“That was different,” said snake catcher Nick Evans after surviving a rather unusual neck-and-head wrap by a mamba he was removing in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal, on Monday.
“I’ve never had that,” Nick told a local publication of the fat snake he was called to move from a tree.
In a Facebook post, Evans, who is part of the team that presents the documentary series Snake Season , said he was called to move a, “… huge black snake”, from a tree.
He said they were preparing to film a vine snake and debated whether it was worth going out because they have found that if the snake is in a tree connected to other trees and bush they are difficult to find as they move away.
However, the urgent chattering he could hear in the background, and the assurance that there was only one tree, convinced him to go and have a look.
They arrived at the home, and at first could not find the snake.
“The one man was trying to point it out to me, but I just could not see it.”
Eventually he saw a shed skin from a mamba, and thought people had mistaken it for a snake.
Then cameraman Tyrone Marcus pointed it out, and the removal began.
Evans inched over the branch that hung over the river, and suddenly saw the massive mamba.
He said his loud: “Bloody hell!” was repeated with amusement by the large group of people watching him.
He eventually managed to grab the head with his tongs, but the snake was strong and tried to pull out of his grip.
“It started wrapping its large coils around my head! It covered my eyes at one point, and I sucked my lips in to avoid getting it in my mouth!
“I could smell the curry-like smell of its musk and poo, and I could feel the wetness of this, on my head, as the snake kept wrapping around. Needless to say, my hair/head, STANK afterwards,” he wrote.
Then he got stuck in a thorny creeper and while the creeper was cut away for him, the mamba was squeezing tighter around his neck.
“It was incredibly powerful, and I was genuinely struggling.”
Eventually he got to safety and the 2.57m mamba that weighed almost 3kg was taken to a reserve, in line with the conservation principles of his service.
Besides the documentary, he also gives educational talks on snakes and frogs.
Evans believes the snake survived on the rats that would have scurried around the plastic bags of refuse that littered the stream under the tree, and marks on its skin showed that it may have had a stone or two thrown at it.
He said it was probably just trying to free itself when it started coiling itself around him.
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