'Cheeky' Baby Mamba Found by Washing Machine in South Africa Home

A baby mamba described as "cheeky" has been found lurking near a washing machine in a home in South Africa.

Snake catcher Nick Evans—who owns a snake removal business in the Greater Durban area—said on Facebook that the "cute, but typically cheeky" juvenile black mamba was found at a home in Dawncliffe, Westville.

Evans arrived to remove the snake and found it lurking under a shelter near the washing machine.

"A great hideout," the snake catcher said.

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Black mambas are the longest venomous snakes in Africa, with a bite that can kill a person in less than 30 minutes. The species is usually reclusive, however, and will not attack unless directly provoked. However, as humans expand into areas where the snakes live, and create conditions suitable for black mamba prey, conflicts can occur.

In a video of the catch, the baby mamba can be seen on the floor with its head raised as Evans tries to ease it onto a hook. When snakes raise their head like this, it may mean they feel threatened and are on guard.

The juvenile snake appears to lunge forward slightly as Evans manages to pick it up. It then slips back onto the ground, before Evans quickly scoops it up again and puts it into a container.

"The owner was lucky his dogs weren't the ones who found it! That was a relief. Even at this age, they are highly venomous, with the same potency as adults," Evans said. "I don't see many this size. They hatch around February/March. So since that time this year, I've had five calls for ones this size so far, and two were killed by cats. I don't see many more in a year that are this size. I think five might be my most in a year."

As the venomous snakes grow quickly, Evans said he was surprised to find the one in this latest encounter measured less than 23 inches.

Fully grown black mambas can reach huge lengths. Evans previously told Newsweek that the biggest he has seen was 11 feet long, however they can measure up to 14 feet.

"At this size, they're always more grumpy than adults! In saying that, they're just more terrified," Evans said. "It has been released away from people. Hopefully it grows to adulthood! At this size, it will need to worry about birds, mongoose and monitor lizards."

In comments to the Facebook post, Evans said that this snake had just been trying to hide.

"It sees this small, outside, sheltered area as a great, warm hideout. The plan is not to be seen by people," he wrote.

Snakes are typically less active in South Africa in the winter months.

The country's snake season usually lasts from October to April, during the warmer months in the Southern Hemisphere, and during mating season.

Juvenile black mambas such as the one in the video are independent almost immediately after birth. It is likely that it was attracted to the house while looking for shelter, or an easy meal in the form of small rodents, typically found around suburban neighborhoods.

Black mamba
A stock photo shows a black mamba. Snake catcher Nick Evans found one of the deadly snakes near a washing machine in a South African home. MarieHolding/Getty