Durban — A hectic but fun Wednesday ended with the best part of the day for Durban snake catcher Nick Evans when he and fellow snake catcher Duncan Slabbert rescued two pregnant Mozambique spitting cobras at a Shallcross home.
Evans said: “The best, I think, came right at the end of the day, just before it got dark.”
He said he was at Slabbert’s house when a call came in about a brown snake that went down a hole in a garden in Shallcross.
Evans said they were sent a photo but it was not clear and because they were curious, he, Slabbert and his daughter Jade went to Shallcross.
He said the hole happened to be an old ant or termite nest and those are the worst to try to get a snake out of. They usually consist of a series of tunnels, going metres underground.
“I had little faith, but Duncan asked for the hose pipe,” Evans said.
He said the photo on the homeowner’s phone was clearer than what it was over WhatsApp. It was a Mozambique spitting cobra, a highly venomous species of spitting cobra native to Africa, and it looked pregnant.
“After about 30 seconds of water flowing into the nest, out popped a Mozambique spitting cobra. Duncan quickly grabbed it, after getting spat at once or twice or more… She was most definitely full of eggs, and well over a metre long,” Evans said.
He said the homeowner asked him if there were more and he nearly said no, but rather replied, “highly unlikely”.
Evans said moments later, Duncan spotted another cobra down in the hole.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was left rather red faced, although I did say ‘unlikely’.”
Evans said, “This one took a bit longer to get out, but Duncan soon had it. Slightly smaller, still over a metre long though, but also full of eggs.
“Wow! Two mothers-to-be… This family nearly had a bunch more. If I recall, I’ve had cobras lay between 15 to 23 eggs.
“What an awesome find.”
Evans said earlier, he went to Westville for a Nile/water monitor lizard which had run through two or three properties chased by dogs, before climbing up a tree. Luckily the tree had been pruned recently, so it was not too high.
“I placed my ladder up against the tree. All I could reach was the tail. I knew how it would go…
“I grabbed the tail, and the large lizard leapt off the tree to get away, but when it realised it couldn’t, it lunged at me. It was close to my face, and very nearly got me. I just saw a flash of its open mouth swing past. Then it latched onto my shirt. Better that than my skin… I had welding gloves on going up to my elbows, that Warren’s Small World gave me. I soon got it out of the tree,” Evans said.
He said he did not blame the lizard for being grumpy because it had been chased by dogs, and now a human had it by the tail. That must have been terrifying for it…
“A 1.2m specimen,” Evans said about the lizard’s length.
He said on the same day, he went to a company near the airport to educate the staff about snakes.
Evans said there are quite a lot of snakes in the area, including black mambas and Mozambique spitting cobras.
He said he had started the day with a drive in his snakemobile to release one or two snakes with his dog, Grace, his loyal and fierce protector.
He thanked those who called in that day.
He also thanked his sponsors for everything, from car fittings to equipment and maintenance of the car.