Shona Aylward
2 minute read
20 Feb 2017
5:00 pm

WATCH: Black mamba retrieved after biting KZN man

Shona Aylward

The man was picking up clothing in his room when the 1.5m black mamba struck.

A 50-year-old man died after being bitten on the hand by a black mamba at his Harding home in KwaZulu-Natal.

Snake catcher Sarel van der Merwe from Pure Venom Reptile Park received a phone call last Saturday asking for help identifying the snake that had bitten the man, the South Coast Herald reports.

“The man was picking up clothing in his room when the 1.5 metre black mamba struck,” said Sarel.

The man was rushed to St Andrew’s Hospital, but died in the ambulance while being transferred to Port Shepstone Regional Hospital.

The Herald is waiting for comment from St Andrew’s Hospital regarding the incident.

Sarel drove for more than an hour to get to the house in Santombe, inland from Harding.

When he arrived he was met by a group of distraught people.

“The door of the room was shut. I peeped through the window and saw the snake, which I identified as a black mamba,” he said.

“I opened the door and when I shone my headlight on the snake, it moved towards the door. It was very aggressive and I had to use both my grab sticks to catch it,” Sarel van der Merwe.

Sarel said it was his first callout to a scene where someone had died after being bitten.

“If you get too close to a black mamba and it feels threatened, it will strike to defend itself,” he said.

“All snakes, when cornered, will strike, but a black mamba will follow up the strike with an attack”.

Sarel warned people not to pile up items such as suitcases in their house or garage, as snakes like to hide behind these items. He added that a snake with a coffin-shaped head is likely to be a mamba.

Summertime is snake season, which keeps Sarel very busy.

Last Friday, he snagged a 1.2-metre green mamba at Folly Fields Nursery in Umzumbe, and then a 2.2-metre green  mamba at a farm in Southport.

– Caxton News Service