Tame Mamba?

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Tame Mamba?

Postby Mamba no 5 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:42 pm

Did anyone see the Carte-Blanche feature about the guy that keeps a "tame" Black-Mamba in his house (not in cage)?
I Can't help but think you must a be a little crazy to do something like this, besides the risk to yourself a house isn't exactly 100% escape proof for a snake is powerful as n Mamba.


p.s Didn't know where to post.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby lerikoen » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:01 pm

I did not see the episode, but it just sounds like a bad idea. Just reading the phrase 'tame black-mamba' makes the hair on my neck stand up. What was the focus of the story? How did it reflect on the reptile hobby, because it sounds a bit irresponsible. I can just imagine the troubles it will cause for the hobby if things end badly!!
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby brentraf » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:20 pm

From all the posts I've read you cannot get a tame snake, can't quite remember who said it but they lack the area in their brains to "learn" their tameness (I know it was one of the Mods that said it though)
IMO handling anything that is venomous is just asking to get bitten and in this case killed. People tend to think they have control over too many things sometimes and forget the fact that the mamba or whatever snake they are interacting with has a mind of it's own.
One day that snake is going to be annoyed with something or just in a bad mood and will bite, then he will regret how relaxed he is about his "tame" mamba.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby ColinWa » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:19 am

Firstly, he never claimed the snake to be "Tame" as you so ignorantly seem to be advertising. This is a very special snake, and the point he is trying to get across is that snakes are not these bloodthirsty creatures out to kill everything that moves. He did not advocate what he is doing whatsoever, Swartbek is merely used to her surroundings, thus proving that snakes are not all out to just kill and harm us. He's well aware of the consequences of handling a snake like that, please don't pull this completely out of proportion, I can see this causing an insane amount of controversy, if you're going to criticize Neels, get your facts straight first. I've been to his house, i've been in that very same room Swartbek sleeps the whole day, and with Neels there I can assure you that my life was not in danger whatsoever. He taught me respect and understanding about these snakes (and indigenous snakes in general) and other people, and by doing so I promise you he's not doing the hobby any harm, but doing good for our native snakes, rather than just telling people it's bad ad wrong to kill a snake, he shows them that they're not the devils they're made out to be. I can see this starting a heated debate, but please don't be narrow minded. He's not condoning what he does, he's doing it under very special circumstances and he's not a threat to this hobby at all. He also doesn't handle the snake as much as people seem to believe, sadly people in this hobby tend to exaggerate a tad when it comes to this, he doesn't handle her when she's in a bad mood, there's nobody else around here who knows the limits he can go to with this snake better than he does, nobody else around here that knows as much as he does when it comes to this snake. And yes he's been tagged by this snake, and yes he's man enough to admit that he made a mistake. See what simple misinformation can cause.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby brentraf » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:55 am

Hi Colin

I get what he is trying to accomplish but at the same time you will have situations that may arise from this as well. I'm not saying it would be his fault because often these situations come from the best intentions, but what if there was someone who tried to replicate this situation? If he got tagged there would be a big issue and even though it's not his fault fingers would be pointed at swartbek and his owner. Granted he is trying to help the plight of snakes in general but a lot of the time people with the best intentions can do harm. In this case I don't know if Carte Blanche should have been a way for people to see this because no matter how many times a TV show says do not try this at home someone will and then they will get hurt.

The problem with this situation is that in our country there is an extremely negative view towards snakes both because of cultural beliefs and ignorance. If something negative happens with the snake there will be people jumping on it straight away with negatives even if there have been way more positives from it.

Thats my mini rant done.

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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby Serpent » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:48 am

This thread is going to go viral!

I think "Oom Niels" is a maverick, that has not only put his life in danger, but those of his family, friends (if he has any) and the Carte Blanche crew etc. Imagine a camera got dropped onto the snake, or someone tripped and fell onto the snake, or Oom Niels had a heart attack, the whole situation could have gone horribly wrong. Accustomed to each other maybe, a docile snake possible but a tame snake, never. No venomous snake should ever be kept in this manner, especially not a black mamba.

I do not believe that by keeping a mamba in this way, to get attention or to act like the snake whisperer serves as educating the public. All this kind of behavior will do is encourage more cowboys to try this at home or will give people the wrong impression of a black mamba. Only those that have come face to face with a black mamba in the wild, or that have worked with these snakes really know what he is playing house with.

