Durban beaches might still be closed to lockdown laws, but that didn’t stop a slippery character from taking its chances and frolicking in the ocean on a warm Tuesday.
That character was a 2.5m-long black mamba – a highly venomous snake that doesn’t normally venture out onto the sand.
A video shared on social media shows the snake in the shallow water, before it is safely collected by members of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), based at the nearby uShaka Marine World.
In a Facebook post, the association said it received a call from metro Police officers at about 1pm on Tuesday saying there was a “large black mamba on the Durban beachfront”.
“Normally this would have been met with scepticism, as most people believe that any dark snake is a mamba, and indeed many non-venomous snakes are killed after being misidentified,” the post read.
“We were, however, expecting this call because a large snake had recently been spotted on the South Pier.”
Herpetologists Craig Smith and Lesley Labuschagne responded to the call, and headed to the beach.
“Even though they were prepared to collect a black mamba, it was an extraordinary experience rescuing this 2.47m-long snake on the beach. Black mambas are uncommonly found along the coastal belt, preferring deep valley areas with thick vegetation. This particular snake had possibly come down through the canals and rivers that run into the harbour,” said the association.
Smith said the snake was “so exhausted” that the capture went smoothly.
“When we approached her, she hardly even noticed us. She was so easy to handle and thankfully remained calm while we transported her back to uShaka, where our resident veterinarian Dr Francois Lampen was standing by to assess her condition,” he said.
The snake will be cared for at the facility before being reintroduced to a safe area.