When opening your front door, the last thing you expect to find is a 7-foot snake at eye level, but that’s exactly what happened to a homeowner in Durban, South Africa. To make matters worse, it was a black mamba, a lethally venomous species.
Immediately after encountering the snake, the resident contacted local reptile wrangler Nick Evans, who arrived at the home shortly thereafter. Opening the front door from the inside, Evans found the black mamba leisurely hanging upside down in the door frame.
“The mamba had managed to climb up onto this second-story veranda, presumably using a gutter pipe, and appeared to be looking for a comfy hiding place,” he wrote in the description of the YouTube video documenting the incident.
“As you can see, it was quite a calm specimen, and I think very confused too, by all the people around it.”
As the snake catcher explained, black mambas are a common species in the area. They’re active year-round but even more visible this time of year as they enter mating season.
After pulling the black mamba out of the door frame with snake tongs, Evans relocated it to a natural space away from the residential area. Like any good snake catcher, he always removes and relocates rather than kills the reptiles he finds.
“There you go, quick and easy,” he says after successfully wrangling the snake.
How dangerous is a black mamba?
Snakes, as a whole, have a fearsome reputation, but black mambas carry perhaps the most frightening of all.
Known as one of the world’s most dangerous snakes, the mamba is the second-longest venomous snake at 7 feet long on average and 14 feet at the largest. It’s also the fastest land snake on Earth, traveling at speeds of up to 12 mph.
They’re known to be a highly aggressive, deadly species with a fatality rate of 100 percent in bites left untreated.
Now, most of those notorious characteristics are facts. Black mambas are large and fast with potent venom. But aggressive? That part is arguable.
When threatened, some snakes will stand their ground and fight, others will flee. Typically, black mambas fall into the latter category. Though bites do happen, it’s usually because the reptile feels it’s in immediate danger.
Like any snake or other species of wildlife, a black mamba won’t go out of its way to inflict harm on a human. They will only act in self-defense when frightened – which is why it’s so important to call a professional when dealing with snakes rather than attempting to handle it yourself.
“While sometimes accidents happen, most of the bites I’ve documented in Durban, which is very few, are on someone trying to capture or kill the snake,” Evans explained to Newsweek.
“These snakes are believed to be very aggressive killing machines—that is not the case. They’re very misunderstood animals.”