20 June 2019

South Africa: Black Mamba Sightings - It's Mating Season, So 'Call the Professionals'

It is normal for people to see many black mambas this time of year and residents should call professional handlers if they encounter one, the KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation advises.

The recent rise in cases of black mambas being spotted by people in and around Durban is due to it being mating season, said the conservation's Nick Evans.

Evans said the current mating season would end at the beginning of August, thereafter "other snakes will come together in September".

"It's normal [to see so many cases of black mambas being spotted by people] this time of the year. People normally call a day or even a week later to report seeing them," he said, adding that the number of cases reported over the past week or so had decreased.

This, said Evans, was because of the drop in temperatures in KwaZulu-Natal.

In the past two weeks, he had been called out "about 15 times" to catch black mambas.

"I obviously didn't catch all of them."

The latest incident involved a 10-minute mission to catch a 2.3m black mamba found by a Westville family, while employees at the Westway Office Park in Durban had their lunch hour interrupted when they stumbled on two snakes earlier this month.

So, what do you do when you see one?

"Leave them alone. Do not attack them," Evans advised, adding that black mambas do not bite unless attacked.

"I guess they've got a bad name. If you spot a black mamba 2m or 3m from you, leave it. It won't hurt you."

After Evans catches one, he normally inserts a microchip in it.

The microchip, he explained, was to keep track of the reptile.

News24

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