Durban – Nick Evans, Durban’s popular snake rescuer, had a busy “mamba day” last Friday after having a “quieter-than-normal” winter and spring in terms of mamba calls.
Evans said that his day began with a call for what he suspected would be a mamba hanging around boulders in a garden in Malvern.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate it, but it wasn’t long till I was off on the next call,” he said.
The call came from Nirvana Hills, where a black mamba had been seen on the top of a wardrobe.
“Fortunately, it hadn't moved in the time it took me to drive there, even though residents were keeping an eye on it. When it saw me though, that’s when it decided to move!” Evans said.
He said the room was made of corrugated iron, and there was at least one space behind the wardrobe where the snake could escape.
“However, it tried squeezing inside the wardrobe, and I quickly caught the 2m male,” Evans said.
After that rescue, he was off to Bellair where his friends had found a large mamba in their courtyard.
He said the mamba was fired up from the warm weather, and on edge at the sight of humans cornering it. It hid behind some stored items in a corner until he arrived, although apparently it was trying to make a break for it, but decided to remain hidden.
“It was a fairly easy catch, although the mamba was incredibly powerful! A 2.6m male, which had recently eaten. A healthy, old-looking snake. I had been to this property 4 or 5 years ago for a large mamba, but I couldn't locate it. Perhaps it was this one?” Evans wondered.
From Bellair, he dashed to Westville, where a black mamba was seen slithering under a building into the basement.
“I saw the mamba moving among some rubble stealthily. Suddenly, there was a squeal, and a young dassie suddenly dashed away from the mamba’s position. It had been bitten. I left the area to talk with the residents. When I returned, the mamba had a bulge in it. I presume it was the dassie it struck at, but there were a few other young dassies in there, so it might have been another,” Evans said.
He said it was dassie baby season, and mambas love young dassies, helping to control the population.
“The mamba moved into a small pile of rubble. It was quite tricky extracting it out of here, and I had to be careful, as I didn't want anything heavy falling on the mamba. After a bit of a struggle, I soon had the large mamba out, which was ‘in the blue’ (in the process of shedding),” Evans said.
After that rescue, he returned to where his day began, Malvern, for another black mamba which he quickly caught among some rocks.
“A smallish female around 2.1m in length,” he said.
He got home but was called back to Malvern for the mamba that he missed at the start of the day.
“I was met on-site by my friend, Duncan Slabbert, who located the mamba in a tunnel going under a boulder. Together, we pulled out rocks and dug away, before finally managing to extract it, much to the residents’ relief,” Evans said.
He said he was getting plenty of valuable data for research on black mambas.
“It was a worryingly quiet winter in terms of mamba mating behaviour. Up until now, I’ve had fewer calls than normal. It might just be a seasonal dip. Maybe it’s about to pick up? Five mambas in a day is a record I have yet to break. Hopefully, I can this summer!”
“Thank you to all who called,” Evans said.
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