Snake suffers mob’s wrath

2011-02-12 00:00

AN African Rock Python was rescued on Wednesday morning from the wrath of the Table Mountain community, who said the snake has killed and eaten chickens in the area.

SPCA spokesperson Maureen Vida said they were called by the SA Police Force in Bishopstowe to assist in the removal of the python after it had been caught by community members.

“Senior Inspector Alec Wylie accompanied the police to the area and found the snake curled up in the chicken coup. After dislodging some of the structure, he managed to remove the 2,5-metre African rock python, which, judging by the bulge in its body, had recently consumed a chicken or two,” said Vida.

The python had been injured and it struck out aggressively at Wylie several times — much to the horror of community onlookers, she said.

Qualified herpetologist Angelo Lambiris and a vet performed a seven-and-a-half-hour operation.

“I am not a qualified vet, though I do have internationally recognised expertise in reptile medicine and surgery; I work under the supervision of a qualified, registered veterinarian, with the knowledge and permission of the South African Veterinary Council,” said Lambiris.

He said the young female snake had been struck on the head with a blunt object after she had been caught eating a chicken.

“She was in a critical condition when she arrived and had to be stabilised before surgery could be performed.

“Her snout had been split wide open, with extensive damage to important underlying structures, and the bones of the snout and left upper jaw were shattered.”

He said the skin and soft tissue of the lower jaw, including the gums, were badly lacerated and damaged, and completely pulled away from the bones.

The tongue sheath, which contains tiny intricate muscles, was badly lacerated and damaged; the tongue is essential for the snake to be able to track food, so this was a very serious injury, said Lambiris.

The tissue in the snout that could not be saved had to be carefully excised.

The surgery was completed without undue problems and the python is recovering remarkably well.

The African rock pythons, Africa’ largest snake, is listed as a vulnerable species in the latest South African Red Data Book — Reptiles and Amphibians.

It is an offence to capture, kill or harm them in any way and it is against the law to keep them without a permit. Fines up to R15 000 and lengthy prison sentences can be imposed for contraventions.

Vida said the natural food source of pythons, notably cane rats and dassies, is shrinking and they are often found in areas where chickens are kept.

“Should anyone come across a python, or any other snake, please do not harm it,” she said. Call the SPCA at 033 386 9267, Mark Enslin at 082 373 2396 or Garth Carpenter at 072 088 5299.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.