KZN fisherman survives snake bite

Moments after he instructed his eight-year-old daughter to play elsewhere, he felt a sting on his ankle.

A trip to a friend’s farm dam in Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal took an unexpected turn on Sunday for Richards Bay resident Marcel Viljoen when he was bitten on the ankle by a snake while out fishing with his eight-year-old daughter Mia.

“We were out fishing like we usually do. I can remember asking Mia to play on the other side [of the dam],” recalls Marcel.

“Not long after that, I felt a sharp sting on my ankle that I can only describe as an injection. I initially thought a stick had poked me but I soon saw the snake slithering into the dam.

“I knew at that moment that my only choice was to stay calm and somehow catch the snake with my fishing rod so it could be photographed for identification purposes,” he says.

The snake that bit Marcel Viljoen.


Viljoen was rushed to Life Empangeni Private Hospital where he received ‘brilliant’ care and lived to tell the tale.

He commends the hospital staff and their level of healthcare, as well as his friends Wessel Els and Madeleine Maree, who ensured he made it to the hospital in time.

He is also grateful for the moment he suggested his daughter move to a different area.

Although Viljoen initially identified the snake as a snouted cobra, snake catchers are debating that it could have been a baby black mamba.

Meanwhile, the Lowvelder reported about a two-year-old girl was given the last available antivenom in Mbombela, Mpumalanga to save her life after she was bitten by a snake on April 6.

Doctors believe Naomie Hattingh was bitten by either a mamba or cobra at her preschool. She was rushed to hospital but there was no antivenom in stock due to a nationwide shortage.

Lowveld Venom Suppliers came to the girl’s rescue when Chris Hobkirk gave the hospital his last dose of antivenom.

In an unrelated incident, the Civil Aviation Authority has praised a pilot who kept his calm when he discovered there was a snake on his plane while flying four passengers from Worchester in the Western Cape to Mbombela.

The snake could not be caught, and experts believe it escaped on its own after the plane made an emergency landing.

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