'Pregnant' black mamba discovered by a Westville father and his son while playing ball in the garden
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DURBAN: A father and his son found a black mamba in their garden in Westville on Sunday afternoon.
The father and son were playing with a ball in the garden and saw the snake down an embankment.
Snake rescuer Nick Evans said when he arrived at the Dawncliffe home in Westville, the father pointed out the snake, however it was difficult to see as there was some grass and branches impeding his view.
Describing how the father discovered the snake, Evans said the ball had rolled down the embankment to the bottom of the garden, stopping on a ledge.
“The father went down to get it, and as he was reaching down to grab it, he suddenly noticed a black mamba curled up right next to the ball.”
Evans said he was surprised that the snake did not move.
“I'd have bet it would have shot off. It was obviously enjoying the sun so much, maybe having a snooze too,” he said.
He said the father did not freeze, but moved back quickly.
Evans said he thought the man had mistaken a tree branch for a snake as he struggled to see it.
“Eventually, I got right to where the snake was supposed to be, and all I could see was a branch. I was sure he'd seen a branch and not a snake, but then, the mamba moved!
“How I had not seen it, I don't know. It was too quick for me to do anything. It shot down the ledge into a pile of garden refuse.”
In need of assistance, Evans called his friend Nick Saunders, who lives nearby. He said he wanted a handler on the opposite side of the heap, in case the snake popped out.
The duo started raking and digging away the leaves and compost.
“This caused a major problem. We, unintentionally, were breaking apart ants nests among the compost, and they were furious! They erupted, crawling wildly all over the place. It didn't take long before they were climbing up us.”
Evans said that trying to look for a highly venomous snake while being covered by ants was not a fun experience, adding that eventually the ants were going into his ears and eyes.
Despite the distraction, he said they focused on finding the snake.
“Eventually, after a bit of digging, we found the mamba, tucked under a large rock.
“With each of us armed with a tong, we pulled it out gently. It rose up a little, at Nick [Saunders], which was quite impressive. But we soon pinned it down,” Evans said.
He added that the search for the mamba was more eventful than the capture.
“I reckon it's been living there a while. In fact, I suspect it's gravid (pregnant), although early stages. They lay in November, and this would have been a nice laying spot.”
He said the snake would be relocated to a safer area.