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Southern African python escapes from jaws of death after eating big meal on the South Coast

Snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues a southern African python from the jaws of death on the South Coast. Picture: Ivan Martin

Snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues a southern African python from the jaws of death on the South Coast. Picture: Ivan Martin

Published Aug 3, 2022

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Durban — A southern African python nearly had its last meal after it was found in Palm Beach on the KZN South Coast.

Snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe said he got called out on Monday morning to deal with a python found on the border of a property in Palm Beach.

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South Coast snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues a southern African python that had recently eaten a big meal. Picture: Ivan Martin

He said one of the properties had dogs who had “gone mad” upon seeing the python.

Van der Merwe alleged that one of the neighbours said he would shoot the snake.

South Coast snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues a southern African python that had recently eaten a big meal. Picture: Ivan Martin

“If I didn't move her, the neighbours would have made a plan with it, which is not good,” Van der Merwe said.

He said when he got there he had to jump a fence, carrying a bag, to get to the snake.

South Coast snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues a southern African python that had recently eaten a big meal. Picture: Ivan Martin

“She was just lying there and you can see that she had a huge meal for lunch. I think she had a duiker for lunch,” Van der Merwe said.

“I grabbed the snake behind the head and that’s it. When you grab it, it tries to fight but the moment I grab it, that was it, it was too lazy.”

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Snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues Southern African python from the jaws of death after eating big meal on the South Coast. Picture: Ivan Martin

Van der Merwe said the female snake could just fit into the big bag he had brought.

“It’s a big one. It was big because of the meal. Her stomach was big,” he said.

South Coast snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues a southern African python that had recently eaten a big meal. Picture: Ivan Martin

Van der Merwe said he did not measure or weigh the snake because it had just eaten and he did not want it to regurgitate its meal.

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He said the smell accompanying regurgitation is a horrible, rotten smell.

Van der Merwe said he called a farmer friend who gave him permission to release the python on his farm.

Van der Merwe joked that his friend Ivan Martin took stunning photographs and made him look like Crocodile Dundee.

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South Coast snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe rescues a southern African python that had recently eaten a big meal. Picture: Ivan Martin

He added that southern African pythons are protected in Southern Africa as vulnerable in the latest South African Red Data Book, and may not be captured or killed.

“In South Africa it is the only one of its kind; a huge and bulky snake that cannot be easily confused with other snakes. It feeds largely on warm-blooded prey like small antelope, monkeys, game birds and dassies, but also takes leguaans and even crocodiles,” Van der Merwe said.

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