Johannesburg – A 2.8m black mamba that went for an evening beach slither at the north of Scottburgh's main beach was safely captured, the Crocworld Conservation Centre said on Friday.
The snake, which was sighted in front of the Cutty Sark Hotel, was captured around 18:00 on Thursday, general manager Martin Rodrigues said in a statement.
He said he was alerted by Owen and Nadi Kuyper who were going for an evening swim. A teenage boy who was jogging on the shore of the beach nearly stumbled over the venomous reptile, Rodrigues said.
The snake was safely captured and released back into its natural environment on Friday.
"Although the black mamba is Africa's most feared snake, it is a vital apex predator, at the top of the food chain. The South Coast is renowned for its rich natural biodiversity. The presence of the mamba bears testimony to its wild heritage."
He said it was possible that the snake was cooling down due to hot weather or "having a drink of salty water".
"When I tried to catch the snake, I noticed a lot of water coming out of its mouth so it may have swallowed quite a bit of sea water."
Once the snake was safely captured, it was taken back to Crocworld Conservation Centre. The snake was measured, examined and released back into a safe habitat, Rodrigues said.
"Snakes are in our vicinity most of the time but human encounters with snakes are few and far between. It is important not to panic if you encounter a snake. Be vigilant and observant of your surroundings."
Rodrigues said people often get bitten when they try to catch or kill snakes.
He advised people to keep a safe distance of approximately 5m and contact a local snake park or a professional snake catcher for assistance should they come across a snake.
"If you see a snake, try to get away," is the advice from snake expert Arno Naude. Here is a brief description of lethal and dangerous snakes that you should know about.