at all possible. Injection of anti-venom carries severe risks of an allergic reaction to the serum and should only be done by a trained person or at a hospital. For this reason anti-venom is not kept on the farm. In the unlikely event of a bite or spitting incident, the information below comes from reputable website sources, but shareholders should note that advice/information is used at their own risk.

Contact numbers of the nearest doctors & hospitals - see Emergency Numbers.

Best medical care in the area for snakebites ( extract from an e-mail distributed by the Waterberg Nature Conservancy 02 October 2012 )

The best medical care for snake bites in our area is at the Marapong Private Hospital in Lephalale. It’s the Iscor mining hospital and takes private patients. It is next to the Mathimba Power Station. Follow the H hospital signs in Lephalale. The main number at the hospital is 014 768 2380. The 24 hour number at the Matron’s Desk is 014 768 2196. There are two doctors there with plenty of snake bite experience – Dr. Bouwer and Dr. Barnard. Dr. Bouwer’s phone at his private practice is 014 763 2832. Dr. Barnard’s phone at his private practice is 014 763 5214.  


Guidelines for NOT getting bitten:

  • Be careful where you walk and put your hands
  • Be careful around your house and lapa when you have not visited in a while - snakes love warm dark places
  • Put netting on your windows and doors
  • Wear thick socks and strong walking boots when walking in the bush
  • Use a torch and good footwear when out at night
  • Don't step over logs and rocks - step onto the rock and check before you step down
  • If you see a snake, freeze, then move away slowly with no sudden movements
  • Most snakes will move away from the noise and vibration of people walking, but puff adders are notorious for being lazy snakes that love to lie on warm paths
  • Leave seemingly "dead" snakes alone - rinkhals are expert at playing dead

Other useful information:

Western Stripe-bellied Sand SnakeWestern Stripe-bellied Sand Snake