Catch and release of Mfezi

18th March 2015   •  By Jomi Krobb
© Jomi Krobb

© Jomi Krobb

All the rangers were out in the vehicle bay doing maintenance one day between drives when we heard a shout of surprise from close to the workshop. Our general manager had turned over a piece of canvass and discovered a Mozambique spitting cobra (known locally as a mfezi) underneath. Snakes are generally far more placid than most people believe and will do almost anything in their power to get away from a human. (Apart from certain adders and possibly a rinkhals.)

This cobra had been cornered and was unable to move away. Our manager gently placed a shovel on its neck so it was not able to strike out. We then got some snake tongs and carried the snake into an open area, where it began to spit at anything and everything around it.

Taking great care to avoid the spiting serpent we decided that it would be far more ethical to relocate the snake than to kill it. We put it into an empty wine box and sellotaped it shut. I then drove the snake about a kilometer from the lodge before carefully opening the box and turning it over so the snake could escape. In the open area I released it in the snake showed its true colour, instantly moving away from me in order to seek refuge under a nearby bush. I managed at least to get one decent photo as it moved off.

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Prior to working at Marataba Safari Lodge Jomi attended the professional safari guide course.