What to do if a snake is not scared of people, acting strange, or is aggressive?

Contrary to popular belief, snakes are not aggressive and don’t chase people around. In fact, snakes – both venomous and nonvenomous species – are usually cautious around humans and will not strike unless they feel threatened and have to defend themselves.

Almost 90% of human-snake encounters involve nonvenomous, harmless snakes. However, due to a lack of proper orientation and the widespread belief that snakes hunt humans, people usually react fearfully when they encounter a snake, creating a dangerous situation for themselves and the snake. While freezing in fear or running away may seem more instinctive, the safest thing to do when you suddenly come across a snake is to remain calm. Other tips that can help you in this situation include:

    • Remain Calm and Study the Snake

If you suddenly come across a snake in the open, there’s a huge possibility that it saw you before you saw it – and doesn’t want to trouble you. If the snake is a few meters close to you, take a quick pause, and observe its reaction – it will probably look for a way to escape. However, if the snake is in a tight angle, just retreat slowly. If you retreat slowly, the snake won’t consider you a threat and will most likely not attack you.

Furthermore, you need to observe the snake’s movement. If the snake keeps gilding on the ground, it will probably back off and not attack you. If it rises up like a cobra and spreads out its neck to form a hood, then it is a hostile snake and will probably strike you – you need to be careful in this situation.

Note: Pythons and puff adders glide forward in a straight line while other snake species glide forward using side-to-side wave-like movements.

    • Give the Snake Some Space

When you encounter a snake in the open, do not go close to it, poke it with a stick, try to handle it, or provoke it. It is more advisable to observe snakes from a safe distance. If possible, you can zoom in on the snake with your smartphone’s camera and take a picture of the snake. If you discover a snake that looks dead, do not approach it. This is because species like Rinkhals play dead, and can attack if
disturbed. If you mistakenly step on a snake, the best thing to do is retreat quickly.

Remember, snakes will try to retreat and take cover in nearby bushes, so make sure you don’t stand between them and any form of cover around the area. Also, when some snakes are frightened, they flatten their heads and try to make themselves look bigger and aggressive. A snake may also become hostile if it feels like it’s in a tight angle, so make sure you give it enough space.

    • Identify the Snake

After studying the snake from a distance, you should be able to determine if it’s a venomous or nonvenomous specie (you can find the differences between both online). If it’s a nonvenomous snake, the best thing to do is to let it be. It will most likely go away on its own. However, if you discover a venomous snake and would like to remove it from your environment, kindly contact a wildlife control company to do the job.