I love Black Mambas, and I dedicate my life to saving them. I remove them from properties all over the Greater Durban Area. Mamba calls are always an exciting and fun adventure!
Together with a friend, we’re looking at all aspects of urban mambas. I record any sightings of mambas in the Durban area, with addresses and GPS co-ords. I record the same for mambas I catch too.
Before releasing captured mambas, I collect DNA, for a genetic study that we’re working on with mambas in Durban. As well as this, I measure the mamba, weigh and sex it. Once the relevant data has been collected, I have the privilege of watching it slither off into the bush.
Another aspect we’re looking at, is mamba conflict with people and pets. More info on that will be shared below.
Two years ago decided to follow up on a tagging project which was started years ago, by the Association of Reptile Keepers KZN.
I was tagging/microchipping every Black Mamba that I caught, prior release. These tiny little tags, which do not act as tracking devices, can shed some light on mamba movements and growth, if we re-captured a tagged mamba. Unfortunately, we’ve put the breaks on this for now, but I do have a few dozen tagged mambas out in the bush, hopefully all of which are still alive. We’re looking at other potential projects of a similar nature though.
The Black Mamba is not an evil, aggressive killer. It is a shy, nervous and misunderstood animal, with a fear for humans. They are majestic predators, intelligent animals, impressive beasts, and are simply awe-inspiring and awesome!
And lastly, educating people about mambas is crucial. Apart from informing people of what Black Mamba’s are really like, through my talks and writing, I give people a hands on educational experience. When I go to release a mamba, I usually invite a small crowd, mostly children, to join on the release. They get to see this famous animal in the flesh, and they even get to touch it as we collect data. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and it is sure to capture their attention. Most of these kids now love mambas, despite not wanting to touch them, which is perfect.
SNAKES VS DOGS
Something that sadly occurs quite frequently in the Greater Durban Area, is conflict situations between dogs and venomous snakes. Yes, cats do kill a lot of snakes whilst out hunting. However, they seem to know which snakes to avoid. Dogs on the other hand, do not. It seems that when dogs spot a snake on ‘their turf’, their instincts kick in, and they attack. This usually never ends well, for both dog and snake.
I am wanting to build up a statistical database of such incidents in the Greater Durban Area, so that we can compare numbers year on year. There’s a few other details that I’m looking at too.
If your dog, a friends dog, or a dog in your neighbourhood clashes with a venomous snake and you hear about it, please do contact me with details (either by calling/messaging me on 072 809 5806 or emailing me at email@example.com).
The details we are looking for are the following:
- Approximate time:
- Dog type:
- Snake species (preferably proven with a pic if possible)
- What happened to the dog and snake?
- Did the owner manage to intervene?
- Vet taken to/treatment
Your assistance in this study would be greatly appreciated.
This Staffie was on the receiving end of the defensive spray of a Mozambique Spitting Cobra.
SNAKEBITES ON HUMANS IN KZN
Working with doctors, we’re hoping to attain snakebite statistics in the province year on year, to see how many bites occur, which venomous species are mostly responsible, and a few other details of interest. For this, we are in touch with hospitals. However, should you know someone who has been bitten by a snake in recent times, please feel free to let us know about it by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bite from a Stiletto Snake.
SAVE OUR SUBURBAN LIZARDS
S.O.S.L is an initative of KZN Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, and is run voluntarily, by a group of conservation-minded individuals, who have a passion for the smaller, less-popular animals.
The purpose is to gain a better understanding of the current distribution of these species, to create an awareness of the smaller things, and to educate the public, as well as to involve them.
The flagship species of the project, our ‘priority’ species, is the Durban Dwarf Burrowing Skink (Scelotes inornatus), a Critically Endangered Species found only in the Durban South area.
Along with this little skink, we are focusing on it’s cousin, the Mozambique Dwarf Burrowing Skink, as well as KwaZulu Dwarf Chameleons, Flap-necked Chameleons and the bizzarre yet interesting Large-scaled Grass Lizard. These species are not endangered, and occur well outside the area, but are at risk of becoming ‘locally endangered’. They’re disappearing from the Greater Durban Area, slowly but surely, and we don’t want that to happen!
You can help us! Simply email any photos you may have to email@example.com, along with approximate dates & addresses. Alternatively, you can submit your records to the Animal Demographic Unit’s Virtual Museum (http://vmus.adu.org.za/).
You’re also welcome to post photos of these species onto our Facebook Group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/264964963860207/
ENDANGERED FROG SURVEYS
My love for frogs and frogging have led me want to contribute towards their conservation. Apart from leading frogging evenings and presenting frog talks, I conduct surveys for endangered species, and KZN has a few of those!
I survey areas with existing populations of a particular species, or areas where they have not yet been recorded, but those which look like suitable areas.
These surveys have been hugely successful over the past three years of so. Together, with friends, we have discovered many new populations of endangered Kloof Frogs and Pickersgill’s Reed Frogs, as well as one population of Mistbelt Chirping Frogs.
I also urge members of the public to contribute towards citizen science. Last season, I asked people to submit photos they may have taken, of Spotted Shovel-nosed Frogs, in the Greater Durban Area. I received a few which were really interesting, and we learnt more about the distribution of this species.
These records are only shared with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, KZN Wildlife, and the Animal Demographic Unit’s Virtual Museum (http://vmus.adu.org.za/). I urge you to look into this virtual museum, and to contribute towards it.
For more information on some of the above mentioned species, check out the “Frogs of Durban” page!