'Very Hungry' Black Mamba Breaks Into Cage and Eats Seven Pet Birds

A "very hungry" black mamba broke into a cage at a house in South Africa and ate seven pet birds.

Snake catcher Nick Evans, founder of snake rescue service KZN Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, said on Facebook that the venomous snake slithered into a long, narrow cage at an address in Pinetown, Greater Durban, and devoured the exotic birds.

Evans wrote in the Facebook post, which can be found here: "This very hungry Black Mamba found its way into a 'bird room' near Pinetown."

Black mambas are the deadliest snakes in Africa. A bite from the venomous snake has a fatality rate of 100 percent if left untreated. They are a shy and reclusive species but have been known to lash out when threatened.

The snakes feast on smaller mammals such as mice, squirrels, rats, and birds. To hunt, they bite their prey and inject it with potent venom, before releasing it. They wait for their prey to become paralyzed or die before eating it whole, using their flexible jaws that dislocate to fit around prey.

Evans said the black mamba also killed four other birds in another cage but had trouble pulling them through the bars in order to eat them.

Luckily for the snake catcher, the black mamba was still in the cage and unable to go anywhere when he arrived to remove it. He said it was an "easy catch."

"For the mamba, I wouldn't say it was being greedy. They were just small birds, small meals. He needed a lot!" Evans said.

Evans said on Facebook he was "so glad" the owners of the property called him to remove the snake, despite the fact it had eaten all their birds.

"One may expect a scenario like this could cause a lot of anger and may drive people to killing the snake," Evans said. "But the owner was very understanding. He lives on the edge of a nature reserve and knew this would be an issue in living in such a beautiful area."

The mamba was trapped inside the cage when the snake catcher arrived

In Greater Durban, black mambas often slither into residential properties that border valleys and nature reserves, which are their preferred habitat. The snakes can also be attracted to residential areas because that is where they find prey, such as rats, and feral kittens.

Evans is an advocate for snake conservation. On his Facebook page, the snake catcher often pleads with the public to call a professional snake catcher when they see a snake in their home, rather than try to kill it.

"Slowly but surely, we're seeing more and more people have a more understanding approach to snakes. It's taken a lot of hard work, and we shall continue this," the snake catcher said.

Black mamba
A stock photo shows a black mamba. They usually feast on small mammals. poco_bw/Getty Images