Spirited Mama

Living a SPIRITED life filled with wanderlust, emotions and everything in between

Category: Snakes

LOCAL SNAKE WRANGLER JOINS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WILD SHOW

LOCAL SNAKE WRANGLER JOINS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WILD SHOW

 Mbali Mtshali joins Snakes in the City to co-host new season

together with Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett

 snakes in the city; national geographic; snakes; spiritedmama

“Snakes are more afraid of us than we could ever be of them” says local snake handler

National Geographic Wild’s Snakes in the City has long been a viewer favourite as herpetologists Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett respond to call outs to catch and release snakes from homes and buildings in and around Durban. When the eighth season premieres across Africa on Wednesday 6 July at 18:00 (CAT), the two will be joined by local snake wrangler Mbali Mtshali.

Born in Limpopo, Mtshali moved to Kwa Zulu-Natal at young age and had her first exposure to working with reptiles while volunteering at a non-profit organisation. She later cut her teeth handling snakes while assisting at a reptile park. She has since learnt to handle venomous snakes. This dynamic lady also conducts tours at the facility, is full of energy and is a dedicated body builder.

 

In Snakes in the City, our streetwise snake-catchers race across “Snake City” (Durban) to face some of the world’s deadliest snakes in the most bizarre situations and release them back into the wild. When Mtshali joins the team, her skills are immediately put to the test when they go up against a lethal black mamba inside a school, a puff adder in a toilet and an enormous python on a goat farm, not to mention a super-fast monitor lizard in a ceiling, a spitting cobra inside a local shop and many more.

snakes in the city; snakes; national geographic; spiritedmama

“For many years, in my culture, these reptiles have been misinterpreted as a sign of witchcraft, a bad omen and an image of the evil serpent. Working on Snakes in the City shows that residents of Durban can catch snakes too – with the right training” said Mtshali. “My biggest message for viewers and my community is that snakes are not these evil monsters that they have been made out to be – snakes are more afraid of us than we could ever be of them,” she adds.

“National Geographic’s mission is to ignite the explorer in all of us, and our on-screen experts have a huge role to play in achieving this mission, as they share the wonders of our natural world for with viewers,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “We are excited to welcome Mbali Mtshali to our screens, bringing her infectious energy and passion that, together with Simon and Siouxsie, will go a long way in helping change negative perceptions of these fascinating creatures for National Geographic Wild audiences across the continent.”

Snakes in the City is produced by Earth Touch for National Geographic.

 

How to tune in:

DSTV: Channel 182

StarSat: 221 on DTH, 210 on DTT (250 on DTT in Uganda)

Season 8 premieres on Wednesday 6 July 2022

My kids are beside themselves as they’re avid Snakes in the City fans!

Spirited Mama

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How my GUESS watch saved me from a snake…

guess-watch

Yes, you read it right. This post is about how my GUESS watch saved me from a Mozambiquan Spitting Cobra.

So in 2015, we got lucky when I called a place for a last minute booking over the Easter break. I found it in the Dinokeng reserve. Now I have absolutely no qualms, even after this incident, with nature. I get that I am in the wild and in their territory and rightfully so I respect the wildlife. But fuck lately I am having more goosebumps and hair raising experiences than I would like….

Anyway, we were so chuffed to get this last minute booking. Arriving on Good Friday, to a place where you are told warned “Please close the gate after you enter the camp as the Big 5 roam free in the reserve”. Now, a rational person would have said fuck that I am heading back to civilisation, but NOT this Spirited family. No we will find these places. And we will conquer them.

We arrive and unpack. We are impressed for a Bush Camp. Only concern, the bathroom is sort of outside of the bedroom and kitchen. You need to step onto the porch to get to the bathroom door. Now  this doesn’t bother me but it sure bugs the hell out of Dude who is paralyzed at the mere sight of a spider, no matter what size. We decide to explore the camp and take a stroll across the lawn to the pool and recreation centre. This is about 500metres from our porch.

