Durban snake catcher describes ‘whirlwind 12 hours’ of rescues including a 3m python, Mozambique spitting cobra and black mambas

Local snake rescuer caught three snakes including a python, Mozambique spitting cobra and two black mambas in and around Durban.

A 3 metre python was rescued from an area near Cato Ridge, west of Durban. Picture: Nick Evans

Published Jan 11, 2023


Durban - Snake catcher Nick Evans said rescuing several snakes including a python, two black mambas and a Mozambique spitting cobra in and around Durban within a 12-hour time frame was quite taxing especially in hot weather conditions.

Evans said Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday morning was one of the busiest “shifts” he has had in a while.

He said it started with a call for a black mamba in the Hazelmere area, north of Durban.

The snake was seen going into a storeroom, he said.

“There was a lot more in there than what I was hoping for. And, as they so often do, the mamba made me clear the entire room, moving everything, in the divine, Durban heat, before finding it behind some old truck windscreens.

“There were a few rats in there, so for the mamba, it was heaven. A five star hotel. Great shelter, great food, it had a takeaway meal too.”

Black mamba rescued from a storeroom in Hazelmere. Picture: Nick Evans

Evans was then called out to Welbedacht, near Chatsworth, south of Durban for the second catch.

He said the caller described it as a long black snake in a house.

Accompanied by his friend Duncan Slabbert, the pair moved a pile of clothes in the corner and they uncovered the snake.

“A massive Mozambique spitting cobra. They’re not my favourite to deal with, nor did I have eye-protection, so I stepped back, and let Duncan grab that one.”

Duncan Slabbert and Nick Evans hold the Mozambique spitting cobra rescued from a house in Welbedacht, near Chatsworth, south of Durban. Picture: Nick Evans

The next call out was for a black mamba at a house in Queensburgh.

Evans said by the time they arrived, the mamba had vanished and at around 9.30pm, he received a call for a python in an area near Cato Ridge, west of Durban.

It was on a roadside, with houses all around. Fortunately there was long grass and bushes for it to hide in, he said.

He said many community members came to assist in the search, with cell phone torches while the caller had rigged up a lighting system.

A car battery, connected to a light was used to search for a python in an area near Cato Ridge, west of Durban. Picture: Nick Evans .

Evans said when the snake could not be found he left, but around 11.30pm, he was called and advised that a homeowner found the snake by his house.

Evans said the python was hiding among a Lantana thicket, up against the guy's fence.

He said he had noticed that the python had had a meal and they had to be careful with it to ensure it did not regurgitate the meal.

“I managed to extract the snake without her regurgitating. She’s around 3m, and has been relocated far from humans.”

Getting home at 1am, Evans was ready for bed when he received a call from Peter Williams for a black mamba in Manor Gardens.

Evans said the snake was in an acacia tree, where many pairs of weavers were nesting.

“A black mamba, a species generally active in the day, was going nest to nest, using the flood-lit area, attempting to snatch the babies, while being mobbed by the adult birds.”

He said while he had read about such incidents, this had been the first time he had been called out for such an event.

He said he used his 1.5 metre tongs, to try and get a grip on the snake, but it was always just out of reach.

He tried to climb the tree but still could not reach it.

Williams who was on the embankment advised that from where he was positioned, the mamba was in reach.

“I jumped out the tree, and rushed to his position. I asked him to hold my left hand, so I could lean out, fully stretched with the 1.5m tongs, and grab the snake. It worked!”

Evans said the mamba was fairly underweight and measured around 2.2 metres.

Nick Evans far right with Peter Williams next to him and security from a business premises in Manor Gardens where a 2.2m black mamba was caught while hunting. Picture: Nick Evans.