He kept a huge snake in his car for four years until terrified community members alerted authorities then an African Rock Python 3.95 meters long, weighing 33.6kg was confiscated at Matshepe a village outside Mafikeng last week. Residents reported that the reptile has been living in an unlocked car for more than 4 years. Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ)’s Biodiversity Management Officers accompanied by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and South African Police Services (SAPS) found that the owner of the snake had been keeping the snake in an environment that is not conducive to its welfare.
The local Traditional Authority reported the case to the SAPS upon receiving information about the illegal captivity of the snake. Kabelo Modise, Manager at the Ratshidi Tribal Office added that residents feared for their safety as well as for their livestock and they contacted the SAPS who then contacted the Environmental Services. “We pleased with the urgent and swift response from the READ Department. They arrived within a few hours of the complaint,” he said.
READ Auxiliary Officer, Reginald Kgetsana and Damage Causing Animal Control Officer, Nanti Strydom removed the snake and transported it to a place of safety where it was examined by a veterinarian who discovered that all its teeth had been removed, thus making it difficult for the snake to catch prey for itself.
Kgakgamatso Moseki, an Inspector at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) indicated that the man (who has been keeping the snake) had contravened the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962.
READ’s Law Enforcement Officer, Oarabile Podile added that the suspect was arrested and charged with carrying out of restricted activity without a valid permit under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA) section 57 (sub-section 1).
The suspected is expected to appear before the Mahikeng Magistrate Court at the end of February and remains in police custody.
African Rock Pythons are protected South African indigenous species and cannot be breed in captivity and are not for sale.
Members of the public are urged to report any animal cruelty and anyone illegally keeping endangered species as well as wild animals without permits.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) – Emergency Number: 079 018 9552/ 018 381 0374
Biodiversity Management – Emergency Number:
Ngaka Modiri Molema District : 079 690 1331/ 082 563 7769
Dr Kenneth Kaunda District : 082 347 8991/ 018 299 6500
Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District : 073 446 7452
Bojanala District : 083 761 7497