A 2019 study was initiated by Khoerunisa et al (2021) to investigate human-snake conflict in the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Area (consisting of Jakarta and five satellite cities, total population of ca. 30 million people) to document diversity of snakes encountered and the methods used to mitigate conflicts. Observational data on snake encounters from 2015 to 2019 were assembled using data collected by 14 different organizations that respond to human-snake conflicts in the city (8 reptile enthousiast communities/groups, 1 pest control company, and 5 fire departments), as well as from online news sources. This was done to pool all information into one database, making it much easier to collectively analyze data held initially by different groups and in different formats.
In total, 656 encounters with snakes were reported in the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Area, and more than one third were reported in the urban area of Jakarta proper. Overvall, snake encounters were most frequent in densely populated regions compared to sparsely populated areas, possibly due to the presence of more people available to see and interact with snakes, or because snake densities were higher due to an abundance of snake prey (mice and rats). During the study period, and despite reports of 37 species overall, the Javan spitting cobra was one of the most common snakes reported (31% of the 656 snake encounters). Online news sources only reported cases involving Javan spitting cobras or reticulated pythons, likely due to the community recognizing them as dangerous, and therefore more newsworthy. Although venomous snakes were commonly encountered in Jakarta, most encounters were with non-venomous snakes.
Of the 14 organizations involved in the study, 13 captured and translocated snakes as a free service, whereas one (the pest control company) operated for a fee. Although exact proceedures varied, all organizations had access to proper equipment and trained personnel. The reptile enthousiast group members were varied and ranged from school children and students to individuals formally educated in biology, yet they all had a mutual interest in snakes and often shared their knowledge on snake biology, proper handling, and snakebite prevention. In contrast, the fire departments were more focused on responding promptly from a public safety perspective than in providing education, and often contacted reptile enthousiast groups to collect snakes after capture. Large or venomous snakes were typically translocated far from residential areas, while some non-venomous species were released closer to their capture sites. Snake catching organizations provided a reliable alternative to untrained citizens attempting to catch or kill a snake themselves, potentially reducing the rate of snakebites.