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Snakes found in houses in Guadix, Ogíjares, Baza and Armilla. Ideal
Spate of snakes entering homes in Granada province reported in one week
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Spate of snakes entering homes in Granada province reported in one week

All the reptiles, which have all been safely captured by the authorities and released elsewhere, are "harmless" and help control the rodent population, according to a local expert

Laura Velasco

Granada

Wednesday, 5 June 2024, 16:51

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There have been a number of reports of snakes appearing in people's homes across Granada province in recent days. In all cases, residents have acted appropriately, notifying the competent authorities so that the reptiles can be captured and returned to their natural habitat.

So far the snakes have been found in homes in Guadix, Ogíjares, Baza and Armilla. There have been three horseshoe whip snakes and the one in Baza was a ladder snake, both of which are "totally harmless", according to the biologist Raúl León.

On Monday 3 June a snake was found in an apartment block located in Calle Alfonso Laveran in Armilla and was removed by Civil Protection volunteers and on Tuesday another report came from Baza where the snake was found in the doorway of a house. It was caught by members of Granada's provincial fire brigade.

On Friday 31 May the Ogíjares Local Police received a call from a woman who was "very nervous" after finding a horseshoe whip snake in her home. She was "frightened" and wanted to leave the house while the reptile was still there. Once captured the snake was returned to the nearby countryside.

Three days earlier the same type of snake had appeared in another house in Guadix and several snakes have been found in Granada city in recent weeks.

"Totally harmless"

León explained that the horseshoe whip snake is "totally harmless". He explains that they are a common sight in urban areas as they adapt well to inhabited places. "They flee quickly, I have seen many in Granada. However, if cornered or poked with a stick they coil up and go into a defensive position, warning that they may bite, as any animal would do," he explained.

They tend to hibernate in the cold months and are more active with the arrival of warm weather, although with the changes in temperature in recent years there are "sunny days in January when they appear". Even so, March, April and May are the months when they are most active as it is their breeding season.

"They can appear in houses for many reasons: because another species has chased them out and they are looking for another place; because they are looking for food; because they have been frightened by a vehicle; because they want to drink water and find a damp courtyard... you can't be sure," explained León.

On the other hand, the ladder snake is "very specialised" in eating rodents, practically from the time they are hatchlings. "It is less fast, calmer and almost only found to the Iberian Peninsula," said the expert.

Raúl León stressed that these reptiles are "beneficial" for controlling the rodent population as they feed on them. As a result, the transmission of diseases transferred by ticks, for example, is reduced. "People get nervous when they see them, but we have to think of them as just another animal, with no bad intentions, even if they are labelled as dangerous," said the biologist adding that they are shy and will slither away quickly if they see a human. If we find them at home, we should close the door of the room and call the authorities, but never harm them.

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