DURBAN - A South Coast snake catcher, Sarel van der Merwe, caught two green mambas and one black mamba in one day over the weekend.
The green mambas had terrorised and devoured three finches.
Van der Merwe said he received a call from Kevin Ryan, who said he had finches in a small aviary.
“As he was about to give them water, he saw this green snake in the cage. He said, ’Sarel, it ate one of the birds, ’ ” Van der Merwe said.
“I told him it’s definitely a green mamba.”
Van der Merwe said when he got there, the mamba could not get out of the cage because it had a bird in its stomach.
He said the gate had to be opened slightly so he could get the snake out.
Then he went home and had other call-outs, but they were not serious.
“Then at four o’clock, he (Ryan) phoned me again about a bigger green mamba, in the same birdcage, and that one ate two birds,” Van der Merwe said.
“I arrived back and caught it. While catching it, I had a phone call from a rural area about a black mamba.”
Van der Merwe said he then went to Mvutshini, west of Margate.
He said the snake had crawled into a drain pit and a woman was brave enough to close the pit with a big wooden block.
“I mean, that’s taking a chance,” Van der Merwe said.
“When I moved the block, it came straight out, so she was very lucky.”
“I caught that, and that was my Sunday,” Van der Merwe said.
Kevin Ryan said he lost three of his four birds. Two were breeding pairs.
“I had them for about three years. Only one left,” Ryan said.
He said he had been on the property for three years and had many snakes, but mostly non-venomous.
“These mambas, however, were making me very wary,” Ryan said.
Van der Merwe added that this time last season he had already caught about 60 mambas, but this season was off to a slow start because of the terrible and heavy weather.
“Now with the humidity change, now I will start to get busy. February is a very busy time,” Van der Merwe said.