Don’t Panic!

Great news from Gauteng: Pretoria Zoo’s 2 metre (7ft) black mamba has escaped. And no-one knows where it is.

Craig Allenby, the zoo’s marketing manager, said staff realised last week that the snake’s terrarium was empty.

“The area was immediately cordoned off, and stayed cordoned off for two days while we hunted, but in vain. We suspect the snake could have slithered into the roof, but we can’t get in there because of the angle and the narrow gap.”

There was no need for hysteria, he said, as the black mamba was in all likelihood preparing for hibernation, and was in a constricted area, with little chance of it reaching any member of the public.

No need for hysteria indeed, because herpetologist (or “snake expert” as IOL decribe him) Professor Graham Alexander tells us that black mambas are dangerous although not aggressive. Unless, of course, they feel threatened, in which case:

“…there’s a good chance that it will attack. Their poison* is neurotoxic, and a bite can lead to a heart attack within 30 minutes.”

So dangerous and aggressive then. And venomous.

No need for hysteria though, ok?

Ah, these experts and their contradictions: overall, it’s going exceptionally well.

As ever, it’s all Happy Days in Pretoria.

* Did he really say "poison" and not "venom"? Really? 

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