City Request Assistance from Capetonians as Snake Numbers Decline | Western Cape Government


City Request Assistance from Capetonians as Snake Numbers Decline

6 September 2010

The City of Cape Town's Biodiversity Management Branch is currently undertaking research on a unique and interesting snake species. The rinkhals, a cobra-like snake which derives its name from the crossbars on its throat, is considered to be locally extinct in Cape Town.

The rinkhals is an important component of Cape Town's unique biodiversity. Any species extinction affects the balance of nature and in this case, losing the rinkhals, which functions as both a predator and prey species, may mean an increase in toad and rodent populations and the loss of food for other snakes and birds of prey.

The rinkhals has not been officially recorded in any of the thirty (30) nature reserves and natural areas that the City manages in over ten (10) years. However, this research aims to collect information from beyond conservation circles in an attempt to locate any populations that may remain, so that conservation measures can be implemented before it is too late.

In general it is best to leave snakes alone. Most bites occur when people either try to catch or kill a snake. If you come across a snake in your home or garden, contact a professionally trained snake handler or one of the City's nature reserves in your area ( Make sure to keep an eye on the snake at all times and keep pets and loved ones away.

Managing urban biodiversity would not be possible without the support of Capetonians and they are urged to assist the City of Cape Town's Biodiversity Management Branch by forwarding any rinkhals sightings that they may have had over the last 10 years to:

Grant Smith
Tel: 021 851 6982
Cell: 084 328 1001

Note: Request a copy by responding to this e-mail address.

Issued by:
Communication Department
City of Cape Town

Media Enquiries: 

Owen Wittridge
Helderberg Nature Reserve
Silwerboomkloof Natural Heritage Site
Lourens River Protected Natural Environment
Biodiversity Management Branch
City of Cape Town
Tel: 021 851 6982