Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Bastien Comment » Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:09 pm

I'm at work right now and for an unknown reason, there are some pics which I can't visualize from my computer (we work on not very up to date computers to be honest... :lol: ) and it's the case for yours in this post so I'm already looking forward to having a look at it later when I'm back home. I still already want to take the opportunity to ask you something I've been told by someone I trust a lot and who knows snakes very well, Michel Ansermet director of the Vivarium of Lausanne:

He told me that it happened to him once that he spotted a big black mamba in the wild. He was with a friend and his friend wanted to go back to their car to take another lens for his camera. His friend made a fast move (or at least faster than he should have done) and the black mamba went to him, almost as if it was defending its territory. Fortunately, nothing happened neither to Michel Ansermet nor to his friend but Michel told me he had to stay still like a tree and asked his friend to move forward with the car in order to have the mamba following it. What do you think about that? Have you ever heard stories of black mambas having a more aggressive behavior than they normally have? Obviously, Michel told me he had seen that only once but he also told me another story about a black mamba which had been run over by a car and threw itself on top of the car in a defensive way (I guess it had thought an elephant had walked on it or something like that).

Last but not least, your country has "emigrated" in mine. Have a look at this: http://www.20min.ch/ro/news/suisse/story/20928245 It's in French but it says that a road worker in the state of Basel in Switzerland has encountered a spitter :o He was working and during his works, received venom in its eyes. I've read in another paper that they are still looking for the snake and according to the description the worker made of the snake, it could be a Mozambique spitting cobra :shock:
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Nick Evans » Sat Jun 06, 2015 7:40 pm

Hi Bastien

Very interesting story. Perhaps, the snake saw the movement and had a feeding response? I'm not sure, tough to explain. :?:

I have seen mambas a few times in the wild. I had one right above my head once. It was on a branch overhanging a path that I was walking on. I just heard it move as I was walking under, which gave it's presence away. It was not at all aggressive, even at close proximity. Whenever I see them they're just cruising around and not paying attention to me.

I have had one hair-raising and unusual experience with a snake once before. I was in Northern KZN and was releasing a Forest Cobra (Naja melanoleuca) that a friend has caught in a nearby farmhouse. I was irritating it for a little while, about twenty minutes, trying to get nice photos and GOPRO footage. Eventually, it decided to let me know it had had enough! It rose up quickly, and chased me! Yes, it honestly chased me. Not over-exaggerating, I have it on camera doing so! I have never posted it anywhere because people love to criticise. It didn't chase me for long, a couple of meters until I ran around a tree, after which it turned away and shot off. Interesting experience~!

I have no explanation of the news article :shock: :!: :?:

Cheers
Nick
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:55 pm

Nick Evans wrote:Like I said, I appreciate any concern and reasonable feedback :mrgreen:

My concern has been quite sincere, my fascination as well, and I really wanted to know what a "rescue plan" might be for
a person "in your shoes", under the given circumstances - of which I knew nothing. So I sincerely hope that by "reasonable
feedback" (plus " :mrgreen: "...?!) you didn't imply that mine had not been...
In any case, all the best with the beast...
Bero
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Nick Evans » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:19 pm

Hi Berislav

It was a genuine reply ;)
I had just recieved some ridiculous and unreasonable criticism on a different forum, which is why I said "reasonable".

I honestly really do appreciate your concern and comments! :) :D

Thanks again!
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:29 pm

Nick Evans wrote:I honestly really do appreciate your concern and comments! :) :D Thanks again!

OK, then I've got a further "technical" question - which I presume you must have considered yourself: If one gets a
"full-scale" bite by an "average" black mamba, how much time does an average adult person have till... one faints
(or not?), one reaches a hospital, one dies, ...?
What are the local experiences regarding that, if any? I mean, not yours personally, but I guess you might know
the relevant "statistics" - being amidst of that, "firsthand", and being interested in your own survival... After all,
your'e actually in the field, on a daily basis, so I suppose you might know much more about that than the authors
of books and scientific papers, without the first-hand experience, who just quote someone else's references...
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Nick Evans » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:11 am

Hey Berislav, sorry for late reply!

Regarding mamba bites, it all depends on how much venom is injected and how one reacts. I assume if one is allergic to bees, the reactions would be worse.

Sometimes they don't inject much venom. A dog was recently bitten, and after about 3 days it was fine without any antivenom (dog owners are not always keen to pay for antivenom as it if far too expensive). However, mambas do kill a lot of dog in KZN. I have had two people tell me that 4 or 5 of their large dogs have cornered a Black Mamba and killed it, but afterwards all the dogs dropped dead. Quite scary, but the mamba has to defend itself. I also have a friend who has had at least one, possibly 2, dry bites from Black Mambas that he was trying to catch. Lucky guy!

I'd think you would have 1-3 hours to get to hospital, which is easily doable here. Most people survive snakebites, including mambas, in urban and suburban areas. It's in the rural areas where the problem lies! People in those areas often don't have any transport to hospital, and even so, they're very far away from medical help. There are some clinics and small hospitals in those areas, but I don't think they're too good.

I personally would not like to test it!!!! Touch wood!
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:21 pm

Very interesting and beautiful...! Someone has to remove anyway those snakes from houses or cars... :)
I have a good book about Taipan envenomations in Australia and I've read of very bad envenomations cases: but I'm not able to compare Taipan venom/danger with Black Mambas venom/danger. The only think I know about snakes in general is that they are unpredictable, and, in the same poisonous species, you can find tame individuals, as well as very bad guys.
Anyway... you have an interesting life and activity, but what is your "normal" job?? :lol:
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Nick Evans » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:42 am

Right you are Ruggero!

It is my normal job :) I do snake removals, snake awareness and identification talks/training at schools, quarry staff etc, frog talks and frogging evenings and a few other herp related things :mrgreen:
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:03 am

Thanks, Nick! Big envy for you, lucky man! :P
I don't know when, but in the future, I would like so much to visit you, if you will have this possibility... and if there is a city nearby, my girlfriend will go shopping there, while we are removing snakes from houses and yards... ;)

Thanks for sharing your job with us!
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Re: Some snakes from KwaZulu-Natal, SOUTH AFRICA

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:16 pm

Nick Evans wrote:Regarding mamba bites, it all depends on how much venom is injected and how one reacts.
I assume if one is allergic to bees, the reactions would be worse.

You must be kidding... Yes, of course, a person terribly allergic to the bee venom might just die in the
middle of Europe as well, with all the good hospitals available - it does happen, sometimes, but, well,
let's say a mamba is still a mamba, not a bee, and one needn't be especially/individually allergic to its
particular venom... It does "work" on everyone, I would say... quite unlike the bee venom. Right?

I'd think you would have 1-3 hours to get to hospital, which is easily doable here.

That's why I asked you, a guy "in the field". The books routinely say (or, rather, suggest) otherwise...
much less lightly - creating the impression that one can survive only if having been bitten at the very
entrance to the hospital, or within a mile or two from it... Well, is that "realistic", in your opinion?
(But, please, just don't try to downplay the danger - I'd just like to know the truth, no "consolation"
needed...)

I personally would not like to test it!!!! Touch wood!

I did. Not only touched, but knocked on it quite heavily. Solid wood, believe me. For your sake. Keep on.
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