Green mambas out in numbers

2014-12-29 00:00

THE mere sight of a two-metre long green mamba forced the speedy evacuation of a beachside picnic area on Durban’s Bluff yesterday.

The serpent is thought to have slithered between holiday makers before taking refuge in a tree.

The mamba, considered on of the most venomous snakes in the world, was curled around a branch of a tree in the midst of the picnic area where over 20 people were enjoying their lunch.

Bluff snake wrangler Shaun Venter said when he arrived at the busy picnic spot the mamba was clearly irate, as youngsters had been throwing stones and sticks to try and kill it.

Venter said a member of his team carefully shimmied up the tree to capture the snake.

“When we got the snake out of the tree, we immediately bagged it,” he said.

Last Friday, the veteran snake catcher and his team were called out to the Bluff to capture a green mamba that had wrapped itself around a toilet bowl in a beachfront business.

“Green mambas are a coastal snake and you don’t find them inland,” he said.

“I have caught a green mamba every day for the last two weeks,” Venter said, adding that they were common, as breeding season had arrived early.

He added that man had encroached on their habitat with picnic spots in leafy areas just off the beach.

“We are getting a lot of Night Adders and Burrowing Adders and we think that is because of the fact that prey items are everywhere. With the rains, frogs have been breeding and now the snakes have an ample food source and there has been a lot of activity,” he said.

Venter said if you should find a snake slithering around your house, to lock it in a room and call a professional snake catcher immediately.

“I have often seen people pour Jeyes fluid around the snake, which makes it go absolutely ballistic and there is a greater chance of being bitten.”

Venter said it is best not to touch, handle or go near a snake, especially if you are not sure what the snake is.

EMRS spokesperson Robert McKenzie listed the following tips if anyone is bitten by a snake.

“Although it sounds strange, stay calm. Any activity, including panicking, will increase the victim’s heart rate which will circulate the ­venom in the body faster. After moving away from the danger area, any form of activity, be it ­running, walking, pacing up and down, needs to be limited, as combined with the stress of ­already having been bitten by a snake this will definitely increase the victim’s heart rate. Call for help immediately,” he said.

Shaun Venter’s team is scattered around KZN and deal with any reptile related issues.

Shaun Venter — 061 466 3081.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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