WATCH: 2.2m black mamba removed from roof of KZN home
Residents of a home in Ndwedwe, in rural KwaZulu-Natal, found themselves in a scaly situation when a 2.2m black mamba took up occupancy in their roof.
Nick Evans, owner of KwaZulu-Natal Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, was called to the scene to remove the snake and described the rescue as the "most thrilling" of the year so far.
"For a start it was… a very long drive," he told News24. "Then we had to try and find it in the ceiling. And I had to stand on [a] not so stable ladder. Some of the steps were broken."
At one point during the rescue he fell from the ladder, when the mamba's tail suddenly popped from the roof.
"I fell back, I was next to a chest freezer and I landed on that. It gave me a fright," he said.
Evans was called out to the area on April 18, on the eve of the Easter weekend.
"It was quite something," he said. "Everything about it was difficult."
Evans says it took them nearly two hours to locate the snake in the roof of the rondavel, cutting holes in the plastic tarp that covered the roof as they went along.
"You can hear it moving around. It's such a specific intimidating sound," he said.
He says all of the residents of the property had helped out by keeping watch.
When they eventually found the snake, Evans said the man in the room with him wanted to bolt.
Evans said he needed his help to shine a torchlight on the snake.
"The poor guy, he was terrified."
"When I was pulling it out, there was a moment where it just started reversing very quickly. Too quickly."
He said the snake could easily have taken a swipe at his hand or face.
At this point, Evans found himself crouching down on the ladder, trying to find cover behind a wall, until he was able pin the head of the snake down.
"It was tense."
The snake was also in the process of shedding its skin, which Evans said makes them a bit more defensive due to the fact that their vision is affected.
"There is a scale on their eyes and their eyes cloud over. Their vision is badly affected, so they're a bit more grumpy."
Evans suspects the snake was seeking shelter in the roof from a looming storm.
"They love ceilings because it's warm and safe."
He said mambas were "not the evil monsters people make them out to be".
"If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone."
The mamba was set free in a valley, not too far from the rescue site, where "it shouldn't bump into people again".
But that wasn't the end of Evans' saga - after the rescue he was caught in a downpour and his windscreen wipers failed.
"It was an absolute nightmare."
"That was even more terrifying than the snake capture," he quipped.
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