It was a close call for a four-metre long female Southern African Rock Python and her 20 babies after local villagers threatened to kill her and eat her offspring, Zululand Observer reports.
Fortunately, the slithery “serpent” had someone fighting on her side in the form of Wild Tomorrow Fund (WTF) Ambassador/Herpetologist Anton Roberts.
According to Anton, he received a call from a foreman who alerted him to the presence of a python on their pump site situated between Ulundi and Nongoma.
“A site foreman, Jannie Fourie, called me saying there was a python and that the work crew were threading to kill the snake and her babies and eat them. So I drove some two hours from Hluhluwe to investigate.
“When I eventually got there a massive crowd had gathered and the guys refused to let me catch the snake.”
This resulted in Anton having to make a few calls, including a call to King Zwelithini’s residence, which was nearby.
“After explaining to the king’s representative that it is an endangered species, and it should be protected and not killed, they agreed. We handed the phone over to the spokesperson for the crowd gathered around us, after which he explained the situation to them.”
“The workers calmed down and Anton was given permission to try and remove the python.
“After another hour struggling to remove her from under a massive concrete slab that was balancing on three rocks, we managed to get her out safely along with the 20 newborn babies.”
The snakes were safely released nearby, where there are fewer homes and less chance of coming into contact with humans.
– Caxton News Service