Durban snake catcher and conservationist, Nick Evans, has warned the public of the danger of trying to kill snakes after he rescued a badly injured black mamba in Durban on Wednesday.
Evans said he received a call from the Westville North area on Wednesday afternoon about a black mamba.
He said the caller told him that the snake, which was described to have a black mouth, was found by some workers who were busy taking some rubbish away.
“I get that quite often, people describing a black mouth. Very rarely is it a black mamba, it’s usually a species with a pinkish mouth. So, I didn’t think much of it.”
When he arrived, Evans said the snake was under some plastic bags, covered by vegetation.
“I lifted out a plastic bag, and the mamba was underneath. I quickly got tongs on it, but soon realised something was wrong. As I went about restraining it, I could see the mamba had been wounded.”
He said the workers had been stabbing it with a steel pole.
“I was devastated, I think because I have dealt with so many injured animals this week. But, the residents seemed more devastated than I. They appreciate snakes and most certainly do not want to see them harmed.
“That was one, uplifting thing for me, to see their very positive attitude towards snakes.
“Now I know why the workers saw the black mouth. If you attack a mamba, it will open up its mouth at you, to intimidate you. It will definitely try and strike. Killing them is extremely dangerous,” warned Evans.
He said he took it to Ushaka Sea World on Thursday, where the SAAMBR veterinary and dangerous creatures’ teams could inspect it.
Evans said one section had a big dent in it, and multiple broken ribs. He said there were a few punctures on it too. One of the worst injuries was at the back of the jaw, skin was ripped open and muscles showing.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t really treat that, for safety reasons. But all other wounds were cleaned out.
“It was very strong and lively, so hopefully it pulls through. Oh, it had a meal in it too, likely a rat.”
He said he had explained to those workers the dangers of killing snakes and to rather call, in future.
“They said they will, so hopefully a lesson learnt. I suppose they didn’t know any better and were probably terrified.”