Durban - Snake catcher Nick Evans was left saddened after the puff adder, a snake he had not rescued in ages, he rescued near Mariannhill, west of Durban, died.
Evans said last week experienced excitement as well as sadness but in those cases, he wanted to create awareness.
“I was so, so excited to be going out to catch a puff adder earlier this week, near Mariannhill. I haven't rescued one in ages!”
He said a big female had been hanging around a shipping container for a few days. He could not get to the snake because it would go back under and there was no lifting it.
Evans said that on the day of the rescue, the snake was basking on some pipes.
“When I arrived, I learnt she had just gone into a pipe. I looked in and saw it. She was beautiful!”
“One of the staff members emptied her out, and all my excitement died,” Evans said.
“Her tail was clearly broken and bleeding.”
Evans said that the caller had been extremely worried about the snake. He was worried his employees could get bitten but he also knew that they wanted to kill the snake, and he did not want any of that. However, he could not stop that from happening.
“We told the staff there to please not kill in future, and that it’s safer to call me,” Evans said.
“In hindsight, I should have spent more time using this as a better educational moment, but I was too distracted, distraught. I do hope they learned from the experience regardless.”
Evans said he called Dangerous Creatures at uShaka Sea World, who did not hesitate in allowing him to bring the injured animal in for the veterinary team to look at.
“Unfortunately, once X-rays were done, we could see it was all over for this stunning snake,” Evans said.
“...Multiple ribs were shattered. That's not a big issue, usually. They can survive with a few broken ribs. But the spine was totally severed, destroyed. She must have been hit with some force. A bit of an organ was sticking out,” Evans said.
“What was so devastating is that it was almost right on the vent, where everything came out. If the break was down past that, it would have been okay.”
“The snake didn't make it,” Evans said.
He said snakes served an important role in our environment, controlling the numbers of many different animals, and they're a food source for other animals. They were also living creatures who felt pain.
“It can be extremely dangerous to kill snakes, as they will want to defend themselves.”
“Just three good reasons why you shouldn’t kill them. There are a few more,” Evans said.