Snake feels mob's wrath

2011-02-12 09:05

Pietermaritzburg - 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 police 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 2.5m 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.

Struck on head

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.

Recovering well

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

The African rock python, Africa’s 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.

  • robertldon - 2011-02-12 09:51

    Are the people who attacked the snake going to be prosecuted as the law stipulates? I don't think so!

      slate86 - 2011-02-12 09:59

      It is difficult to prosecute them, because they are of course completely ignorant of the law and nature conservation, but perhaps they can make them do some community service, perhaps at a snake park, so they can understand the animals better. But don't just let people get away with things like this. - 2011-02-12 09:59

      You must be joking, its their 'cultcha' so its okay.

      Stryder - 2011-02-12 10:14

      @slate86-Ignorance is not a defense in law. Making an example of this rabble will swiftly alleviate any ignorance in this regard.

      So What? - 2011-02-12 10:38

      Robert, I think quite a lot know that they are protected see where the bits and pieces are hidden in the muthi markets and in the nyanga shops. I have yet to see a black person not try and kill a snake - any thing green is a mamba and anything in between is Satan. I recall years back a black chap was found guilty and fined for striking a monitor lizrd several times before it succumbed. he was charged under the Animal Protection legislation as well as the Conversvation legislation if I know correctly. And yes, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

      omgwtfnews - 2011-02-12 10:58

      Seriously? Prosecuted? Are you one of those Kommetjie hippes?

      Derrick - 2011-02-13 12:23

      It's "a snake", and it was eating there chickens. They not snake hunting they protecting there lively-hood. Otherwise I suggest you go and buy them chickens and feed them.

  • Susannomore - 2011-02-12 10:00

    Ignorance. We are supposed to share our land. We did after all take it from them - 2011-02-12 10:11

      I would love to hear how many African would agree with you. I had an encounter with a rinkhals yesterday and this snake just about did acrobatics to get away from me.

      Ysterman - 2011-02-12 12:47

      ya, its not like the white man took everything away from the blacks and then civilised them. before this the black have to eat and catch its own food also the snake catched its own food.

  • Clive - 2011-02-12 10:17

    Disappointed how can a community fail to kill a snake ....chopping the head wld has easily done it. People are getting weak!!!!

      Mikemcc - 2011-02-12 14:02

      @Clive, you are weak in the head for wanting to kill the snake in the first place!

  • theone - 2011-02-12 10:53

    ha hhaa vote for DA and you'll be arrested for killing a snake. lol. i rather stick to my ANC and continue to make them( you know who) cry foul

      Uwe - 2012-02-21 22:45

      Don't you know we have protected species. Rather get some info on SA nature and stop being such an political prostitute.

  • Marietjievd - 2011-02-12 10:55

    The bible said man will crash snake's head

      D.C - 2011-02-12 11:41

      So what, it does not say man MUST crush snake's head.

      Carolyn - 2011-12-13 12:38

      the bible also says we must care for God's creation, if you really want to go that route.

  • coolwaynie - 2011-02-12 14:05

    African reasoning dictates that if it's different it has to be killed. It's in their genetics.

      VM1 - 2011-02-12 14:26

      Well said coolwaynie Hence the famous song by Julius I need to practice the lines

      Makutu - 2011-02-13 09:47

      Ooh! Thanks... You know so much about African Culture. :-)

  • Ysterman - 2011-02-12 20:01

    ya, its not like the white man took everything away from the blacks and then civilised them. before this the black have to eat and catch its own food also the snake catched its own food.

  • hardus.kraft - 2011-02-12 23:12

    its all part of nature, how do we as loving people expect to kill something that is out of our hands. i think we are a wonderful country and we should stand together as one.

  • oukappie - 2011-02-13 07:45

    Operation on a snake wtf!these animal lovers take things why to far if they use there useless energy on humans south african would be must better

      Carolyn - 2011-12-13 12:41

      Clearly you aren't an animal lover so I won't waste my useless energy on talking to you about the value and heartache of trying to fix what people have broken. The US can spend 1.3 trillion dollars on a war, but let a caring human spend his own time and money doing what he can to make to world better and look at the criticism.

  • cloppybanda - 2011-02-13 08:30

    I dont think there is any snake in the world that deserves to live. Lets make them extinct.

      Heks - 2011-02-14 16:26

      What about the cloppybandas. Do they deserve life? Just asking!

      Carolyn - 2011-12-13 12:43

      wow, that is one ignorant comment. Someone has no concept of the web of life, nor what wiping out an entire group of animals will do to this planet. Wipe out snakes and you can kiss goodbye the human population of this earth in about 10 years time, though we shouldn't need to justify the existence of any animal in terms of their importance to us.

  • Katherine - 2011-02-13 15:34

    GollY, The human Race can be SO STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!! she was just a snake doing what snakes do...POOR girl!!!!!!! These stupid idiots should be prosecuted and heavily fined!! Hurt them where they feel the their pocket! GRRR!

  • James - 2011-03-07 11:59

    they should kill that snake since it was eating people's chickens. problem is white people like animals more than they like black people. kill the damn snake.

      Carolyn - 2011-12-13 12:44

      Got nothing to do with black or white. Has to do with a human population that is out of control which cannot comprehend that the life of any animal is just as important to that animal as yours is to you. Historically many of the African cultures worshipped snakes, so don't make this about race!

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