Huge, Well-fed Black Mamba Caught Basking by Human Settlement

A "huge" and "well-fed" black mamba has been caught after setting up home by an informal settlement near Durban, South Africa, where dozens of people were living.

Nick Evans, who rescues snakes in the region and provides educational and awareness programs about reptiles and amphibians, was called to the settlement after a number of people had seen the snake over several weeks.

The river below the settlement had been used as a dumping ground that had likely attracted a huge number of rats, Evans said in a Facebook post. "It [the black mamba] must have been in heaven!" he wrote.

The black mamba is considered to be one of the world's deadliest snakes. It is highly aggressive if threatened and extremely venomous, with a fatality rate of 100 percent if a bite is left untreated. These snakes are, however, very shy and unprovoked attacks on humans are very rare.

In Evans' latest case, the people in the settlement had started to throw rocks at the snake—an action that could make the black mamba angry. "I didn't want the snake being killed, nor did I want people getting bitten," he wrote.

He said that on the day of the call, the black mamba had been out "basking" but when he arrived there it had moved along the river and, because of its location, could only be reached by climbing a waterfall.

"Once I neared the mamba, the community above were screaming that the snake was moving," he said. "I rushed up, and was taken back by the size of it! I could see it from high above, but just the front half or third. Didn't look that big. Now, though, I could see just how big it was!"

Evans grabbed the tail end and searched for the snake's head. But the snake was fast pulling away into the thicket, wrapping itself around branches. "I knew if I let go, I wouldn't catch it, and it may be killed before I get another chance.

"My view of the head was partially blocked by a stick, which is a BIG PROBLEM when you're wanting to grab it with your hand! I felt the tongs were just a centimeter or two too low down, so it could twist and bite me if I grabbed it."

With the help of one of the locals, Evans managed to catch the black mamba and safely remove it from the area. "It was a huge mamba, well-fed ... Climbing down the waterfall was rather scary. Yes, I was worried about dropping the bucket and the mamba popping out. But, I was far more worried about falling in the water!"

The settlement where Evans caught the snake was the same one he had rescued another black mamba in January. In this case, the black mamba coiled itself around Evans' head and neck: "This was an enormous mamba. It started wrapping its large coils around my head," he wrote in a Facebook post at the time.

"It covered my eyes at one point, and I sucked my lips in to avoid getting it in my mouth! I could smell the curry-like smell of its musk and pooh, and I could feel the wetness of this, on my head, as the snake kept wrapping around. Needless to say, my hair/head, STANK afterwards."

black mamba
Stock photo of a black mamba. Snake rescuer Nick Evans caught a mamba that had been living near an informal settlement in South Africa. Getty Images