Rare encounter and capture of Black Mamba on Scottburgh Beach

09 February 2018 | From Arrive Alive

A 2.8 metre Black Mamba was sighted just North of Scottburgh’s main beach, in front of the Cutty Sark Hotel, on Thursday 8 February around 18h00.  A male teenager who was jogging on the shore of the popular beach nearly stumbled upon the venomous reptile.
Owen and Nadi Kuyper, who were going for an evening swim, alerted Crocworld Conservation Centre’s Manager Martin Rodrigues. Rodrigues, a highly experienced herpetologist and snake catcher immediately responded. He managed to safely capture the snake, which was released back into its natural environment on Friday 9 February.
Although the Black Mamba is Africa’s most feared snake, it is a vital apex predator, at the top of the food chain. The South Coast is renowned for its rich natural biodiversity. The presence of the Mamba bears testimony to its wild heritage.
“Snakes are in our vicinity most of the time but human encounters with snakes are few and far between,” said Rodrigues. “It is important not to panic if you encounter a snake. Be vigilant and observant of your surroundings,” he advised. 
Rodrigues added that most often people get bitten if they tried to catch or kill snakes. “Don’t approach snakes. Keep a safe distance of approximately 5 metres, and call your local snake park or a professional snake catcher for assistance,” he said.
Rodrigues said that it was possible that due to the extremely hot weather, the snake was cooling down on the shore or having a drink of salty water. It may have been tired or caught up in the waves.
“When I tried to catch the snake, I noticed a lot of water coming out of its mouth so it may have swallowed quite a bit of sea water,” added Rodrigues.
Once the snake was safely captured, it was taken back to Crocworld Conservation Centre, where it was measured, examined and released back into a safe habitat.
The Kuypers managed to capture footage of the rare incident on their cellphone. According to Rodrigues, it was the first time that he has seen a Black Mamba captured on a beach.
Rodrigues (32 years old), is a well-known and well-respected snake handler on the mid-south coast having come to the rescue of a number of south coast residents and snakes over the years. Species he has helped to safely remove from potentially negative encounters include vine snakes, stiletto snakes, black mambas, green mambas, boomslang and night adders to name a few.
Crocworld Conservation Centre is home to 170 crocodiles, a variety of snakes, over 20 species of birds, a walk-through aviary and an onsite vulture breeding programme. Tickets are priced at R75 per adult, R45 per child (4-12 years), and R55 per pensioner. For more information about Crocworld Conservation Centre, visit www.crocworld.co.za, @CrocworldCC on Twitter, or Crocworld Conservation Centre on Facebook.

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