Black Mamba Repeatedly Stabbed by Construction Crew Found Hiding in Trash

A black mamba that had been repeatedly stabbed with a steel pole by construction workers was found in hiding in a trash pile in South Africa.

Nick Evans, a reptile educator who owns a snake removal service in Greater Durban, arrived to the Westville North area after construction workers spotted a "thick black snake," he said in a Facebook post.

Black mambas are native to sub-Saharan Africa and generally feed on mice, squirrels, rats, and birds. In Durban, a city of around 3.7 million people, conflict with humans does occur, with the reptiles drawn to areas where their prey is found.

The workers had described the snake as having a "black mouth," a characteristic typical of a black mamba—however, the highly venomous snakes usually only open their mouths when they feel threatened.

"I get that quite often, people describing a black mouth. Very rarely is it a black mamba ... So I didn't think much of it," Evans said.

When he arrived, he quickly spotted the snake hiding under some plastic bags and realized it was a black mamba after all. "I quickly got tongs on it, but soon realized something was wrong," he wrote. "As I went about restraining it, I could see the mamba had been wounded.

"The workers had been stabbing it with a steel pole."

The snake was found in a pile of trash

The mamba's skin was found ripped open, showing its muscles. It also had a "big dent" in the side of its body, multiple broken ribs, and puncture wounds.

Evans said it then became clear why the workers had spotted the black mamba's mouth.

"If you attack a mamba, it will open up its mouth at you, to intimidate you. It will definitely try and strike. Killing them is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS," he said.

Black mambas are considered one of the deadliest snakes in the world. They have a potent venom that could kill a person within 30 minutes if left untreated. However, they are a shy and reclusive species and will only usually attack when they feel vulnerable, or threatened.

The snake catcher said he "was devastated" to find the snake so injured. Evans said other locals to the area were also upset. "They appreciate snakes, and most certainly do not want to see them harmed," Evans said on Facebook.

The snake catcher was not able to fully treat the black mamba "for safety reasons," but managed to clean its wounds. It was taken to Ushaka Sea World where veterinary teams will treat it for its injuries.

The black mamba had a dent in its side after being stabbed with a steel pole

"It was very strong and lively, so hopefully it pulls through," Evan said.

The mamba had also recently feasted on a rat, which was a positive sign for its recovery.

"I had explained to those workers the dangers of killing snakes, and to rather call, in future. They said they will, so hopefully a lesson learnt," Evans said. "I suppose they didn't know any better and were probably terrified."

Evans is an advocate for snake conservation. As black mambas are so venomous, some residents will try to kill them out of fear. Evans previously told Newsweek that black mambas are incredibly important to the ecosystem, and also good for rodent control in the area, as mice and rats are their preferred food.

Black mamba mouth open
A stock photo shows a black mamba with its mouth open. They usually only open their mouths when they feel threatened. poco_bw/Getty Images