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Durban - Deadly poisonous black mambas have shown up in unusual ways in Westville in the past week.
Snake catcher Jason Arnold told The Independent on Saturday that this week he caught the third snake in just over a year in the same outhouse in the suburb. It was female, and longer than two metres.
“If I hadn’t microchipped them before releasing them I would have thought it was the same snake each time,” he said.
Elsewhere in Westville, Arnold caught a baby black mamba, which he said was a rare occurrence for a snake catcher.
“You don’t see them often. I don’t catch many,” he said.
At 60cm, he thought it too small to be one of last year’s babies and too big to be a product of this season.
“Unless it was born early. Maybe a female laid her eggs earlier, or only a few eggs and they were bigger and the babies were bigger.”
Black mamba hatchlings are normally around 40cm, he said.
Nicholas Kirkiridis, who found it in his home as he left to go out for the evening last Saturday, came home and worried all night that there could be a mamba in the house.
He had photographed it as it lay sunning itself on the backrest of a chair and shown it to friends via social media, some of whom suggested it could be a harmless red-lipped herald.
The next morning, he cautiously watched it.
“Then I decided it looked more like a mamba by the silvery colouring on its head. It looked just like a picture I had seen online.”
He watched it disappear into an industrial ironing machine.
“When Jason arrived, it put its head out of the machine and he confirmed that it was indeed a mamba.”
Kirkiridis said that after some prodding the serpent dropped out and “landed at Jason’s feet”.
“But it didn’t seem too perturbed. It didn’t try to bite him.”
Arnold said that while a baby mamba carried a lower quantity of venom than an adult, it was more concentrated, so babies were just as deadly.
Kirkiridis now wonders whether the parent mambas are nearby and whether nearby construction work at a site that had been cleared of bush over the past year may have disturbed snakes, prompting them to relocate.
Independent on Saturday