It took at least six hours and a concerted effort by firefighters and residents of Baringo Town on Friday, November 8, to remove a 6-foot snake that had undulated into Baringo County Assembly.
The snake, a highly venomous Black Mamba, had stayed in the chambers for two days, stopping MCAs from conducting House business.
For the two days that the reptile hid inside a wall groove in the County Assembly, no one dared to remove it, fearing a life-threatening bite by the animal.
But on Friday, the MCAs said they had had enough of the mini-holiday, and wanted to resume work.
Daring residents decided to help the ward reps get access to their work station by attempting to scare the snake out of the tight groove. They threw all manner of things, including stones, at the spot where the animal was hiding to no avail. The unsuccessful operation lasted six hours.
After unsuccessfully trying everything possible within their skills to force the snake out, the residents asked the ward reps to order the firefighting vehicle be driven to the County Assembly to help in the snake-removal exercise.
And when the firefighting truck arrived at the chambers, the operators directed high-pressure water from the hosepipe to the groove where the snake had hidden. It did not take long before the reptile gave in to the pressure and glided out of the groove.
It was at that point that the residents pelted the animal with stones, killing it on the spot.
The Black Mamba is often said to be the deadliest snake in the world and with good reason. It is a large and active snake that will move quite fast with as much as a third of its body off the ground. If cornered, it is known to strike more than once and in quick succession, injecting large quantities of very potent neurotoxic venom. Human deaths, in untreated bites, could take anything from 3 – 16 hours if not treated, but in serious bites victims could experience severe breathing problems in less than half an hour.
About Black Mamba
The Black Mamba is, in fact, not an aggressive snake and is very quick to avoid people if given the chance and bites from this snake are quite rare, even more so if compared with bites from snakes like the Mozambique Spitting Cobra and Puff Adder.
Both at home in trees and on the ground, the Black Mamba is active during the day, when it hunts for prey such as rodents, squirrels, hyrax, small antelope and fledgling birds.
It is fond of basking and will often return to the same site daily. But if danger is present, it will disappear quickly into dense bush or down the nearest hole or rock crevice.
The Black Mamba lays 6-17 eggs in summer, and the young, when they hatch, measure 40-60 cm in length and are venomous from the moment that they emerge.
Juvenile mambas are very nervous and seldom seen and are said to grow rapidly in the first year, even reaching a length of 2 meters.
Males often engage in fighting during the mating season and are seen twisting around one another in an attempt to wrestle their opponent to the ground. (Information: Courtesy of www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com)
‘Snakes are terrorising us’
Locals claim snakes have been terrorising them in the area. At least 50 people in Braingo County die annually from snake bites, whereas tens have lost their limbs, which were amputated after being bitten by snakes.
Last Monday, residents of Molo Sirwe area in Mogotio Sub-County, Baringo County captured a 14-foot python and took it to the County Government offices in Kabarnet Town, where it was handed over to KWS officers.
It was alleged that the 100-kg reptile had been feeding on the residents’ livestock.
Knowing well how dangerous the animal was, the locals teamed up to capture it.
The exercise lasted five hours, with at least seven residents employing rudimentary methods, including the use of bare hands, to seize the snake.
The animal was last spotted in a thicket in Molo Sirwe, where it was it was allegedly hunting for goats to feed on.
Inhabitants of Molo Sirwe, consequently, organised to have the 14-foot python captured alive and handed over to KWS for subsequent action. The decision was arrived at after the wildlife conservancy agency failed to heed the locals’ request to have the animal seized.
And, on Monday, November 4, the residents organised themselves strategically, and captured the animal after spotting it in a thicket in Molo Sirwe.
Attempts by the snake to constrict its captors were futile as the seven-man group managed to pin in to the ground by pressing its tail.
Collins Chepkochei, a resident, told K24 Digital that they tried as much as possible not to harm the reptile as they understood the importance of wildlife conservation.
Willy Chebet, another resident who took part in the exercise, said a majority of them did not have snake-trapping skills, and were depending on “little knowledge” to succeed in the operation.
After the animal was constrained, a well-wisher offered to transport it to the headquarters of Baringo County Government located in Kabarnet Town.
It was the captors who made that decision in a bid to communicate their frustration at the “lack of county government’s intervention” to solve the perennial human-wildlife conflict.
The snake was transported approximately 100 kilometers in the well-wisher’s pick-up.
Area Governor, Stanley Kiptis, wasn’t in his office during the incident.