‘Thank God I’m alive’, says man after killing mamba

2019-05-28 12:14
Bheki Ntshepha with the three-metre long black mamba he encounted while riding his bicycle along Polly Shortts Road on Sunday.

Bheki Ntshepha with the three-metre long black mamba he encounted while riding his bicycle along Polly Shortts Road on Sunday. (WhatsApp)

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A Pietermaritzburg man got the fright of his life when he encountered a deadly black mamba while cycling on Sunday.

Bheki Ntshapha told The Witness on Monday that he accidentally ran over the three-metre long snake while riding his bicycle along Polly Shortts and it curled its body around the back wheel of his bike.

At first, Ntshapha said he thought that someone had flung a stone and hit his bicycle.

But when he stopped on the side of the road to inspect the damage, he could not believe his eyes when it appeared “from nowhere” just in front of him and started coming at him.

“It was the biggest snake I have ever seen in my life,” he said.

The 34-year-old Sacca informal settlement resident said after spotting the snake, he was so shocked he fell off his bicycle and started screaming at passing motorists to help him, but no one stopped.

“It raised its head and it was ready to strike me. I froze for almost 10 seconds and managed to get up and moved slowly away from it,” he said.

He said the snake leapt out of his bicycle wheel and slithered in his direction and started advancing towards him.

Ntshapha said he kept his cool and thought to himself that it was a question of him either fighting back or watching as the snake made a meal out of him.

“I started picking up stones and rocks and hit it on the head, but it was not dying,” he told The Witness.

“There was no way out. I was terrified. If I didn’t kill it … it was going to kill me.”

He said he looked around and saw a stick lying in the shrubbery, which he used to hit the snake before it could attack him.

“I had to fight to save my life. My biggest fear was that it would move faster than me,” he said.

He added that in his lifetime he had seen plenty of snakes, but it was the first time he had ever seen or fought with such an enormous one.

“This is like one horrible nightmare. I don’t know where I found the strength to fight that snake, but I thank God I’m still alive to tell the tale.”

Ntshapha said he had already skinned the snake and said he will leave it outside his house as proof for people who would otherwise not believe his story.

Snake expert Mark Enslin said killing a black mamba was dangerous. “He’s really lucky he didn’t get bitten. Killing a black mamba puts you at high risk of being bitten. People need to know that,” he said. “If the snake was crossing the road, he should have stopped and let it go,” Enslin said.

Enslin said despite the snake’s reputation, it is by no means an aggressive snake and will avoid humans if given the choice. “It never chases people — a rather popular myth. But if surprised or cornered it will bite readily and may even bite more than once,” he said.

The black mamba accounts for about half of the snake bite fatalities recorded in South Africa, with the Cape Cobra being the other culprit, he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  snakes

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