Wounded python kept in poor conditions rescued

2015-12-08 09:40
The python minutes after it was rescued from poor living conditions in Inanda.

The python minutes after it was rescued from poor living conditions in Inanda. (Nick Evans, Facebook)

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Pietermaritzburg - A badly wounded, tick-infested ­African Rock Python was rescued last Friday after being kept illegally in the bottom of a braai for months.

The snake was found in Inanda with very little food, and was rescued by Durban-based snake handler Nick ­Evans, who said he was shocked at the state he found the snake in.

Evans said he had received a call from a man who had wanted to buy the snake from the owner and had called Evans as soon as he saw the poor condition of the python.

Evans said the owner wanted R1 000 for the snake, which the man had told Evans he was willing to pay, just to save the sick python.

“He had no intention of buying it to keep, he simply wanted to pay for it to be rescued. There are not many people around who would do such a thing but we agreed that paying would be the wrong thing to do,” said Evans.

Evans was taken to the house in Inanda on Friday where the snake was kept and was appalled at what he found. “The man led me down to this little tin shack, next to the house, and inside was a half-barrel braai with a grid on top held down by bricks.

“Hiding in the corner of the bare braai, was a sad-looking python.”

Evans said the python, that looked to be around three years old, had a nasty gash on its side and was infested with ticks.

“The snake must have been kept in these conditions for months as it takes a while for snakes to lose condition.”

He said the python, whose species is known to be feisty, did not put up a fight when he picked it up out of the barrel and he immediately felt how underweight the snake was.

“The owner wasn’t around, but a family member was. I had a telephonic conversation with the owner’s father.

“He was so concerned that we were going to take it and sell it so I had to call Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to speak to him, and they assured him that it was being rescued.”

Evans said the snake was recovering at a high care facility and is being treated by vets.

He said the python should survive, however it would take a very long time for the snake to recover completely.

He said he had seen many cases where these pythons were captured and sold and in some instances used for muthi.

African Rock Pythons are a protected species and one needs a permit to own one.

Evans said if people see a snake, they should not touch or try to kill it, instead, call the relevant authorities to remove the snake from any residential areas.

For snake rescues and education awareness on snakes, Evans can be contacted via e-mail on ­nickevanskzn@gmail.com.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  animals

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