Durban — Three out of four. That was the number of black mambas Durban snake rescuer Nick Evans and veterinarian Dr Carla Goede rescued after responding to calls about four black mambas on Saturday.
Evans said there was a flurry of mamba activity in the late afternoon and he and his friend, Goede, responded to the four calls in quick succession. The calls were from the Westville North area.
He said it had been a warm day, a bit windy, with cooler weather and rain predicted for Sunday.
“The day before the weather changes often sees an increase in snake activity,” Evans said.
He said the first mamba entered the house through an open kitchen window. One of the dogs on the property alerted the family to the snake’s presence. Fortunately, the dog did not get too close to the mamba. The snake quickly slithered behind a dishwasher.
The owners locked the dogs outside – it was important to keep dogs away from snakes – and called for help, Evans said.
“Of the three black mambas we caught on this afternoon, this was the easiest, and Carla made quick work of it. A 2.2m male,” Evans said.
A second mamba was also in a kitchen.
“This mamba was hiding behind a washing machine and did not make for an easy catch like the first mamba,” Evans said.
“As we approached, it shot out from behind the machine in a panic, and bolted behind the fridge.
“Carla and I stood on either end of the fridge, trying to extract the frightened, fired-up snake. She eventually managed to pull it out of there and secure it. It was also around the 2.2-2.3± mark. She put the mamba in a bucket quickly, and we rushed off to the next call,” Evans said.
He said the third snake was a black mamba that had taken shelter in a garage roof, gaining access by way of a tree.
Evans said the residents watched the snake from the outside, in case it exited, while he and Goede went into the garage and discovered that the mamba was in the apex/middle of the roof, on top of the plastic sheeting.
He said there were some holes where the snake could be. They hoped to extract it through those.
“I went onto the roof and quickly spotted the mamba between the centre roof tiles. Fortunately, they were loose, making life a whole lot easier. I lifted them, and got tongs on the mamba, while Carla used my 1.8m tongs to grab the mamba through one of the holes in the plastic,” Evans said.
“Together, we moved the mamba through the hole in the plastic and lowered it down into the garage, where Carla pinned it down.
“Another 2.2m± specimen, with a meal in it. A rat, judging by the size,” Evans said.
He praised Goede on her successful catches and said she had been a snake remover in Pretoria before moving to Durban recently. She was been excited to work with black mambas and so it had been her lucky day.
“Thanks to all who called!”
The fourth snake, which they were unable to catch, was spotted in bush near a valley.
Evans took the opportunity to educate residents about snake behaviour.
He said the call-outs they responded to might sound terrifying and he guessed they could be, after all, a highly venomous snake in or around a home did come with risks.
“But the fact is mambas, or any snakes, do not come to our homes with malicious intent. They’re not looking to attack. Try not to live in constant fear of snakes. Human intruders are far more of a threat.”
Evans said that a friend of his, who is also a snake remover, who removed hundreds of snakes a year without getting attacked, was attacked and hurt in his home on Sunday night. Not by a mamba or cobra but by a human.
“My point is that in South Africa, snakes are the least of your worries. Particularly non-venomous ones.
“If you have a venomous visitor, move away from it and call a professional for help, and you’ll be fine.”
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