Well, we found Lucas, but I sort of wish we hadn’t.
Bad news today everyone, it would appear that despite being a fairly large black mamba, Lucas has become food. We found his remains bearing a broken neck, so we at least know that death would have come fairly quickly to poor Lucas.
It would appear from the marks on the ground that he was pulled from his termite mound. We do not however know to which predator he fell prey. The puncture wound which also resulted in a broken neck could have been caused by either a white-tailed mongoose or snake eagle, both are also the only predators likely to have preyed upon such a large mamba.
Lucas is the snake which we all had the most confidence in for survival due to his countless scars and quick nature, not to mention his ability to successfully evade us despite the tracking equipment. As you can imagine we were all saddened by this news. RIP Lucas.
Today is the day!
The sun is shining, the wind is still and our snakes have been charging themselves in the sunlight as though they had solar panels.
In addition to our release crew today we had three guests who wanted to come along and experience the buzz. That’s the joy about Umkhumbi Lodge, you never know quite what is going to happen and who you are going to meet!
As we very gingerly looked in the tubs in the morning we were delighted to discover all the snakes looking and acting like they should be. The Mambas acted like Mambas and the Forest Cobras acted like Forest Cobras.
Fastest release goes to Lucas, who was out of the tub and into a tree in the blink of an eye. It was even quicker than me eating chocolate!
So quick in fact that we had to track him to make sure he didn’t sneak back up on us!
Chelsea our big girly, acted like a lady of leisure as she sunbathed, she was in no rush to go anywhere – probably because at her size she knew that we were far more intimidated by her than she was of us!
Here at Umkhumbi Lodge we often get calls from our neighbours to rescue them from snakes, sometimes they are highly venomous and other times are a simple case of mistaken identity.
In this particular instance our neighbour was right to call us as the little slitherer was a baby puff adder. Even when very young they are still highly venomous and feisty. Puff Adders are well known for using camouflage as defence. In order to remain undetected they do not try and run away like most snakes, they will lay quite still until trodden on – then they bite, hard!
It’s ok you might think – they have very obvious markings, you could spot them easily…
…check out the photo above. Can you spot the puff adder? The bush isn’t very thick, it should be easy, right?