Cape Town - In an unexpected twist following the removal of a yellow-speckled Cape cobra thought to have ingested a poisoned mouse in Kuils River, the reptile surprised her rescuer with a batch of seven eggs on Tuesday morning.
Snake rescue co-ordinator Shaun MacLeod said he was called out to Zevenwacht on Monday night after a resident spotted the cobra in their backyard between the rubble.
When he picked up the snake, aged around eight or nine years, it was lethargic and did not put up a fight, which MacLeod said was highly unusual. He suspected that it had ingested a poisoned mouse.
After taking the snake to his residence to monitor her and nurse her back to health, MacLeod said he was pleasantly surprised the next morning to find she had laid seven eggs.
“She is doing fantastic. I am waiting for her to settle in. I gave her water and will feed her at night.
“She needs to rest for a couple of days before she is released.”
MacLeod is incubating the eggs, and the hatchlings will be released on a farm in Welgedacht, Kuils River, where he has obtained permission to set them free, along with their mother.
“This is good news. People put out poison to kill rats and mice, and this kills secondary animals – birds of prey, and snakes especially.”
On Wednesday, another Cape cobra was rescued in Highbury, Kuils River, after MacLeod received a call from resident Clint Hofmeester, who called on behalf of his neighbour.
Hofmeester said his neighbour was cleaning out the kitchen cupboard when she found the snake.
“It was thought that it was a mole snake, but when Shaun came he said it was a Cape cobra.
“We found mole snakes before and a few weeks ago there was also a Cape cobra. Everyone exited the house and we waited for Shaun to arrive,” said Hofmeester. The Cape cobra, a highly venomous species, can live up to 30 years. MacLeod said that, usually, the dark brown and red Cape cobra was found in Kuils River, while the yellow-speckled species was commonly found along the West Coast.
A passionate snake rescuer, MacLeod said snakes were not the enemy and people perceived them according to the way they were portrayed in horror movies.
He advised residents to clear their backyards, as untidy yards were attractive to mice, which meant snakes would not be far behind.
MacLeod works with a network of snake rescuers across the province.
To report a snake intrusion in the Western Cape, call MacLeod on 082 532 5033.