Three-metre ‘frozen’ python rescued

Snake catcher, Nick Evans, with the beautiful, three-metre Rock Python that was found in a storm water tunnel in the Shongweni Dam area.
PHOTOS: Nick Evans

SNAKE catcher, Nick Evans, rescued his first python from the Shongweni Dam area on Friday, 11 August.

According to Evans, he was contacted by a man who said his co-worker spotted a large python curled up in a stormwater tunnel in Shongweni.

The co-worker had actually first seen the python on Monday, but didn’t think that it would be in any trouble.

He said he was used to seeing pythons lying motionless in the bush. However, when he noticed that it still had not moved by Friday morning, he grew concerned and reported it.

Evans went out with his friend and fellow snake-catcher, Dylan Leonard, to investigate.

“A group of staff members took us to the tunnel, and we made our way to the other end, where the python was.

The tunnel was a few hundred metres long, dark, and cold inside.

“The water was chilly to say the least. There were a good few bats around too. Definitely the most interesting place I have been to for a call-out,” said Evans.

When they got to the end of the tunnel, they found the beautiful, three-metre Rock Python.

Evans assumed it was a female. He said it was curled up in the water, at the bottom of the ramp which lead out to the culvert. He thought it was dead at first as it lay motionless, until he touched it. But even then, it didn’t really move, it just flicked its tongue out.

A beautiful, three-metre Rock Python was found in a storm water tunnel in the Shongweni Dam area on Friday. PHOTO: Nick Evans.

“She was absolutely frozen, she felt like an ice block. She was underweight too. I presume that she wondered down into the tunnel to maybe look for some food. We did not have heavy rains in a while, that would have washed her big body down. With the combination of her condition, and the freezing water, she didn’t have the energy to crawl back out. Poor python,” said Evans.

Leonard and Evans picked the python up gently. Evans rested the front half of its body on his shoulders, while Leonard carried the other half.

“I had to keep a hold of the head, and she was now trying to bite. For such a big snake, she really didn’t put up a fight, which is not a good sign. She was so weak, and her body just sort of hung down,” said Evans.

Once they left the tunnel, the snake catchers took the decision to get the python veterinary treatment.

Evans called the relevant authorities for permission to take the snake away as it’s a protected species.

“Pythons are becoming increasingly rare, as they are poached for their skin and the muti-trade. Also, this python was in an unnatural situation, so one can’t say, ‘Let nature take its course’. We need to conserve what we have left,” said Evans.

The python was taken to Dangerous Creatures at uShaka Marine World. It now appears the python is getting its strength back and its health is being monitored. Evans said he hopes it will be fit enough to be released soon.


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Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay

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