I am sure the man knows his stuff, and is well respected in his community, but do not ask me to agree with what he is doing because I don't. The fact that he has already been bitten and continues with this charade, is a clear indication that he not being thinking rationally.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby Serpent » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:52 am

Apologies for the grammar mistake in the last sentence.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby michael » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:13 am

I heard about this episode and would have liked to have seen it. Even though I didn’t watch the program I know that Black mamabas have the potential to become quite tolerant of humans and will lose their aggressive attitudes, I have personally seen this with a few specimens. That however doesn’t change the fact that they are black mambas, one of the most lethal snakes on the planet! They have earned the right to be respected, in captivity they belong in cages, with an experienced keeper who knows how to work with his charges. I’m not arguing that the gentlemen concerned is not experienced, all I’m saying is his husbandry of this leaves a lot to be desired if this animal is not housed in a safe responsible manner.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby demigod06 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:20 am

Hey i would just like to say... ok im going to put this blatantly.

Jealousy makes you nasty. For those of you who are blind: can you not see what he has done for conservation? How many people he has educated? How many peoples perceptions he has changed?

You dont even know the f*&#% guy! I have been dear friends with him for more than 7 years. Ive handled her and she has slept in my lap... Stop being so ignorant and help the cause. jeez! Almost everyone on this forum immediately has something negative to say.WHY? None of you have done anything remotely equal for the conservation and help for southafrican reptiles like he has. Why do you think he had the opportunity to be on national television? Because his efforts have finally after 30 years been noticed. I dont care if im removed from the forum, it does little to me.

Its always a my snake is more venomous than yooours, and my dad is a cop, and i have more snakes than you so i know more competition. Its ridiculous. You complain and argue and plead etc. But so little of you actually DO something. Stop acting and start doing if you are so big and know so much.

Now i know whats going to happen... Im either going to be banned and quieted and silenced for what i said. You who read this will comment and be angry and mad and If it offend you, i dont care. I say all these things because im FOR the snakes. If you are not one of the "poephols" and just go on with your life, keep yourself out of this then im proud of you. I dont care about what u have to say. But if i can talk some sense into some of your heads, damn ill try! Im tired of being on a forum that silences people like the government does. its bull cr@p really. Just stop and think... For once say something nice.

Have a nice day.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby ColinWa » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:25 am

Okay just to clarify on the Husbandry subject, that snake is in perfect healthy condition, even though she does not have a cage, all her requirements are ment in the room she stays in. The fact that she's 12 years old, and still going strong is proof of such.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby cascade » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:35 am

demigod06 wrote:Hey i would just like to say... ok im going to put this blatantly.

Jealousy makes you nasty. For those of you who are blind: can you not see what he has done for conservation? How many people he has educated? How many peoples perceptions he has changed?

You dont even know the f*&#% guy! I have been dear friends with him for more than 7 years. Ive handled her and she has slept in my lap... Stop being so ignorant and help the cause. jeez!


What is wrong with people having their say on the forum, all that is happening here, it is getting spoken about.
There would of been way more comments made by the people sitting at home watching the show, I can assure you that, so no need to get all up in arms about people being silenced and things like that, if that was the case this thread would of been locked.

Any way Demi
So you are promoting FREE handling then?!
That is diffidently helping the cause. :smt006 :smt017
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby ColinWa » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:49 am

cascade wrote:
demigod06 wrote:Hey i would just like to say... ok im going to put this blatantly.

Jealousy makes you nasty. For those of you who are blind: can you not see what he has done for conservation? How many people he has educated? How many peoples perceptions he has changed?

You dont even know the f*&#% guy! I have been dear friends with him for more than 7 years. Ive handled her and she has slept in my lap... Stop being so ignorant and help the cause. jeez!


What is wrong with people having their say on the forum, all that is happening here, it is getting spoken about.
There would of been way more comments made by the people sitting at home watching the show, I can assure you that, so no need to get all up in arms about people being silenced and things like that, if that was the case this thread would of been locked.

Any way Demi
So you are promoting FREE handling then?!
That is diffidently helping the cause. :smt006 :smt017



Firstly, if you've been on a forum for a while now you'd know that some people keep themselves high and mighty behind a screen, I don't mind opinions being shared but constanly being stuck up, rude and abusive gives people all the reason in the world to go up in arms. It's people like this, know it alls, who tarnish the name of the reptile community. They sure as hell are not helping the hobby by being assholes, and yes we don't mind people disagreeing with Neels' methods of doing it, but getting rude about it, on a personal level is uncalled for. There are much worse things threatning the hobby, like 14 year olds getting hots, kids free handling corals, but you don't see them getting flak do you? People bringing in extrmely dangerous exotic hots, but no, it's cool, we can all have one big dxck measuring competion on who has the most dangerous snakes, and when they get tagged, it's fine, they have a world of sympathy. In the 12 years Neels has had that snake he's been tagged once, due to his own fault, I Know of people who don't free hanlde and have been tagged a considerable amount more. Sbhiit like poeple getting tagged when they're cleaning cages, aren't these people a threat to the hobby? no, because the lot is blinded by childish prejudice.

