WATCH: New home for deadly snake rescued off Durban beach
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Durban - The black mamba which was rescued from Addington Beach in Durban almost two months ago was released at the Umgeni River Valley on Thursday afternoon. It was initially thought that the 2.47m snake was a female.
South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) spokesperson, Ann Kunz, said after spending seven weeks in the rehabilitation facility at uShaka Sea World, he had finally gained sufficient weight and reached the required medical milestones for release.
She said the Umgeni River Valley was chosen as a suitable release site as it is far away from human habitation with ideal trees and rocky outcrops for the species.
For SAAMBR herpetologist Craig Smith, who rescued the mamba from Addington Beach and assisted in nursing him back to health, Thursday morning was filled with special moments.
"As I cautiously carried him to the tree and slowly removed my hands from his body, I felt overwhelmed and incredibly privileged to have been part of the team who assisted the mamba get a second chance. Fortunately, he remained calm and relaxed throughout the entire journey and only once he realised he was back where he belonged and free to move off, did he raise his head, explore his surroundings and begin slowly cruising off," he said.
Kunz said black mambas are found throughout South Africa, in rocky savannas and lowland forests.
"They are habitual animals with favourite basking, drinking and feeding spots, often following the same paths to and from these spots. When basking, they like to position themselves on the highest vantage point so they can look out for any possible threats. Despite their aggressive reputation, black mambas are in fact shy and prefer to retreat," she said.
The snake made headlines in August when he was found struggling in the surf at Addington Beach.
Kunz said the snake could have made its way to the area by hitching a lift in an unsuspecting vehicle.