Commuter left spitting mad after Gautrain snake saga

2014-02-25 13:10
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2014-02-14 12:10

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Gauteng - It's common place to park your car and use a bus or train service as a more cost effective alternative or to avoid that dreaded prison of peak-hour gridlock all together.

One Gautrain user, Brian Mabasa, does exactly that via the Gautrain - but upon his return to his BMW Coupe, he found it surrounded by  guards, a snake handler and police.

The reason? A metre-long Rinkhals or spitting cobra had apparently been seen slithering into the framework his car.

Times live reports that despite several failed attempts to remove the snake from the car last week, Mabasa’s BMW was moved into the Gautrain emergency parking area, in order to expose it to sunlight.

Mabasa eventually drove his car back to his Pretoria West home over the weekend, assured that the snake had been removed for the car.

But this was in fact not the case as Mabasa found the snake protruding from the bonnet of his car once at home

Mabasa was upset that the security personnel and snake handler could let him leave with car, despite being uncertain about whether the snake had slithered out or not. 

To add to his woe, the snake handler eventually charged him R300 to come and remove the reptile.



Our advice - forewarned is forearmed - check out these interesting facts on the Rinkhals

While it does not technically belong to the cobra family, the Rinkhals has the ability to raise its upper body, spread its hood and spit its venom like a real cobra. 

Distribution & habitat: This species is found in the Southern Cape province, northeast through the Free State, Lesotho, Transkei, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Western Swaziland and parts of Gauteng. An isolated population is centered around Inyanga on the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border.

Identification: Coloration varies throughout its distribution area, but a characteristic of the species is the belly is dark with one or two light-coloured crossbands on the throat. Their average length is 90-110 cm.

Kind of venom: The venom of the rinkhals is neurotoxic and partially cytotoxic. When confronting a human, it generally aims its venom at the face. If the venom enters the eyes, it causes great pain.

What to do if bitten: If you get sprayed with venom in the eyes wash the poison out with lots of water and seek medical help. If you are bitten, bandage the affected area and seek medical help. The bites are rarely fatal.

Read more about Snakes and Spiders you'd more than likely encounter during a bundu bashing trip, rather than your everyday urban parking lot.

Had any close encounters with animals during your travels? Tells us about it by emailing info@news24travel.com or come chat to us on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more on:    snakes  |  travel  |  south africa  |  gautrain
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