He does what he does, and he does it with great respect and care. People fxcking look for excuses to gossip and slander someone like little school girls on here lately. This forum has lost some very valuable members and will keep losing them.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby Westley Price » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:52 am

Okay guys, keep this debate clean without personal attacks.

No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Of course there are differing views; respect each others' views, but there's nothing wrong with a HEALTHY argument.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby lerikoen » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:11 am

Something I can't stand is people who get so worked up over a subject that they resort to swearing and bad - mouthing. This is a controversial topic, people WILL talk about it, and their opinions WILL differ. When Neels decided to do that show, he (and the rest of you - demigod06, and ColinWa) should have realized that people will have differing views, and that is their right. The hobbyist will fear for their hobby, because if something bad happens now it will happen PUBLICLY - not like if it happened to a responsible owner who kept his hot in an appropriate cage.

The two of you (demigod06 and ColinWa) are not making valid arguments, because rather than stating the situation and your opinion and partaking in the discussion even if your views are different than the rest, you resort to swearing, badmouthing and even bullying.

@ ColinWa - Maybe the reason so many members leave is not because of peoples views differing (and yes, that is what you are referring to when you talk about 'negativity'), but actually the fact that they cannot raise opinions or try to discuss a topic like this without someone completely losing the plot and starting to swear and badmouth.

@ColinWa - Thanks for clarifying the situation in you first two posts. Thought the last one could have used more diplomacy.
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Re: Tame Mamba?

Postby Wazted » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:15 am

I found this article about them..

LYDENBURG - Black mamba. The deadliest of all African snakes, the very mention of which strikes fear into the hearts of men. Even Steve Irwin preferred to keep his distance from this extremely venomous serpent. Yet in Lydenburg there lives a man who not only owns a black mamba, he holds it, strokes it and feeds it water from the palm of his hand.


Her name is Swartbek and at 3,2 metres, is a pretty impressive specimen indeed.
Neels Bothma, who has been working with reptiles for the better part of 50 years and is the only individual accredited by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Association (MTPA) to conduct reptile training and education, is the owner of this extraordinary snake.


Neels says his love of wildlife and lifelong work in this field, started with his father, a farmer who taught him that farming and wildlife went hand in hand and taught him to love even those things that people feared, particularly so-called dangerous wildlife. As a child Neels kept reptiles as pets, much to his mother’s dismay. She wondered why he couldn’t have normal hobbies like owning fish or collecting stamps.
In 1994 he started the Mpumalanga Herpetological Association in Nelspruit and registered as a paramedic, working as a station officer for four years. It was during this time that Swartbek came into his life. He received a call that a female black mamba swollen with eggs had been run over. Neels rushed there to take the snake to the vet but it died on the way. As the vet sliced open the body and carefully removed all 13 eggs, placing them in an incubator, Neels took the first hatchling as his own.


Swartbek is nearly nine years old and trusts Neels completely. "She has never tried to bite me and is even comfortable shedding her skin in my hands," which, according to Neels, is the most dangerous time to come into contact with a snake, as it partially loses its eyesight and resultantly becomes very nervous.
It does not get milked and is highly venomous, but is perfectly calm in Neels’ company. This case is unique - he is the only person in known history to have "tamed" or developed a relationship with a black mamba, which makes friend and colleague at MTPA, Chris Hobkirk very nervous. "This case is one in a million and I worry that one day she will bite. You cannot tame snakes, there’s no such thing, they just get comfortable with human disturbance and accept that it isn’t life-threatening. But even dogs, which for years have been tame, can suddenly one day attack a child. She could have a bad day one day and strike," says Chris, who urges everyone not to attempt to handle a black mamba. He admits that this extraordinary relationship helps to debunk the myth that it is an aggressive, violent killer. "It’s a nervous creature that will only strike if it feels threatened or cornered. If you come across a black mamba just move away slowly so that it knows you aren’t a threat, " says Chris.


Seeing Neels and Swartbek together is the most beautiful and incredible thing, however, both men stress that this is a unique case and should not be tried at home, ever!
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