Durban – Durban snake expert Nick Evans caught two massive black mambas in the city in just 24 hours.
He thought the one he caught in in Chatsworth on Thursday evening was the biggest he had caught this year, until he retrieved an even larger specimen in Reservoir Hills on Friday.
On the Chatsworth snake, he said a boy had spotted it on election day. “He told his parents about a big snake in the kitchen when they came back from voting. But they didn’t believe him. Maybe they were used to him making things up.
“Then, at about 6.30pm (on Thursday) the lady of the house found it in a cupboard under the sink. When they phoned they weren’t sure if it was a black mamba, but from their description of the snake looking like a tyre, it seemed likely. When I got there it was curled up among all the plastic containers under the sink.”
Catching the reptile at a home in Reservoir Hills proved to be far more difficult. “Workers had seen this mamba in a granadilla (creeper) on the fence of the property,” said Evans.
On a visit on Thursday, he noted the creeper extended into a large compost heap. “It was obviously living there, but there was no sign of it. This morning (on Friday) I found an old skin so I knew it was a big mamba.”
After spotting the snake in the creeper in the afternoon, he tried to convince the workers to help him dig in the compost heap to find it.
“That was harder than catching the snake,” he said.
He uncovered a tunnel used by the snake and managed to grab its tail, which he held on to for 20 minutes. “Eventually I got it out safely.” Evans did not measure the snake but said it was at least 2.5m, possibly 2.6m, long.
The herpetologist said that while most snakes were “going quiet right now”, it was mating season for mambas. “So we might get more cases. But what both these cases show is that mambas aren’t just ready to attack, and they didn’t bug anyone. You’ve got to really irritate one for it to strike.”