Han­dler urges peo­ple not to re­move rep­tiles them­selves

Go! & Express - - Front Page - MADELEINE CHA­PUT

START­ING out at a young age with a love for rep­tiles, An­drew MacLeod’s pas­sion has evolved into a help­ful and much-needed ser­vice for the East Lon­don com­mu­nity.

Snake Re­lo­ca­tion East Lon­don offers res­i­dents in snake-rid­den ar­eas a safe way of re­mov­ing un­wanted rep­tiles from busi­nesses or res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

“I started out with some ex­otic species like corn snakes and boas.

“I stud­ied them as much as pos­si­ble try­ing to gain as much in­for­ma­tion about their be­hav­iours and types of venom,” MacLeod said.

Hav­ing bred snakes and at­tended cour­ses on snake aware­ness, first aid for snake bites, and han­dling ven­omous snakes, hosted by best-sell­ing au­thor and di­rec­tor of African Snakebite In­sti­tute, John Marais, MacLeod has a vast knowl­edge on the sub­ject.

MacLeod also car­ries all the rel­e­vant per­mits from the de­part­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs, giv­ing him per­mis­sion to cap­ture and trans­port prob­lem rep­tiles.

“I safely re­move any snakes or rep­tiles and re­lo­cate them to a safe area, which means away from the pub­lic and where the snake will nat­u­rally adapt too.

“I have a great pas­sion for snakes and rep­tiles and care for their safety as they play a big role in the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and ecosys­tem,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to MacLeod, snakes will try to find a warm and shel­tered place to rest for the win­ter pe­riod, such as a home, garage or of­fice.

“Our cli­mate’s tem­per­a­tures don’t cool down low enough in our area for snakes to go into hi­ber­na­tion, so they go into a hi­ber­na­tion-like state called bru­ma­tion dur­ing the win­ter months.

“This means that although the snake will still be fairly ac­tive on warmer days, it will try to nes­tle it­self into warm and shel­tered places on colder days dur­ing the win­ter,” MacLeod said.

His ad­vice to those liv­ing in snakerid­den ar­eas is to use a snake re­lo­ca­tion ser­vice in the event of an un­wanted slith­ery guest, as most snake bites come from peo­ple at­tempt­ing to kill a snake or re­move it them­selves.

“Some­times what you see isn’t al­ways what you get. Han­dling a snake that you can­not iden­tify 100% is the worst thing to do and that is where I come in. I as­sess the sit­u­a­tion, iden­tify the snake and safely re­move and re­lo­cate it,” MacLeod said.

“My great­est en­cour­age­ment is know­ing that I have not only saved the snake’s life, but po­ten­tially saved a per­son’s life as well.”

MacLeod also sug­gests peo­ple keep their ar­eas clean by en­sur­ing there is no build­ing rub­ble, rub­bish or roof sheet­ing ly­ing around as this pro­vides shel­ter for frogs, rats and mice and at­tracts snakes as they feed on these an­i­mals.

“There are no chem­i­cal or plant meth­ods of keep­ing snakes away from an area. Any chem­i­cals put down to try do this will merely poi­son the en­vi­ron­ment,” MacLeod said.

For any­one need­ing as­sis­tance of any kind with re­gards to rep­tile re­moval or snake bites, con­tact MacLeod on 084-573-6476 or visit the Snake Re­lo­ca­tion East Lon­don page on Face­book.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

EX­PERT KNOWL­EDGE: An­drew MacLeod han­dles a highly ven­omous Cape Cobra, found in this area, while on a train­ing course in Port El­iz­a­beth. MacLeod re­moves and re­lo­cates snakes in East Lon­don

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