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Mamba might have been stolen: zoo

By Sapa | Mar 22, 2013 | COMMENTS [ 20 ]

A Friday night-tour and a sleepover at the zoo, which are being offered at a discount rate for March, would still go ahead.

A black mamba which has gone missing from the Pretoria Zoo might have been stolen, the zoo said.

"The option of the snake having been stolen is now highly probable," said the zoo's marketing manager Craig Allenby.

He said there was a market for illegal trade in indigenous reptiles such as black mambas.

The zoo would conduct internal investigations into the possible theft of the snake, and if this was found to be the case, how it could have happened and whether staff were involved.

Allenby said the search for the snake -- now "affectionately named" Houdini -- would continue.

"We would like to assure the public [of] our utmost commitment to resolving this issue as quickly as possible," he said.

He said security measures were in place.

A Friday night-tour and a sleepover at the zoo -- which are being offered at a discount rate for March -- would still go ahead.

"There is no additional threat to the public," said Allenby

He said the sleepover would take place a distance away from the snake terrarium, and that trained staff would be on duty at all times.

An Easter egg hunt -- billed as the largest in South Africa with 20,000 chocolate eggs to be found -- would also continue as scheduled on March 30 and 31.

Staff noticed the black mamba was missing from the terrarium at the zoo's reptile park on March 11.

Black mambas dwell mainly in trees, so extensive searches since then have been concentrated on the roof of the reptile park

Most recently, prey such as rats, mice and chicks have been placed in the service access area in the hope of drawing out the snake.

"This has proved to be unsuccessful to date. However, the snake may have found other prey or be in a more dormant state and not be feeding at the moment," said Allenby. He added it was a little too early for the snake to go into hibernation.

During hibernation, black mambas slow down their activities, rather than completely stopping, he said.

A company was called in to try and find the snake using thermal imaging cameras this week, but Houdini eluded them.

In the Chinese calendar, 2013 is the year of the snake. The reptiles have made news headlines throughout South Africa in recent weeks.

A Kempton Park bookkeeper was bitten in the face by a Mozambican spitting cobra while sleeping at a lodge in the North West earlier this month. Werner Bronkhorst said the snake also attacked a water bottle and an empty cigarette box.

At the beginning of the month, one of South Africa's leading snake experts, Johan Marais, had to be hospitalised after being bitten by a puff adder.

"It was painful but not as bad as listening to Justin Bieber," Marais said at the time.

This month, the West Rand emergency service said it had removed more than 78 snakes from residential stands over the summer.

COMMENTS [ 20 ]

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A Friday night-tour and a sleepover at the zoo -- which are being offered at a discount rate for March -- would still go ahead.
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Hahahahahahaha iyoo madness takes its toll like WTF? Craig you really are crazy just crazzzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyyyyyy no words really can explain your incompetence

Mar 22, 2013 1:20 | 0 replies

Skwamasamabele

Hey!

No....sorry....my fear is too deep rooted, to be plucked out with stroking it and feeling its cold, scaly skin beneath my warm touch. If pictures and seeing them on tv freaks me out - a live snake is going to throw me into a hyperventilating fit!

Believe me skwami, this fear dates back years and years...perhaps even into my past lives!

Mar 22, 2013 2:41 | 0 replies

Only if people can come to my neighbourhood and steal all snakes...

Mar 22, 2013 2:47 | 0 replies

I.n.c.o.g.n.i.t.o
Skwamasamabele

Hey!

No....sorry....my fear is too deep rooted, to be plucked out with stroking it and feeling its cold, scaly skin beneath my warm touch. If pictures and seeing them on tv freaks me out - a live snake is going to throw me into a hyperventilating fit!

Believe me skwami, this fear dates back years and years...perhaps even into my past lives!
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Years back in the 80s, we used to see these wh!te guys who used to go into cages with all the snakes for 30 days at a time. They never got bitten and showed that if you dont provoke, step or annoy them, they are harmless, their poison if for food only. Pluck up benough courage and ask one snake handler to help you in your phobia, you'd live a fuller life. South Africans fear anything that moves, a mouse, rat, snake, spider and there is no need for it. We live with these animals and they live with us. I dont fear animals anymore, but I wont f**k with them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mar 22, 2013 3:10 | 0 replies

Skwamasamabele

Ok swami! I feel so scolded!!! I will try...to touch a snake. Alright!

Mar 22, 2013 3:28 | 0 replies

@I.n.c.o.g.n.i.t.o

eeeeh! don't listen to skwamasamabele. noga e tla go loma wa nnyela.

Mar 22, 2013 3:43 | 0 replies

as I said! the snake was stollen! someone finally admits! Black mamba cannot just dissapear @zoo!

Mar 22, 2013 4:30 | 0 replies

paggos
@I.n.c.o.g.n.i.t.o

eeeeh! don't listen to skwamasamabele. noga e tla go loma wa nnyela.
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What are you proposing?? Incognito has a two year old child, and need to teach her/him that all animals are okay if you dont interfere with them.
Nguwe onyayo, gwala ndini!! How can you protect your wife and children in your house if YOU are the one scared of snakes???? Bloody coward!!!! (LOVL)

Mar 22, 2013 4:38 | 0 replies

wow they should also scan the stomachs of the neihbouring animals there like King Kong....he might have ate it by mistake after seeing it moving freely there on his cage...................but still not safe

Mar 23, 2013 6:11 | 0 replies

They must put a sign at the Zoo that reads "Enter at own risk"

Mar 22, 2013 2:36 | 0 replies

I.n.c.o.g.n.i.t.o
This year, we'll be missing the Easter Egg Hunt....I wouldn't feel comfortable, watching over my shoulder and under my feet for Houdini!
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LOVL. Sisi, fear or phobia is a state of mind. I got bitten by a snake when I was young and was fearful of them for donkeys' years. I overcame my fear of animals when I came face to face with the Komodo dragon in a Borneo archipelago (one of the uninhabited islands in Asia) and had no-where to run. I then realised that animals are more scared of you than you are of them. Just ask one of the snake handlers to let you touch it, oyu'd be amazed how smooth their skins are and they are harmless if handled properly.

Mar 22, 2013 2:28 | 0 replies