Texto & Fotos: Cesar Barrio Amorós
All that inhabit in Costa Ballena enjoyed a privileged life in communion with nature. However, even nature lovers detest certain bugs, including spiders, large insects and especially snakes. But what to do if we find any of these animals in our home?
As much as you believe that it is “your” garden, animals can not recognize the boundaries between the forest that is their habitat and the plants in your yard. In case of large insects attracted by light, as cicadas, big grasshoppers and
moths, we can do little about it, because if we try to push one away, many more will arrive.
The presence of toads and frogs is not very wanted, but they eat cockroaches and other insects, so it is not a bad idea let them fulfill their role in the garden. But, they are toxic and if we have small children and or dogs, you’d better take them away from the house.
The case of snakes is more complicated. First, you must determine if the snake is dangerous for home inhabitants. In our Costa Ballena there are mainly three poisonous species, but only one of them represents a real risk.
The Coral snakes (Micrurus nigrocinctus, M. and M. alleni clarki) are very uncommon; also, they are not aggressive at all. They will not make any attempt to bite and it is
better to leave them on their way as soon as they are discovered, as they themselves seek the jungle to escape. If by chance they would be found inside your home, you can take them away with a broom, as they are not very agile. If you have on hand a bucket you can push the snake into the bucket with the broom, release it in the jungle away from home.
Another poisonous but extremely rare and shy species is the Bocaracá (Bothriechis schlegelii), an arboreal snake that is usually found resting on plants during the day and it is not aggressive.
The problem is the fer de lance (Bothrops asper), the most abundant venomous snake in the whole country below 1000 m., they can reach a size of almost 3 meters and are very adaptable, so they can be both in the jungle and in the garden and the kitchen or living room in search of rodents that are their food. Besides, they are very defensive, they would be armed in front of any danger and will not hesitate to bite an adult, a child or a dog approaching them.
What to do:
• Go away, without losing sight.
• If there is no time someone to come and help you, try to push it away with a long stick broom to a non-populated area.
• It is good to have in home a herpetological hook, you can manipulate snakes with it by lifting them to make them to lose their stability; that way they can be deposited in a bucket with a lid and being transported.
What to do in case of being bitten:
• The Bite of a fer de lance, even a baby, should be considered life / death priority and the victim must be transferred immediately to the nearest hospital. If possible, you must call the hospital so they get ready with some antivenom serum ampoules.
• If you is know it will take time for you to get to the hospital, you can try to squeeze the bite area by gently massaging to make some of the poison go out of the wound.
Snakes, like all animals, have a role in the environment. We are the ones who are invading their territory, we owe them respect and the least we can do is help them to move in peace.