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PICS: Chatsworth residents cheer as Durban snake catcher finally nabs ’well-fed’ 2.6m black mamba basking in filth

Residents at an informal settlement in Chatsworth celebrate as a black mamba was finally nabbed. Picture: Facebook

Residents at an informal settlement in Chatsworth celebrate as a black mamba was finally nabbed. Picture: Facebook

Published Dec 9, 2021

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Durban: A black mamba that was seen on and off by residents of a Chatsworth informal settlement was finally nabbed this week.

Durban snake catcher Nick Evans said it was not the first time he had caught a black mamba at the settlement.

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“I had been to this same informal settlement in January, where I caught a massive mamba in a tree, that wrapped around my neck.”

Evans said that when he received the call, he headed there with his friend Duncan Slabbert.

“Unfortunately, we couldn't find anything. We were standing on a bank, below some homes, digging under a tree, where it supposedly was hiding.

“The river below us was trashed. And the smell… we couldn't get the smell out of our nose by the time we got home.

Nick Evans said the place below the informal settlement was completely trashed.

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“The snake must have been in heaven, as the rat populations there must be booming.

“But, there were people, and a lot of them. Space was an issue for this snake. I learnt that people had been trying to throw stones/rocks at it. One gentleman told me he had stopped them, to avoid making the mamba angry. I didn't want the snake being killed, nor did I want people getting bitten.”

Evans said he heard that the snake had been basking in the sun but, by the time he got there, the snake had moved along the river.

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“The news got worse for me. The only, or should I say, the best way, to approach it, would be from below. That meant climbing a waterfall.”

Evans said that thankfully he was wearing the right shoes.

“Once I neared the mamba, the community above were screaming that the snake was moving. I rushed up, and was taken (a)back by the size of it.

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“I grabbed the tail-end with my tongs, while the rest had already disappeared into the undergrowth. I quickly searched for the head. In a situation like this, where you can't see much around you, it can easily happen that the mamba's head pops out by your feet, or even by your hands.

“Once I deemed it safe enough to grab the tail with my hand, I did, and started searching for the head, moving branches etc out the way with the tongs.

“After holding onto the tail for a short while, the mamba started to loosen up, and I started pulling it out a bit. The head appeared, and I grabbed it with the tongs.“

Nick Evans with the 2.7m black mamba that has been released back into nature.

Evans said it was challenging finally catching the mamba which he did with the help of a “not-so-keen” resident.

“When I had a good grip, I was so, so relieved. I had it. I held it up to the community, who were making a big noise.”

Evans said the mamba appeared to be well-fed.

“See, humans create great mamba habitat around Durban. We dump rubbish everywhere, which attracts rats. So mambas end up having plenty of shelter, and plenty of food.

“However I do not blame the community for dumping here. I cannot imagine they have any kind of service delivery here. Where else do they put it? They don't have money to pay for it to be removed. So, the river is the easiest option, unfortunately. Not only does it look and smell horrific, but it trashes the ecosystem.”

Evans said that climbing down the waterfall was rather scary.

“Yes, I was worried about dropping the bucket and the mamba popping out. But, I was far more worried about falling in the water.

“I soon made it down though, then we climbed up the embankment, to be greeted by a very happy community. They were all so, so grateful. To me, a 'thank you', goes a long way.”

Evans said the 2.7m black mamba was released into a place of safety.

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