Snake Catcher Almost Lands on 8ft Black Mamba

A snake catcher almost landed on an 8-foot black mamba while trying to remove it from a roof in South Africa.

Nick Evans—who owns a snake removal and rescue service in Greater Durban—said on a Facebook post that he arrived at the property in Queensburgh, to see the female snake emerging from a tree.

"I raced over, but she had disappeared in the thick canopy," Evans said. "We scanned the trees for a few minutes, but there was no movement, although the homeowner and I were sure she was coming down. Sure enough, we saw her slither onto the roof of the adjacent building, which was much higher up than the one she had been residing in."

Black mambas are the longest venomous snakes in Africa. They can grow up to 14 feet long in some cases, and their bite has a fatality rate of 100 percent if left untreated.

Black mamba
A stock photo shows a black mamba in a tree. A female black mamba was found in the same spot where two males had previously been spotted. MarieHolding

Evans stood on the embankment next to the house, where the tree was growing, knowing it was too high for him to reach.

"There was no way of me getting her up there. But, she was determined to get to 'her roof,'" Evans said.

The female snake spotted Evans approaching and started slithering away into the roof.

"I tried climbing down, but it was slippery, and I came down quickly. The mamba climbed down a security gate and went onto the floor—I don't think that was her plan. I nearly landed up on top of her, as I came sliding down!" Evans said.

"Fortunately, we missed each other. She tried make a break for it, for cover, but I got it before it could get away. Finally!"

After catching the female snake, Evans measured her to be just over 8 feet long.

Evans had frequented this particular property recently and had arrived at the house specifically searching for this female snake. This was because, last week, the snake catcher came across two male snakes in the same area, who had been wrestling over mating rights of the female.

Evans managed to remove one of the male snakes from the area, and had since been searching for the fought-over female.

"After initially capturing the male, I went there, the following two mornings, hoping the female would come out," Evans said on Facebook. "[...]The homeowner helped me collect data off her. She was the same length as the male[...], but was about 600g lighter. Quite interesting. She wasn't desperately underweight though, not enough to require treatment, so she has been released, where I released the male."

According to Evans, it is common for male black mambas to fight for mating opportunities during the South African winter, which is their breeding season. Male mambas can smell a female mamba from miles away, meaning multiple snakes will often frequent a particular area where a female has been lurking.