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Survivor South Africa

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The snakes in the grass – Survivor SA

07 June 2021
Meet our castaways' slithering friends.
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Image: Getty Images

by Jan-Hendrik Botha

This year’s theme for Survivor SA is snakes and skulls. And a very appropriate theme at that, as the Wild Coast, boasts a magnificent array of snakes. 

But as beautiful as they might look, the following snakes best be avoided:

The Black Mamba 
This extraordinary creature has been called one of the world's deadliest snakes for its speed, size, aggression and lethal venom. It can lift a third of its body into the air. It also slithers faster than some humans can run, reaching speeds of up to 19 km per hour; ironically, according to National Geographic, its speed is used to escape, not hunt. Only two drops of potent Black Mamba venom are enough to kill you – and according to Terrance Whittle from Pure Venom Reptile Farm, it’s a common snake in this area.  

The Green Mamba 
The notorious Green Mamba can best be described as the most precarious snake of this area. Though spectacular to behold, this snake possesses a very dangerous venom that is capable of killing people. The Green Mamba should not be confused with the infamous Boomslang, though. Whittle refers to it as “the Mafia of the area” as it “controls the coastlines”. He says that the Green Mamba is so confident it'll even take on a Boomslang. The Green Mamba is shy and nervous around humans but will not hesitate to attack when feeling threatened. Though the Boomslang deserves an honourable mention, Whittle confirms that it is not common in this area. 

The Puff Adder 
This venomous viper is also one of South Africa’s deadliest snakes: not only due to its aggression and expert camouflage but also because of its laziness. That's correct! This thick and feisty snake tends to stick around. Once it's cosy in the sun, it will most likely be unwilling to move when approached. Given their expert camouflage, they are easily stepped on and, as a result, will strike.  

The Night Adder 
Ironically, contrary to popular belief, this snake is more active during the day than at night, according to the South African Snake Bite Institution. Even though this snake is not deadly, it is still venomous and should not be underestimated. It can cause severe pain and swelling of tissue. Like the Puff Adder, this snake is an expert in camouflaging itself and therefore easily stepped on.  

The Stiletto Snake 
The silent assassin, known for its protruding stiletto-like fangs, resembling a harmless mole adder: this snake is highly venomous. Due to the long fangs, the victim will experience extreme pain when bitten. Though the venom is not fatal, it can cause severe tissue damage.  

Scroll through the images below:

The shy but very aggressive Black Mamba is known as one of the world's deadliest snakes.

Watch Survivor SA: Immunity Island on M-Net (DStv channel 101), Thursdays at 19:30. Join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram or the Survivor Facebook Page by using the hashtag #SurvivorSA.