This file photo shows a rinkhals similar to the one found in the car of Mr Mabasa.

Pretoria - A man whose car was invaded by a rinkhals described his ordeal as a “nightmare” on Tuesday.

A week ago, Brian Mabasa was returning to his BMW in the parking lot of the Midrand Gautrain station after work, when he found his car surrounded by security officials.

It was the beginning of a five-day ordeal when he was informed that a snake was seen entering his car.

“It was the worst nightmare I ever had,” Mabasa said.

Snake handler Andre Prins was called to the Gautrain station, but said he gave up the search for the snake around 8pm on Tuesday.

“It had hidden itself deep in the car,” Prins said.

A few days later the media contacted him for comment on the story, and Prins said he was “confident” that the snake had likely left the car.

“I said 'highly likely', but never said it was for certain,” Prins said.

Mabasa said the car was moved and left in the sun in the hope that the snake would leave. Three more snake handlers were called to search for the snake, but to no avail.

On Friday Mabasa took the decision to drive his car home from the station.

“I wasn't really scared driving, I was confident there is no way it can get through into the car,” he said.

Mabasa then took the car to a snake handler, who searched it for about half an hour without success.

“So I had to take the car home, and I parked it in my garage.”

Mabasa said he was afraid the snake could escape into his home, or into one of his neighbours' properties.

“When I took it home, I was praying 'Please get me through the next day'.”

The following morning, Mabasa saw the snake's head sticking out from between the car's bonnet and right headlight.

He called a snake handler, who opened the bonnet and still could not see the snake. The car's fender was removed, and the rinkhals was revealed.

Mabasa said there was a tense few moments before the snake was secured.

“It was a very big, powerful snake. What if he doesn't catch it and it runs away?”

Protected only by gloves, the snake handler caught the venomous reptile.

“At one stage he was holding it and I could see it slipping out of his fist... it became a bit dangerous.

“Fortunately he managed to catch it, he is an expert,” Mabasa said.

“It was a relief after constant worry.”