Snake Removal Helderberg was called to deal with their first venomous snake of the season last week. According to the service’s Facebook page, the report came from a farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, as there was a snake in one of the sheds on the property.

“Immediately I was on my way and so excited again,” the service said. “On coming to the place I stuck my head in and immediately I knew I was working with a boomslang by seeing those big stunning eyes staring at me.”

“I put on my glove – made for not getting bit through – and slowly took the boomslang out of the groove he wedged himself into. It was a cold morning so the snake was not that active and only outside the shed the boomslang gave that warning sign of puffing up its throat much like a cobra flattening its hood.”

The boomslang is largely tree-living but may descend to the ground to bask. In trees it poses no threat to humans as it is extremely reluctant to bite and bites are rare. It is a popular fallacy that being back-fanged, it can only bite onto a small digit – this is incorrect as it can open its mouth very wide.

Hatchlings and juveniles are grey with large emerald green eyes but this changes when they reach maturity, and measure around one-metre in length. Most males are bright green, sometimes with black between the scales, but in the Cape Provinces they are usually black above with green, yellow or orange sides. Females are brown in colour.

Boomslang venom is haemotoxic and compromises the blood clotting mechanism, causing uncontrolled bleeding if not treated. The South African Vaccine Producers manufacture a monovalent antivenom for boomslang bites that is very effective.
Picture: Snake Removal Helderberg

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.