What to do when you see a snake

First thing, don't panic! About 3/4ths of all snake species in India are non-venomous and completely harmless! Even if you have encountered a venomous snake, the snake is unlikely to attack or bite unless provoked. If you move towards it or attempt to pick it up, you may provoke an attack. However, standing still or slowly moving away gives the snake a chance to escape harmlessly.

The next thing you do will depend on where you are. If you are outdoors in a wild area such as Jubilee Park and it is very likely that no one else will encounter the animal, the best thing to do is to leave the animal alone. Stand still, change direction or walk away from the animal and it will disappear into bushes or a hole in the ground. If it looks like it is moving towards you stamp the ground to create ground vibrations. This should be enough to drive it away. Remember that most snakes are as scared of you, or more scared than you are of them. 

If you are outdoors in a populated area where it is likely that the snake will encounter other people, give us a call. We will be happy to come and catch the animal. Please remember to have someone watching the snake if you have to leave the area when calling us. This is so that the search and capture becomes easier when we arrive. Also a brief description of length, colour and body patterns when you call us can be extremely useful.

The same procedure is to be followed when the snake is indoors whether in a lab or in your home. Call us with a brief description and always have someone keep an eye on the snake. 

But most of all, don't panic! In fact, many snake encounters can be avoided by the following safety measures: 

  1. Try to walk on cleared or paved paths so you can see where you put your feet and avoid stepping on a snake by accident.
  2. Use a torch in dark areas, especially during twilight hours and at night. 
  3. Wear closed shoes and long pants if you expect to be walking in grassy and overgrown areas of campus. (A useful precaution for children playing outdoors in the evenings.)
  4. In residential areas, ensure that corridors and paths are well lit. Cover crevices and potential entrances into buildings that may have been created by rats or during construction. Cover drain pipe openings with fine wire mesh.

If you would like to learn to identify some of the species found on campus take a look here