A family home in Northdene, KwaZulu-Natal, became a hiding spot for a boomslang which was trying to escape a bird attack.
Local snake catcher Nick Evans was called out on November 29 to catch the snake, which had curled itself up around the plumbing behind a toilet.
“Fortunately, the family saw the snake being attacked and escaping through the bathroom window. Otherwise, it could have been a nasty surprise,” says Evans.
“There are a lot of waver nests and the boomslang was trying to raid them – they feed on the chicks – when it was attacked by birds.
“The snake then fell to the ground and was chased by the birds when it went straight through the open bathroom window.”
Evans was then called to recover the snake from its hiding place behind the toilet, which turned out to be one of his more difficult catches.
“It wouldn’t come out. We tried using a piece of wire to get it out, but it wouldn’t budge at all. Eventually, it started poking its head out and I managed to get the tongs on it. But it was still quite a mission – it had wrapped itself around the pipe properly…”
Eventually, he managed to remove the snake and released it at a nature reserve the following day.
According to Evans, boomslangs are generally not aggressive and very few bites are reported.
“When they do bite somebody, which is really rare, it’s usually because that person was trying to catch it. So even if someone had sat down on the toilet, I doubt they would have been bitten.”
But if someone is bitten and don’t get medical treatment, they would bleed to death. The venom of the boomslang is a haemotoxin, which stops blood from clotting, and the victim may die as a result of internal and external bleeding.
“But usually, you have plenty of time to get to a hospital,” Evans said.