Fear as ‘baby’ goes missing

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missing snakes INLSA Lindiwe Mgomezulu and her daughter Nolwandle Duma with their albino Burmese pythons named Pepsi and Cola, at her home in Orlando West. Picture: Matthews Baloyi

Gauteng - “I’ve looked everywhere; I’ve asked everyone around, I just can’t find him!”

These were the frantic words of Lindiwe Mngomezulu just before 1pm yesterday upon realising that one of her two beloved yellow and white albino Burmese pythons was missing.

Four months ago, Mamsfiso - as Mngomezulu is called - opened her home on Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, Soweto, to residents and tourists wanting to see her collection of five snakes. Her star attractions? Pepsi and Cola, two 2-metre-long pythons.

On Tuesday morning, Mamsfiso had returned to her home after a TV interview, to which she had taken Pepsi.

“When I got home after 11am, I realised I couldn’t see Cola around. The two of them live in glass aquariums, but sometimes I let them roam around the house outside of their aquarium because they aren’t venomous.

“They are friendly, and besides, they normally stay in one place,” she said. But it seems Cola wasn’t prepared to remain put yesterday.

Mamsfiso had mistakenly left a window open before she left, and he must have got out through it. She then began a fruitless search.

“I asked neighbours who live opposite us who had been sitting outside their units all morning, and they said they hadn’t heard any screams from anyone and hadn’t seen Cola in the streets. The thing is, people know about my snakes, and they love them, so it’s easy that they could be stolen,” she continued worriedly.

The python - which feasts on at least four rats every two weeks - will not hurt anyone, Mamsfiso assured. “My heart is so sore, it’s like I’ve lost a child,” she said.

But by 3pm, Mamsfiso breathed a sigh of relief after returning home from the Orlando police station, as well as the SPCA in Dube, to report Cola as missing. “We found the snake in my room, just lying there, and we had searched there before. Where he came from I don’t know, I’m just so happy he’s back,” she said. - The Star

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