Durban — Based on the time of day a family spotted a black mamba in their house, snake handler Jason Arnold knew the snake had spent the night in the family’s home.
One morning, Arnold went to the Osindisweni area, a rural community near Verulam.
The family had discovered a large black mamba inside the house at around 6.30am. They left the house and got hold of Arnold. They also closed all the windows and doors to contain the snake in the house.
He said the family was a bit panicky, because there was a hole by the roof and the snake had been sticking its head out of the hole as if wanting to come out. They did not want it to come out, because it would go into a bush, disappear and return another day.
When Arnold arrived at the home, he saw the mamba’s head sticking out from the corner of the roof, between two rooms. In the next room, Arnold could see a bit of the snake’s body.
He tried to disturb the snake in the room where he saw its head, in the hopes that it would stick its head out again. He also asked someone to touch the snake’s body from the other room with a stick, to try and annoy it, so the snake would come out on Arnold’s side.
“It looked like he was slowly wanting to come out,” Arnold said.
Meanwhile, in the other room, the snake moved its body between the walls.
“He was slowly moving around,” Arnold said.
While Arnold was trying to irritate the snake, it came out.
“It’s a small mamba,” Arnold said while pulling the reptile out. “It’s a very young snake, not even a year old. It’s like a baby but it’s still very dangerous.”
Arnold took the female mamba outside after it had defecated.
“That’s how scared she is,” he said.
He pointed out that the snake’s eyes were milky and explained that the snake would soon shed its skin.
“The important thing to remember is that if you’re not interfering with the snake, it will never bite you. But if you make it feel that you’re going to harm it and it’s scared, then it will bite you,” Arnold advised.
Explaining why he knew the mamba spent the night, Arnold said it was because the family spotted the snake very early in the morning, at around 6.30am, and black mambas were not active at that time or during the night.
“It definitely wouldn’t have come there that early in the morning or during the night. It must have been there the whole night. It must have entered the house in the late afternoon the day before and then it spent the night where it was.”
“They (family) weren’t aware that it was there, but I am aware that it was there because there’s no chance that it came there during the night or early in the morning.”
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