After Motril Town Council told the fifty or so local residents that it could not do anything to get rid of some 20 culebras de herradura, horseshoe whip snakes, that have taken up residence in the roof of their apartment building, they contacted RTVE’s nightly programme España Directa for help. The programme is broadcast all over South America as well as Spain and advice came pouring in from that part of the world where snakes are common. The local fire brigade had not been able to catch the inoffensive snakes with traps and because the species enjoys protected status, advice about how to poison them, or setting a variety of snake-killing animals like weasels and cats after them was ignored. Last Thursday, after an attempt to fumigate the building failed to dislodge the snakes, it was decided that the only way to get at the snakes was to raise the roof so that trained snake catchers could crawl under it. As of last Friday the drama continued. The one-and-a-half-metre long snakes are not poisonous and only eat small insects or birds and their eggs.


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