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A woman was left in hysterics after spotting a “big black snake” that had killed and eaten pet kittens, a professional snake catcher has revealed. Nick Evans, the owner of a snake removal service in the Greater Durban area of South Africa, said a “screaming” and “shouting” woman contacted him after spotting the reptile. Mr Evans said he immediately understood the snake was a black mamba but was shocked to find the “beast” following an investigation.
Posting on Facebook, he told how the woman said she had seen the snake before eating local pet kittens.
The snakes, which are native to South Africa, are some of the most venomous in the world.
They pack toxic venom in such a high volume that they can kill an adult elephant with a single bite.
While they usually avoid humans, the professional catcher said he knew the snake in question would return to the “smell of kittens”.
He was eventually proven right but found on his first in-person visit to the site that the reptile had retreated into a “massive wood pile with a few bushes around it”.
Mr Evans said that, after a struggle to scope it out, he saw the “massive” mamba.
He wrote that the snake’s body was “so thick it barely fitted” in the pile, adding it was “impossible” to get a pair of snake-catching tongs around it.
After several attempts to shift the snake from its hiding spot, Mr Evans said it “knew it was in big trouble”.
As it tried to escape, he safely captured the reptile, finding a “beat” 2.7 metres long (8.85 feet) and weighing nearly 3kg.
He explained that the mamba likely subsisted on a diet of kittens.
He said: “Kittens are an easy, filling meal for a snake this size.
“Durban has a high number of feral kittens (I think these ones were actually pets, but usually it’s ferals), and this, along with rats & dassies [also known as Hyraxes], keeps Black Mambas well-fed, particularly in bushy areas such as this one.”
Mr Evans added that professionals “don’t usually see” cases like this “in the middle of suburbia”.
He added: “I have also never heard of a mamba eat an adult cat, or kill one in self-defence (as is the case with dogs). Cats seem to know to stay clear of these snakes.”
The snake catcher added that black mambas don’t usually attack humans, and the particular specimen was keen to get away from him but explained that people would provoke them if they try to get rid of them on their own.
He urged people to call the professionals if they need as he releases any captured snakes safely back into the wild and away from communities.
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