Even Snakes Get the Blues [Full video at the end of the post]

WARNING: This video contains footage that should never be tried anywhere if you haven’t had the appropriate training. Never try to capture (or kill) a snake yourself as a mistake could have fatal consequences.

This was the second attempt at catching this snake. The puff adder is a potently venomous front-fanged (hinged) snake occurring in most of sub-Saharan Africa.

The puff adder, along with the Cape cobra and boomslang,  is a relatively common venomous snake in Cape Town which regularly comes into contact with people, particularly those that live adjacent to the Table Mountain National Park.

In this specific case, the snake found itself a perfect home at the bottom of a garden. Compost heaps, leaf piles, concrete slabs and large logs made for ideal snake retreats.

It managed to escape me once before. However, on this occasion the gardener William watched the snake with eagle eyes and was able to lead me right to its hideout.

It was a tricky capture, but I manged to ease it out from under the large log and place it in my capture container. It was “in the blues” which is an intermediate stage of ecdydis – the process whereby a snake sheds off an old layer of skin. This period of reduced eyesight is an incredibly vulnerable time for a snake.

The staff at the house were nervous but fascinated. It was great to capture some of this educational dialogue on video before releasing the snake in suitable habitat on the mountain above.

The only time the snake became edgy was during the release. It puffed loudly and got into strike pose. But even so, with a little coaxing it sped off into the undergrowth. Doing what snakes always prefer to do – take flight before fight.

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