In the last two days I captured and released two more snakes on the reserve. First a Mozambique Spitting Cobra was spotted around Thanda house. I capture the young snake and released it near one of Thanda’s waterholes, far away from Thanda house. The goggles I wear in the picture are just a precaution, in case the Cobra should choose to spit in its defense. This youngster only spat at my snake stick during the capture. The collage shows the release of the snake.
This image shows my snake handling gear and my snake barrel. In this picture the Cobra was inside the barrel, ready for the drive to its new home.
The second release and capture was of a young Puff Adder. It had hidden under a staff vehicle in the parking lot of Thanda’s base camp. For its own safety and the safety of the many people walking around that area we decided to catch the snake and release her in a safe distance away from the camp. This first collage shows the capture operation…
… the second collages shows the release of this shy reptile.
The images were taken by Magdel Geldenhuys, Letishia Kleinschmidt (thanks!) and my GoPro.
Watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yqY1be88CQ
This morning I had to “rescue” a Mozambique Spitting Cobra. This snake had lost her way into one of Thanda store rooms. Someone spotted it disappearing behind a cabinet in the room.
Lodge management called me to capture the snake and to remove it to a new home. First I had to empty out the cabinet (hundreds of cans and bottles :-)) to be able to move it and to get to the snake hidden behind.
Once the cabinet was out of the way the Cobra did, what Cobras do. It opened it’s hood and made hizzing sounds to scare me away. I used a “snake grabbing stick” to capture it (20 cm behind the head) and carried it out of the room holding it also by its tail.
Once safely lodged in a special snake barrel I drove the snake to one of Thanda’s waterholes. Thanks to Jarred Glasson, Thanda’s Head Guide, I have some images of me releasing the snake at its new home!
More about Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica)…
It is native to Africa. The average length of adults is between 90cm – 105cm (3-3½ feet). This species prefers localities near water, to which it will readily take when disturbed. It is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa. It can spit its venom. Its bite causes severe local tissue destruction. Venom to the eyes can also cause impaired vision or blindness. This cobra’s diet mainly consists of amphibians, other snakes, birds, eggs, small mammals, and even insects occasionally. This snake is nervous and highly strung. When confronted at close quarters it can rear up to as much as two-thirds of its length, spread its long narrow hood and will readily “spit” in defense, usually from a reared-up position. By doing this the venom can be ejected at a distance of 2-3 metres (6½-10 feet), with remarkable accuracy. The spitting cobra does bite depending on its environment and the situation it is in, and also feigns death to avoid further molestation.
Well, a lot of you got it right! (see previous blog)
I use these goggles when catching or releasing spitting snakes (or if I do know which snake I might encounter). In this case I caught a Mozambique Spitting Cobra (in Zulu:Mfezi) which had strayed into a room at Thanda house late at night. Today I released it onto another part of the reserve.
This collage of images shows the release of the snake. Thanks to Warren Beets for taking the pictures (I could not take any myself – I was busy :-))
PS: I will add a GoPro camera to my equipment set so I can record these sort of procedures on video – from my view-point.