One of the many benefits of growing up on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is the incredible natural environment the children get to enjoy, an important part of which is the naturally-occurring inhabitants of the region. One such inhabitant – a green mamba – was spotted among the trees of Umdoni Christian Academy on Thursday afternoon (17 October), a school located within the lush coastal forest.
The snake, identified by a teacher, was located near the entrance gate some distance from the school. Crocworld Conservation Manager, Martin Rodrigues, was called out to retrieve and relocate this important apex predator which forms an integral part of the natural eco-system.
“We were contacted to assist with the removal of the 1.5m green mamba from UCA and it was a relatively straight-forward capture,” explained Rodrigues. “The snake had isolated itself in a three-metre tree which was not linked to other vegetation. Green mambas are arboreal snakes and very seldom encountered on the ground.”
He said the school is very forward-thinking in its approach to nature conservation, always relocating animals and adhering to its eco-initiatives: “The snake was safely released in a nearby area with the perfect habitat for green mambas.”
Jenny Page, principal of Umdoni Christian Academy, said they have strict policies in place regarding the forest’s natural inhabitants, and all children are taught what to do if they encounter a snake: “Being an eco-school, our children understand that they co-habit the area with some amazing animals, and that we respect each other. The school follows a capture-and-release policy, so any time a snake is identified, the children know exactly what procedures to follow. Safety always comes first.”
In July this year, Mrs Page and a school management board member attended a course run by Johan Marais of the African Snake Bite Institute. A leading herpetologist, Marais tackles the various myths surrounding snakes and other creatures, as well as the correct way to capture and release.
“The staff at Crocworld have been wonderful, and we always used to call them for any snake capture which they happily assisted with,” said Mrs Page. “It was quite a task for them to come out every time, which is why we decided to go on the course, and now most of the capture-and-releases are done by us using our snake handling equipment. For something like a green mamba, however, we do call on Crocworld. When it comes to dangerous snake removals, you must never be a hero. Rather call in the professionals.”
For snake removals in the South Coast region, contact Martin Rodrigues on 078 484 1859 or Crocworld Conservation Centre on 039 976 1103