DURBAN – Local snake rescuer Nick Evans and Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) have appealed to the Phoenix community not to panic after a two-metre long yellow pet anaconda escaped from an enclosure on Wednesday.
The non-venomous anaconda escaped from a temporary enclosure at a premises in Troy Street.
This comes after IOL reported that some residents were concerned for the safety of their young children, while others called for authorities to investigate the legalities of owning this type of snake.
Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, Evans confirmed that the snake was a yellow anaconda and described it as “not very big” compared to other anacondas around the world.
Evans said while yellow anacondas were quite common in the pet trade, they weren’t in high demand. “They are not on the invasive species list and are therefore legal,” he said.
He further described the yellow anaconda as an “unpopular” snake which has an odour. “These snakes are around but people often struggle to give them away,” he said.
Evans said he would be surprised if the anaconda were to take on a dog or cat. “Maybe a kitten I guess, or a tiny dog. More like rats as they do favour being in water,” he said.
He assured the public that the anaconda would not be hunting children. “I think there's a lot of unnecessary panic. It's of course not ideal to have a large snake that doesn't belong here, slithering around,” he said
Evans said it was understandable that people would be afraid if they came across a snake like this as they “get freaked out when they see a tiny snake”.
Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram said the snake had not yet been recovered as of 11am yesterday.
Balram said the Rusa operations centre was inundated with calls from the public with concerns that they might encounter the snake and that it might harm them. “The public shouldn’t panic,” he said.
He urged people to call Rusa if they see the snake and a professional snake catcher would be called to assist.