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Snake man is turning heads

Vusi often walks around his neighbourhood with his "living necklace" and has certainly frightened a passer-by or two.

A scrap metal vendor from Bhobhoyi has caused a sensation by carrying his ‘pet’ green mamba around his neck while going about his business.

Vusi Gumede (49) also known as ‘Vubz’ was spotted at Dees Scrap Metal in Marburg last Wednesday, sporting the two metre long snake.

ALSO READ : WATCH: Believe it or not – tame ‘green mamba’ around man’s neck

According to Vusi, he has been ferrying the serpent around in this fashion for several months.

In a video published on the South Coast Herald’s website last week, Vusi can be seen pushing a bakkie from the scrap yard.

The snake is not initially noticeable but as he gets closer to the brave cameraman, Krushen Pillay, the living ‘necklace’ becomes visible.

It caught the attention of bystanders, who can be heard asking, “if the snake is real, how come it’s not biting him?”

The Herald managed to catch up with the “snake whisperer” who informed this reporter he had been catching snakes since he was 11 years old.

“I developed a liking for snakes at a young age, and began playing with them,” he said.

“My parents were extremely worried about me but my grandfather told them to let me be.

“I have had many snakes over the years, and have been bitten several times by venomous snakes. Their bites didn’t seem to affect me, which is weird but I guess I am gifted with this talent,” he said.

Vusi Gumede (49) with the green mamba around his neck. Photo by Krushen Pillay.

He added he had felt no pain at all when he was bitten, and laughed off claims that he uses muthi.

“I don’t use muthi, it’s just the love I have for these creatures. I don’t give them names, and I release them after four to six months.”

While in his care, the snakes are fed on chicken hearts and livers and given water.

Vusi often walks around his neighbourhood with his “living necklace” and has certainly frightened a passer-by or two.

“Yes, people are very scared of me and run away, but they soon realise that the snake means no harm.

“I always tell people not to kill snakes. If you come into contact with a snake, don’t make a noise and don’t try to harm it – it will leave on its own,” he said.

His four children seem quite content to share a house with his pet snakes, but his wife is not happy with the arrangement.

“I guess that’s because I take better care of my snakes,” he laughed.

“This particular snake sleeps inside the house. Precautions are taken and I place the snake in a ventilated bucket with a blanket inside.”

Vusi said when he catches snakes, he doesn’t use clamps or grab sticks, just his bare hands.

The post on the Herald’s website caused quite a stir, with people pointing out that snakes, particularly green mambas, could not be tamed and that Vusi was taking a huge risk.

When visiting the newspaper’s offices on Tuesday this week, Vusi shocked, mesmerised, and in some cases appalled Herald staff by actually placing the snake’s head INSIDE his mouth.

To see the video visit www.southcoastherald.co.za.

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