Monty the python on the mend after ambulance escapade

2015-06-05 14:42
Kleinboy Malatjie has a firm grip on the Southern African Rock Python while Shadrack Ndlovu and snake enthusiast Zian van den Bergh help veterinarian Nelene Slot examine her.(Chris van den Bergh, Supplied)

Kleinboy Malatjie has a firm grip on the Southern African Rock Python while Shadrack Ndlovu and snake enthusiast Zian van den Bergh help veterinarian Nelene Slot examine her.(Chris van den Bergh, Supplied)

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Phalaborwa - “Monty”, a Southern African Rock Python, which spent Thursday in an ambulance's engine, will live to see another day in the bush after a vet tended to a few minor injuries on Friday morning.

“She has small scratches and burn wounds and will recover very fast,” said Zian van den Bergh, chairperson of the Herpetological Society in Phalaborwa near the Kruger National Park.

Monty slithered her 4.21m body into a Maponya 911 ambulance, which arrived with a team responding to an emergency call by a woman walking her dogs near an airstrip about 1km from the park on Thursday morning.

After trying to take a nip at paramedic Jaco Gericke's buttocks, she made herself comfortable on the warm engine and stayed put from 07:00 to 22:00 on Thursday.

By then Gericke had left to attend to other emergencies, but Van den Bergh and his brother Chris waited it out in the bush.

Zian van den Bergh said he heard a ''pop'' sound and crept up to have a look, almost standing on Monty, who was too tired by then to put up a fight.

Veterinarian Nelene Sloet estimated that Monty is about 10 years old and tipped the scales at a hefty 31.6kg.

Her burn wounds are thought to have been from the ambulance's engine and the scrapes on her scales from sliding through an open window.

‘She put up a fight’


Veterinarian Nelene Slot examines Monty. (Chris van den Bergh, Supplied)             

Zian put her in a box and looked after her until the veterinary surgery opened.

By then she had regained her energy and wasn't taking too kindly to the human attention. “She put up a fight,” Zian said.

But, with assistant Kleinboy Malatjie keeping a firm grip on her neck and Shadrack Ndlovu and Van den Bergh helping the vet, Monty was chipped for future identification, patched up and given the all clear.

The Southern African Rock Python is not venomous but for dinner she coils herself around her prey and constricts it.

As Africa's biggest snake, it is partial to antelope, monkeys, guinea fowl and domestic animals, with fish, monitor lizards and crocodiles also eaten, according to the Kruger Park's website.

Excited by the encounter, Van den Bergh said it is rare to come across such a big female python in the wild. She will play a valuable role in the breeding population and the ecosystem when she is released back into the bush in a few weeks, he said.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  animals

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