A spatial and temporal assessment of human-snake conflicts in Windhoek, Namibia
Keywords:human-snake conflict, Namibia, Serpentes, snakes, Windhoek, spatial
Conflict between snakes and people in urban areas is a problem Windhoek shares with many cities around the world. Surrounded by farm and natural land, the capital city of Namibia experiences regular snake occurrence in and around houses, gardens and industrial sites. We analysed snake removal data from the city's designated snake removal institution, Snakes of Namibia, in order to determine abundance and diversity of snakes occurring in the city during the summer of 2015-2016, and identify possible reasons for conflicts. Over the period August 2015 to April 2016, 182 snakes of 12 species were removed from homes, gardens and industrial sites in the city. Puff adder (Bitis arietans arietans) and zebra snake (Naja nigricincta) which represented 35% and 29% respectively of all removal incidents. Of the other species, only brown house snake (Boaedon capensis) and boomslang (Dispholidus typus viridis) accounted for more than 6% of removals. Monthly snake removals correlated highly with monthly total rainfall, with highest number of incidents reported in January 2016 (23%, n=41). Incidents were concentrated in the eastern and southern suburbs, as a result of garden irrigation although the study could not measure whether reporting diligence was consistent across all suburbs. Although 81% (n=147) of snake incidents involved venomous species no snakebite incidents were reported during the period.
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