Durban snake catcher watched two black mambas 'dance', rescues 2.95m snake
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Durban - Durban snake catcher Nick Evans could not contain his excitement when he received a call about "two black mambas dancing" near an Escombe resident's yard on Tuesday.
With the phone in one hand, Evans looked at his wife, Joelle, and screamed, "Fighting mambas!"
"I had been waiting and waiting for a call like this, this season. I've been lucky enough to have seen this behavior twice so far and it only happens at this time of the year, which is mating season for mambas. This was the call I had been waiting for," he said.
Evans said when he got to the property, he ran to the back of the house and saw that there was a cliff that was covered by dense bush. He was told where the snakes had been seen and he could hear them.
"I climbed over some rocks and peeped over a shrub. I could see them and it did look like they were dancing. Their bodies were intertwined and they were throwing their heads about.
"They were two massive black mambas. The world's most famous snakes were dancing right in front of me. Words cannot describe how I felt," he said.
Evans said the euphoria of the moment was short-lived when the snakes noticed that someone was watching them and they slithered off.
"I rushed after the snake that went to the left, while the one on the right curled itself under a log."
"I grabbed the tail of the mamba as it was trying to get into a crevice. I was amazed at the length of it but I was mostly focused on the pointy end! So I tried to grab the neck as quickly as possible, with the tongs, and pull it towards me.
"Once it was close enough, I grabbed the snake's head with my hands. While doing so, the body was thrashing around and the snake's tail whipped me on the hand. It stung… more than I thought it would. I don't recall ever being whipped by a mamba before," he said.
Evans said he ran out of the shrubbery and towards his wife, who had a bucket for him in which to place the snake.
"I put the mamba safely into the bucket and ran back for the second snake but it had vanished. During a previous rescue, I was able to get to the second snake because it made a noise when it moved but I could not locate this one.
"I searched for a while but it had vanished. I presume it made its way into the dense bush, further away.
"I was gutted. I know the residents weren't too chuffed with the other male and a nearby female on the loose! Hopefully they stay out of reach of dogs," he said.
Evans' sadness didn't last long after he realised that the snake he had caught measured 2.95m.
"This is my biggest mamba! I've been dying for a 3m mamba and I was just 5cm shy of that! Still, I was chuffed! And it weighed a whopping 3.1kg!
"What a beast! And you know, the other one looked about the same size!" he said.
Evans said the snakes had been wrestling over a female. He said they were not going to kill each other – they usually 'dance' it out until one surrenders. He said the female was probably nearby.
There are plenty of dassies around and it was a great habitat for the snakes.
Evans said the mamba that he rescued will be chipped and then released. He added that a DNA sample will also be taken.