DURBAN – TWENTY-ONE python hatchlings were released by the Crocworld team this week after the eggs and mother were removed from a South Coast home.
On January 11 Crocworld Conservation Centre’s reptile curator, Wade Killian, and Crocworld animal care team member, Mdu Nunwana, received a call from a distressed homeowner in the Widenham area who feared for the safety of her dogs after spotting a large python on her riverside property.
On arrival the snake was identified as a female southern African python. She had a clutch of eggs.
James Wittstock, acting centre manager of Crocworld Conservation Centre, said both the eggs and snake were safely removed from the property.
“The clutch of eggs were placed in an incubator at Crocworld and the female python was safely released into a suitable habitat the next day.”
Fast-forward to Tuesday, the Crocworld team released the 60cm to 70cm hatchlings into the wild.
Killian said they took in the eggs and kept them in an incubator until 21 of them hatched.
“There are three experts on the Crocworld Reptile team that cared for them once they hatched but they were released almost immediately.
“It was on the South Coast but we would rather not disclose the exact area as they face threats from habitat reduction and hunting,” he said.
Killian said they offered free service of identifying and removing snakes for the communities of Scottburgh and the surrounds.
“Female southern African pythons lay their eggs in abandoned burrows or in mounds of vegetation and remain with the eggs throughout the incubation period until the offspring hatch and disperse soon after.
“They are a protected species in the country as they are highly sought after for bushmeat and traditional medicine.
“They are considered vulnerable in the country’s latest Red Data Book, and may not be captured or killed.
“They reach up to six meters in length, can live to be 27 years old but generally reach sexual maturity at five years and are generally found around water sources from which they often ambush their prey,” he said.