Siouxsie Gillett  and  Simon Keys with another slithery find. JONO NIENABER
Siouxsie Gillett and Simon Keys with another slithery find. JONO NIENABER

Here is the number for Durban's internationally renowned snake catchers

By MERVYN NAIDOO Time of article published Feb 20, 2020

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While their contact number might have changed, Durban’s internationally renowned snake catchers mission has not.

Simon Keys, Siouxsie Gillett, Neville Wolmarans, Jason Arnold, Byron Zimmerman and Nick Evans all feature in the popular reality television series “Snake City”.

The programme, shown on DSTV’s National Geographic WILD channel, is now in its sixth season and also shows in 116 other countries.

The snake handlers main mission is to change human attitudes towards the slithery reptiles that are more active presently in Durban’s subtropical conditions.

It is evident that the show's popularity has led to more people reaching out to the snake catchers when encountering snakes, instead of killing  them.

“We love helping snakes out, often saving them from certain death, but we also love working with the team to educate people through the captures,” said Keys. “They play such an important role in the ecosystem, and people tend to forget that they do a great service to us by keeping rodent populations down. Creatures have a right to be on the planet, and we see our role as helping to educate people about this through the series. The more we as humans understand, the less afraid we become of something.”

Gillett said: “It seems that the series is really making a difference in people’s attitudes about snakes. We really have two deadly snakes in South Africa – that’s the green and black mamba. To many people then, any black or green snake is seen as highly dangerous. I think by showcasing the difference in snakes, we have been able to make people see that a variety of harmless snakes do exist and there is no need to fear them as much as they do.”

The team who respond to calls from people in the greater Durban area, do so free of charge for a call out, and the caller might even have the opportunity to appear on TV.  Their new contact number is 063 234 6932.


SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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