A Ranger’s tale of the African Rock Python!

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It’s been a special time for us Rangers at Nambiti Hills, witnessing the capture and release of a beautiful but endangered species – the African Rock Python.

We were in Ladysmith when we received a call from Bryce, telling us that the team from “Ladysmith Snake Removal” had just caught a female African Rock Python in Ezakeni. They wished to bring it to Nambiti to release it. We were excited to meet this interesting team of people who’ve spent their lifetime catching and relocating snakes in Ladysmith.

Kingsley and I were to be the “deliverers” of that special package and were very proud to be part of this important mission. When we arrived, they introduced us to the gorgeous female snake who was about 3.8m long, 9.8 Kl and approximately 5-6 years of age, judging by her size. She was then placed carefully into a bag before we headed back to the reserve.

The 45 minute journey to the lodge was very noisy. From the bottom of the bag we could hear her hissing louder than the radio, almost telling us “Listen both of you, I’m being shaken left and right here. Go slower on the bumps!” Of course, we were aware of the road’s terrain and were careful to ensure that she was transported quickly and safely.

We brought her to the lodge and kept her in the bag near a shady and quiet area so that she could feel relaxed. Twenty minutes later, after she settled, Kingsley put his hand into the bag – we could hear her hiss louder. He gently but firmly caught her behind her head so that she wouldn’t be able to bite us. I quickly caught the rest of her body which was very heavy, thick and long. Surprisingly, she stopped hissing – she probably sensed that we were only trying to help her.

We quickly held her up for a photo – proof that we were completely crazy handling an almost 4m snake. She wrapped 1/3 of her body around my arm to balance herself and only a person that has touched such a snake would understand how easy it would be for her to strangle and kill her prey.

We gently placed her onto the ground and she headed straight toward the water where we left her to the peace and quite of the dam. Hopefully, she will readjust to her new surroundings and find a mate close by.

We are very proud of this unforgettable day, working with other teams within the community to ensure that our wildlife is always safe and protected.

A Tale by Ranger Iris
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