A fat-tailed scorpion. Photo supplied

Hey dude, what’s under that shrub?


Justin Steyn   l   Views: 185

As much as holidaymakers were welcome to enjoy the flora and fauna of the Waterberg, experts have warned of incidents whereby one might stumble into a venomous snake or spider.

The BEAT sought the advice of wildlife experts as to what to do in the event of an encounter with, say, a puff adder.

As far as creepy crawlies were concerned, Twanet van der Linde of Jedtwa Wildlife at Bela-Bela, warned against the Transvaal fat-tailed scorpion, which could grow to a length of about 110 milimeters. 

“It is a black or brown scorpion, with small pincers but a rather fat tail. This scorpion can be found under rocks during the day,” she said.

And, wait a minute, this type of scorpion could also be found in the townships, because sandy ground was part of its habitat.

Van der Linde said this particular scorpion was considered very dangerous, which could both sting and discharge venom. 

Signs and symptoms of being stung only developed after about 30 minutes, and is prone to increase in severity over the following 24 hours.

She advised sting victims to tie a piece of string tightly between the wound and the broader body, to reduce blood flow, and see a medical doctor immediately.

Van der Linde also urged caution where the six-eyed sand spider was concerned.

According to her, this spider buries itself in sand and ambushes its prey.

“The spider’s venom is extremely potent and antivenom does not exist,” she said.

Snake expert, Cor Viljoen, warned particularly against the Mozambican spitting cobra and puff adder, which were commonly found in parts of the region.

“The Mozambique spitting cobra is the most common snake found around at this time of the year. They normally go hunting at dusk or dawn,” he said.

Viljoen said that these snakes tend to move inside homes where they may have been alerted to a rat or frog which serves as their prey.

Viljoen said that the venom of this particular cobra is toxic and medical assistance should be reached within six hours, upon being bitten.

He also urged avid hikers to watch out for the elusive puff adder.

According to Viljoen, this slow moving snake tends to hide under leaves and rubble, where it waits to ambush prey.

He said that although not aggressive by nature, these highly venomous snakes will strike if accidently stepped on, or provoked.

Viljoen advises a distance of at least five meters when those unfamiliar are in close proximity.

“Do not try to remove a snake yourself if you have not undergone proper training. Always call in a professional to assist in such a situation,” he said.

For snake encounters, Viljoen can be contacted on 081 438 5040

4 months ago       13 December 2017