Being sensible is the most important. Familiarize yourself with snakes that are common in the area, in the event of a bite, identifying the type of snake may help with treatment.
In the house;-
- Snakes may enter in search of food or find a hiding place for a while, hence keep the house clean by clearing away undergrowth, toys or tools that make great hiding places for snakes,
- Store food in rat proof containers, and
- Do not keep livestock, especially chickens, in the house, as some snakes will come to hunt them.
In the farm yard, compound, or garden;-
- Keep walkways clear of bush, flowers or shrubs. Keep grass short or ground clear around the house and clear underneath low bushes so that snakes cannot hide close to the house,
- Clear heaps of rubbish, building materials etc from near the house,
- Clean up any spilled food, fruit and bird seed, which can attract rodents, hence attract snakes to the yard,
- Do not have tree branches touching the house,
- Keep granary and water resources (reservoirs and ponds) away from the house (as these may attract animals that snakes will hunt), and
- Listen more carefully to wild and domestic animals, they often warn of a snake nearby.
In the bush or countryside;-
- Firewood collection at night is a real danger,
- Watch where you walk. Step on to rocks or logs rather than straight over them - snakes may be sunning themselves on the sides,
- Do not put hands into holes or nests or any hidden places where snakes might be resting,
- Wild animals, especially birds, may also warn of snakes nearby,
- Many snakebites occur during ploughing, planting and harvesting and in the rainy season. Rain may wash snakes and debris to the edges of roads, and flush some species such as burrowing asps out of their burrows, so be careful when walking on roads after heavy rain especially after dark,
- Drivers or cyclists should never intentionally run snakes over on the road. The snake may not be instantly killed and may lie injured and pose a risk to pedestrians. The snake may also be injured and trapped under the vehicle, from where it will crawl out once the vehicle has stopped or has been parked in the house compound or garage,
- Be careful when handling dead or apparently dead snakes - even an accidental scratch from the fang of a snake's severed head may inject venom,
- Wearing shoes and using a torch at night are helpful, and
- Sleep in a zip up tent or tuck a mosquito net under the mattress when on camping trips.