Snake identification Vaal River, Vanderbijlpark area

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Snake identification Vaal River, Vanderbijlpark area

Postby antjar » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:36 pm

Good day

I was at a family holiday house on the banks of the Vaal River this weekend, the house is on the Gauteng side close to the Loch Vaal area. I have been going there for 18 years and have never seen a snake nor heard of any of the staff complaining, however in the last month they have sighted 5 snakes on the property near the house. 3 of the sightings are confirmed rinkhals as the staff described the snake as black with silvery stripes and "throwing poison" at them. All three were within a 10 day period and are most likely different snakes as 1 was apparently quite a lot smaller than the other 2 and "threw lots and lots of poison". The other 2 were spotted 3 days apart and were of similar size (always difficult to get an accurate size from another persons description) but sounds like big between 1m and 1.5m, but with completely different personalities. The one spotted on the Friday hooded and sprayed them with venom, the other spotted on the Monday didn't hood at all and was apparently just cruising along the wall and "looked like a madala snake". Interestingly the workers have complained that there are far more frogs on the property than previous years.

The 4th snake was spotted on the neighbours property through the palisade fence, again Im going with a rinkhals as it hooded at them after they threw stones at it to chase it away.

The 5th has me stumped, they where doing maintenance on the jetty and spotted something half way out in the river moving towards them (The river is quite wide, quick look at google earth puts it at about 210m wide). The otherside of the river(Freestate side) is a small private game farm with no development along the banks. Once the creature got closer to them they realized it was a snake and they obviously freaked out. It first swam upstream to the neighbours property and after a few minutes swam back downstream towards the jetty where it took refuge in between the tyres and structure. Workers threw stones at it from a distance to chase it away and appatrently it got extremely aggressive making loud hissing noises and striking out. They ran off into the house and watched it from behind the safety of a sliding door, they say they could hear it making loud hissing noises and eventually got back into the water and continued downstream but they couldn't see where it got out again.

From a basic description they say it was about a metre long, light brownish/yellow, slender and hissed loudly at them. They couldn't tell me whether it hooded or not which makes this more difficult. So ultimately will never know what it was but for reference what species of venomous and non-venomous can we expect to find in this region? I have also tried to educate them on not throwing stones or trying to kill the snakes and that the snakes will not bite them unless provoked. The snake was also extremely fast moving

More specifically Im interested to know what the venomous species are, I would like to put a little poster together for them- hopefully they will then be able to positively identify and avoid tangling with something that can kill them.


Cheers Ant
Last edited by antjar on Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Snake identification Vaal River, Vanderbijlpark area

Postby scalybunni » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:49 pm

You can contact the admin Fooble on the forum. He will be able to assist you with the snakes in the area and even supply some pictures.
The kiss originated when the first male reptile licked the first female reptile, implying in a subtle, complimentary way that she was as succulent as the small reptile he had for dinner the night before.
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Re: Snake identification Vaal River, Vanderbijlpark area

Postby Kakibos » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:30 pm

Hi Ant, the area you are referring to is Barrage which is next to Loch Vaal. I myself do snake removals often in that area. The venomous ones you get there is Rinkhals, plenty of them and I can believe you when you say big ones as I caught a few big ones before in that area. Puff adder but not often and Night adders also sometimes pop up in that area. That is the ones you need to be aware of that are potentially dangerous. Then you get mildly venomous which is not considered dangerous like Skaapsteker. Common snakes that occur there and harmless will be Brown water snakes and the list can go on but you need not worry about them.(but the rule is if you do not know what it is rather leave it alone)
Recently myself and another user on this forum found Dusky bellied water snakes in Loch Vaal which is incredible because it was believed that they do not occur in that area and the last confirmed specimen was a very long time ago. Last year we found four in Loch Vaal. That might be the brownish yellow snake they saw but I am only speculating, they are black/brown in colour but has a yellowish underside and maybe you guys saw one, which is actually a nice sighting. They are aquatic snakes and that is why you saw it in the water.

Feel free to give me a call if you need futher info or has a problem snake that needs relocating.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Snake identification Vaal River, Vanderbijlpark area

Postby antjar » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:19 am

Thank you Andre

So essentially it is only the Rinkhals that they have to worry about. Agree with you sounds like a Dusky bellied water snake which is pretty cool if you say they are rare! Just to give you a better idea it is not the Barrage area, we are halfway between Stonehaven and Loch Vaal close to the Boschenvaal Estate.

Cheers Anthony
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