North Coast snake catchers kept busy
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Durban - It has been a busy week for the snake catchers at Crocodile Creek reptile park near Ballito who have been called out four times to catch deadly snakes, hiding in a drawer, under a bed, in a headboard and in a garden. The slippery visitors were all found in built-up areas on the North Coast.
A Mozambican spitting cobra had to be expertly moved out of a drawer at a business in Shakaskraal. The snake is typically very nervous and considered to be one of the most deadly in Africa.
In this case the cobra did not harm anyone and Sean le Clus from Crocodile Creek managed to capture it quickly.
No sooner was the snake safely stowed away than the wildlife park was called to remove a puff adder from a Verulam garden. Puff adders are responsible for more deaths than any other snake in Africa.
Then they caught a 3m black mamba that had been hiding under a bed in an oThongathi house. This is a shy snake but, if it bites, it is fatal without the rapid application of anti-venom.
The snake catchers were summoned by Reaction Unit SA who had been contacted by the homeowner, who came face-to-face with the snake when he went to investigate why his dog wouldn’t stop barking at the bed. When he got down on his knees, a set of beady black eyes looked back into his.
Snake catcher Neville Wolmarans eventually found the snake hiding under curtains.
“I moved towards it but it kept trying to avoid me and moved back under the bed. I lured it out with tongs and eventually caught it,” he said.
Peter Watson, from Crocodile Creek, said they were then called by a Verulam family on Monday to catch a 2.5m black mamba.
He said the snake had been found by a little girl in her headboard.
“We caught the snake and no-one was harmed,” he said.
Watson said some Verulam residents, who lived on the edge of the suburb, were dumping their rubbish in the veld, which was attracting rats.
“And snakes love rats,” he said.
The snake-handlers advised people to move away slowly when they encountered a snake in their home but to get a “good look at it” and note its markings before contacting them.
l A snake handler from the African Snakebite Institute in the North West has been treated with anti-venom after being bitten by a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake at the weekend. The cost of the anti-venom is estimated to be about R75 000. - The Mercury