Inside the recreation centre we find a pool(snooker) table, table tennis, a tv area and a long dining room table…so I tell myself do not stick your hand into the pool table as you are out in the wild and need to be weary of snakes and spiders. I discover you can actually exit by the pool table as well.

Dude and I start playing table tennis. Dudie interjects and I say you play with Dad, I want to check that room past the tv. I walk past the front door where we had entered earlier and as I pass a huge gas heater I feel my left hand is wet. As if someone sprayed it with water…I stop and think that I just passed a gas heater, this whole camp is thatched roofs and if gas is leaking and a fire breaks out we are all fucked. So I backtrack…slowly walking backwards to check this gas heater. And right there on the floor next to the gas heater lies a Mozambiquan Spitting Cobra.

mfezi

MOTHERBUFFER! With my mind racing and me calculating that if I run around this fucking 12 seater table this snake can surely just slither underneath and stop me on the other side, or if I scream or startle the snake it will have a go at me…very calmly I say ” Dude, take Dudie and go out by the pool table. Dude, huh? I repeat myself but this time a bit louder and with more concern in my voice. As they exit, I calmly walk around this table so that I too exit at the pool table.

Once outside I was freaking out. We ran speed walked to the owner and informed him about the snake. He checked my hand and arm for any scratches or cuts and said Sussie jy is Fokken gelukkig hy hou van jou blink horlosie” (sister you are fucking lucky he likes your bling watch). So off he goes in search of this snake.

We did inform the other visitors who we met along the way not go to the recreation centre as there is a snake. We get there with the owner and already there are some guests who wanted to catch the snake. The owner goes inside and calls me to the door to check if the snake that he caught is in fact the right one. At this stage I am shitting myself thinking what do you mean the right one. I said yip it is without even looking.

He confirmed it was a Mozambiquan Spitting Cobra and guess what they spit from any position. They do not need to stand up or flair up to spray you with venom. Although, it’s more the bite that you need to be careful of. Sadly, he killed the snake as he says the camp is full and the snake has obviously settled there so if he leaves it the snake will most likely just come back. And it might not be a happy ending next time. Can I just say that although relieved I was very sad that they had to kill the snake. Dudie, up til today, is still pissed that the snake was killed. He asked the owner, do you think God is happy with you killing his creatures? There was a veterinary Doctor as well who agreed it was best to kill the snake.

After all that commotion we headed back to our chalet. Slightly more cautious being there. Feeling exposed and vulnerable. Dude goes to the bathroom, and starts cussing…well you guessed it. There was a spider in the bathroom. On the door that he just closed. The very same door that he needs to touch to get out of there. He only saw this spider once he decided to use the lavatory. I was beside myself with laughter. I rescued him, after I laughed and laughed and laughed…

That night we did not sleep much. Me worrying about snakes and Dude worrying about spiders. The next day we were scheduled to go on a game drive. We arrive at the pick up and the owner says “Sussie jy het my so laat skrik, Ek was bekommerd oor jou. Ek is Bly jy is ok” We had a lovely sunset drive but thankfully didn’t see the lions. I think I had enough of the wild for a while…

Last night there. We wake up and Dudie is covered in red spots. Like everywhere. We looked for snake and spider bites but nothing. Then put it down to sand fleas…but we packed our stuff and headed straight to Dischem in Pretoria, about an hours drive from the bush camp. The pharmacist was chilled so naturally we were chilled. Got some meds and went to the comfort of our snake free home.

The next day Dudie looked even worse. We headed to Pretoria East Hospital and the trauma Doctor on duty said it was some sort of virus that Dudie had. Gave stronger meds and sent us home. It took a few days to clear but thankfully he was good as new in no time.

Suddenly I remember why we haven’t been in the bushveld for a while.

Did you know that the Mozambiquan Spitting Cobra is considered the most dangerous after the Black Mamba?

I am so grateful for my bling GUESS watch because this snake thought it was my eyes and had a go at it. I am the person wearing a blinging GUESS watch in the bush. I also always wear my sunglasses…

Spirited Mama

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