A green mamba caused a bit of consternation at a construction site in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.
KwaZulu-Natal-based snake expert Nick Evans said he was quite excited when he received the call to rescue the green mamba.
The snake was seen at a construction site in the Sibaya area, which Evans had visited twice in the past to remove green mambas on scaffolding.
"I stopped what I was doing, jumped in the car, and moved! Once off the M4, I drove alongside all these new flats and estates, with more being constructed.
"This was once all prime green mamba habitat. Nowadays, this is what most of their habitat looks like. Now they have to move in patches of forest between buildings. Then situations like this happen," says Evans.
The green mamba was in a tiny gap between ClearVu fencing and the roof, on the bottom floor.
"I'd love to have seen the pandemonium that occurred when it was first discovered," Evans says jokingly.
"The gentleman who had called me, and his colleagues, had done the right thing: Keep everyone away from the snake, but at the same time, keep eyes on it, in case it moves – it always makes my life easier.
"I stepped onto some scaffolding, so that I was level with the snake. I'll be honest, I was feeling a little uneasy. It was jammed in that tiny space, and it could go on the inside. I'd have to run around to get to it in that case.
"It just seemed like it was going to be difficult, but this turned out not to be the case. I grabbed the tail with my hand, and as usual, the mamba didn't like that. I wanted it to move, and show its head or neck, so I could grab that with my tongs. I knew once I'd have the head, the body would likely come tumbling out. And that's pretty much what happened.
"The mamba reversed out, in my tongs, and I got a hold of the head rather easily, and that was that!
"I think the crowd of construction workers were a little disappointed it wasn't more action packed," Evans says.
He described the snake as an "absolutely beautiful specimen".
"About 1.6 metres long, healthy, and that colour… It will be set free on the weekend after I collect the relevant data off it."
Evans says it is always sad to see green mambas in situations like this, "but it's going to keep happening as the coastline gets more developed".
"I just hope those who discover them can be as eco-friendly as this construction crew was. They're a great bunch, who I thank for calling me and keeping the situation under control."
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