GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - "Many people believe snakes hibernate during winters. Wrong. Warm-blooded animals go into hibernation - complete shutdown of the metabolic system. Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles and during very cold winters, will go into a state of brumation - deep sleep in a warm place."
This is the warning from Johan (Barries) Barnard, who is highly experienced in catching and releasing snakes.
Barnard notes: "On warmer days they wake up to bask in the sun, hunt for prey and drink water. I have caught snakes in Hartenbos during winter months. People should not think that during winter months they will not encounter snakes."
Barnard gave an informative talk on snakes to staff at the Gourikwa Nature Reserve.
Brumation is similar to hibernation, but hibernation refers to the deep sleep that some warm-blooded enjoy during winter. Brumation is the deep sleep some cold-blooded animals, such as reptiles experience in the winter.
Barnard's talk included information on snake species in general, snake poison, what to do in case of a snakebite, snakes endemic to the Southern Cape and dangerous snakes in the Southern Cape, people and snakes, what to do if you see a snake and snake biology.
Barnard said the Cape cobra, boomslang and puffadder were the three most dangerous snakes in the Southern Cape. He told staff at the Gourikwa Reserve, it was advisable to be able to recognise these snakes and know their habits, behaviour and the treatment required for their bites.
Also dangerous were the night adder, coral snake, mountain adder and southern adder.
Although the mole snake was not poisonous, its bite was so severe it could require stitches, Barnard warned.
For more information, contact Barnard (071 178 6746 or email@example.com).
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