Rats attract snakes. Or rather, snakes feed on rats among other rodents and other mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects and eggs. Do we need to exterminate rats or should we let the snakes have their meal?
Snakes slither through human habitations in search of food, water or shelter. During dry seasons, water is the main attraction. But during other days of the year, food such as rats, attract them near homesteads. When snakes are shading their skin, they may enter houses because of the warmth, comfort and the less like hood of coming into contact with other non – human species who might hinder the slow process of peeling of their skin. This will happen if their habitat has been destroyed.
When snakes come into contact with humans during their most vulnerable moments, there is always the likelihood of one party or both being injured or killed. The snake is scared the same way people are. Both parties want to survive. There is the release of adrenaline from both species with the need to fight or flee.
According to World Health Organisation, about 5.4 million snake bites occur each year, resulting in 1.8 to 2.7 million cases of envenomings (poisoning from snake bites). There are between 81,410 and 137,880 deaths and around three times as many amputations and other permanent disabilities each year. Only 600 snake species out of the global 3000 snake species are venomous. Therefore, not all snakes can cause death, but as human beings, the snake will always be a snake – dangerous. In many instances, a snake can die and at the same time the person bitten by the same snake may die to. This is disheartening considering the importance of snakes in our ecosystem and the fact that more snakes, especially non – venomous snakes are killed more than the number of humans who die of snake bites.
Development and human population growth has resulted to snake habitats reducing every single day. Humans, through our living habits, have attracted rats, whether we know it or not, which snakes love. A snake, which is not venomous but wholly feeds on rodents such as rats, could enter a human compound. These snake could attract another snake, possibly a snake-eating snake which is in most cases is the apex predator. These particular one is most likely venomous. Both snakes may escape the wrath of people in the compound or houses. This is in a lucky situation. The worst case scenario, the snake or snakes may come face to face with a human. What happens next depends on whether the person or people who come across the snakes are willing to let them go their way, call snake experts or take matters into their own hands.
What can we do to reduce the number of snakebite incidents not only in snake prone areas but even in the urban or sub-urban areas where the harmless blind snake is not always lucky? We need to avoid the chance of getting bitten by a venomous snake in the first place.
In the case you are bitten by a snake or even spot a snake in you compound, these contacts are important. Getting help should be the first thing you do.