Snake spotted on Taipa waterfront

At least one snake was spotted along the waterfront of northern Taipa on Saturday, a concerned local informed the Times. This is some distance from where they are more commonly spotted in the greener parts of Coloane.

There are several species of snakes in the MSAR, some of which are venomous. Information on the region’s snakes is posted on the website of the Macau Biodiversity project, which is managed by the Science and Environment Research Lab of the University of Saint Joseph.

Dr Ruan Du Toit Bester of the Royal Veterinary Center told the Times that most of Macau’s snakes are spotted in Coloane during the summer. Many of them hibernate during winter, and some may only be seen in the morning when they venture out to bask in the sun.

“Snakes are mainly seen in Coloane, especially around the [hiking] tracks and the white houses there,” he said.

“Some of the snakes in Macau are quite poisonous and it can be dangerous if they bite you.”

Ruan Du Toit Bester advised that people refrain from disturbing the snakes where possible.

He identified the snake spotted on the Taipa waterfront as the non-venomous Indo-Chinese Rat Snake. The snake is usually found along the grassy banks of reservoirs and the edges of cultivated fields or ponds.
“I would advise people to leave [the snakes] alone,” he said. “If your dog or cat is bitten, take them to the vet. If a person is bitten they should take a picture of the snake and go to the doctor. If the snake is killed [in the incident], take the snake too.”

However, he added that it is very unusual for people or animals in Macau to be treated for snakebites.

While he is aware of at least one case of a person being bitten, it remains a very rare occurrence.

“We never hear news about these cases,” he said.

The various species that can be found in Macau include the non-venomous Indo-Chinese Rat Snake, Malayan Banded Wolf Snake and the Taiwan Kukri Snake.

The territory is also home to the mildly venomous Mangrove Water Snake, the dangerous Green Pit Viper and Taiwan Cobra, and the extremely venomous Many- banded Krait (also known as the Taiwanese Krait), whose bites can be fatal. DB

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