Durban — After looking underneath a concrete slab to locate a black mamba, snake handler Jason Arnold said it was one of the biggest mambas he had seen in a long time.
Arnold had returned to Clermont, a township in Durban, to try and get an elusive black mamba last Saturday.
He said he had probably lost count of how many times he had been to the area to capture the mamba. The day before the successful rescue, he had been to the area six times, making it seven visits.
He said the family had seen the snake again in the same place he was called to the day before. They had seen it out on the grass and then going down a hole. It was seen sticking its head out from the hole.
On his YouTube page, Arnold said: “This absolute beast of a black mamba, played hard to get. After seven separate trips, plenty of fuel and about 17 total man-hours spent out there, I wasn’t planning to go home empty-handed again!”
When Arnold arrived at the property, he could see the snake sticking its head out.
In the garden, while Arnold was trying to figure out where and how to get to the snake without scaring it into hiding, he was faced with a conundrum. He then made his way around the property to get to the other side.
Arnold changed his strategy and got down near a corner of what appeared to be a foundation block (where the snake was) and said whether the snake came out towards the left or the right, he would be in the best position to get it.
The family, watching from the bedroom, would alert him about the same since they were on higher ground.
While waiting, Arnold said that based on the size of the snake’s head, the snake was about 2.6m/2.7m long - a big mamba.
After some time, Arnold said it appeared they missed the window of opportunity when the mamba wanted to get out of the foundation. Additionally, the wind started to pick up and Arnold had little hope the snake would come out.
Arnold had two options, return the next day because they then knew where the snake lived or get more manpower with picks and sledgehammers and break through the concrete and try to get to the snake.
It was decided on option two.
Both men and women armed with a spade and pick, started clearing away some of the vegetation that had grown on the foundation.
Part of the concrete was broken and the residents tried to smoke out the snake by setting a few newspapers alight and sticking them in the concrete.
After breaking more concrete, Arnold had a look underneath and located the snake. It was moving.
“One of the biggest mambas I’ve seen in a long time,” Arnold said.
With his snake hook, he tried to remove some of the rocks that were blocking the snake.
“I can see the head,” he said.
After pushing away more rocks and using his snake hook, he pulled the thick snake’s body from underneath the concrete.
As he pulled it out, the crowd that had gathered around started to scream.
Arnold had the snake’s tail on one end and the head was on the other side where the concrete was broken off.
It was a game of tug and war as Arnold tried to get the snake out. When he had the snake’s neck in the snake tongs, he let go of the tail end. Arnold had finally succeeded.
“It’s bitten itself in the mouth that’s why it’s bleeding,” he said. “This snake’s strong.”
He received a round of applause from the crowd who also thanked the brave man who helped him with the snake.
Arnold said the snake was a male and measured 2.75m.
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