WATCH: Black mamba euthanised after encounter with humans left it with broken spine and hanging tail

A human and black mamba encounter left the latter with a broken spine and its tail was ‘hanging by a thread’. | Screenshot

A human and black mamba encounter left the latter with a broken spine and its tail was ‘hanging by a thread’. | Screenshot

Published Mar 22, 2024


Durban — Snake handler Jason Arnold had no choice but to euthanise a black mamba that was left injured after an encounter with humans recently.

The black mamba was hit and left with a broken spine and its tail was hanging by a thread.

Arnold had travelled to the Verulam area again after reports of a snake in a factory.

The snake was in a storeroom underneath a shelf.

“They said it’s quite large, black, about a metre-and-a-half long. They can’t see what it is presumably a mamba but it could be a number of things,” Arnold said.

He said he thought he had caught a mamba or two at the same premises before.

At the scene, Arnold said one of the men told him they had already hit the snake on the tail.

“Why would they do that when they’ve got my number, I don’t know. Just looking for trouble, you know, and then someone gets bitten on site. And then it’s huge bills and workers compensation and a staff member that has to go on sick leave and all sorts of nonsense when they can just give me a shout and let me come sort it out safely,” Arnold said.

“I just hope the snake hasn’t been too badly damaged.”

Arnold was directed to where the snake was and upon seeing it, he said it looked like a little mamba to him.

“Yeah, that is a little black mamba.”

Before trying to get his tongs around the snake, he said he could see blood on the tail end.

“Then someone gets bitten and the snake gets blamed,” Arnold said, reacting to the injury. ‘Snake attacks person’, meanwhile, it was just protecting itself.”

After getting the snake out, Arnold said: “This snake is very badly injured guys… this snake is not going to survive this. It’s got a broken spine... Broken spine, tail hanging on by an absolute thread. The snake will now need to be euthanised, thanks to human interference.”

“Sorry snake.”

After leaving the business premises, Arnold said it was not a pleasant outcome. The snake would have to be euthanised because there is no chance of the snake surviving with those kinds of injuries.

He would have to take it home and euthanise it.

“I just like to make it clear that the company, you know the management and owners, do not condone the killing of snakes. And the proof of that is the fact that they often call me out there. I think I’ve been out there three or, I think today’s the fourth time that I’ve been out there. So it's definitely not something that they want or allow. They usually get me out there to remove the snakes safely. It's just unfortunate that on this particular occasion, the person or persons involved panicked and before management was even made aware of the situation somebody had hit the snake,” Arnold explained.

He added that he was sure management would address it with those particular staff and let them know that that kind of behaviour is unacceptable and they could have gotten themselves bitten which would have led to a lot more drama, or death, and cost the company a lot more money.

“So I'm sure they'll have a talking to and just brief the staff on what they should and shouldn't do when they do have a snake on site in the future,” Arnold said.

“... Sorry about a horrible ending for this one. But unfortunately, it happens. Let’s hope the next one is more positive.”

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