Durban — A South Coast snake catcher was not harmed when the person holding a step ladder for him while he tried to rescue a black mamba from a tree ran away before he could make it down safely with the snake.
Sarel van der Merwe said recently while rescuing a black mamba from a tree in Port Edward, the person holding the step ladder for him let go of the ladder and fled towards Van der Merwe’s girlfriend.
Van der Merwe said he got calls from Dave Watson, then a councillor, about six times for mambas, puff adders, boomslang, right next to his property and on his property.
He owns a big property.
He said the black mamba was right on his fence, but more on his neighbour’s side.
Van der Merwe said when he and his girlfriend, Emma, got onto the property, he told Watson he would need a step ladder because he could not climb the tree and they organised a step ladder for him.
He said he did not want to fold the step ladder out because the moment you put a step ladder against the branches, it will move off. So they just folded it like a triangle.
“I climbed up the step ladder and one guy holding it, with one hand, the step ladder was shaking all over. I couldn’t look down because I was busy looking at the snake,” Van der Merwe said.
He said Emma told the man to hold the step ladder with two hands.
“Then I felt it was a bit steady,” Van der Merwe said.
“The moment I grabbed the black mamba, he let go. And I got a grip of the mamba with my grab stick (tongs) and I could just feel the step ladder start falling. I just looked at the snake and I looked at my view, where am I going to fall?
“In a split second, you need to figure out everything.
“I fell nicely and twisted the grab stick so he (snake) can’t get to me. I necked him and put him in a box,” Van der Merwe said.
He said the guy holding the step ladder said Van der Merwe must mention his name for helping him.
“I said you didn’t help me. You dropped the step ladder and ran to my girlfriend taking the photos,” Van der Merwe said.
“So even that photo with the step ladder, she missed it because he was running to her.”
Van der Merwe said the snake was a nice size.
“He wasn’t that aggressive because it was getting late and then they are a bit more chill,” Van der Merwe said.
“It wasn’t too sunny. He was a bit cold there between the tree branches. There wasn’t too much sun on him. The sun was starting to go down.”
Van der Merwe said the next day they released the snake.
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