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Wild search for Lavumisa mystery snake

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By Ackel Zwane - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-29-Jan-2012

Residents of Msindazwe in Lavumisa were joined by police in search for a snake that is killing cattle en masse.

Already, 23 cattle are said to have died as a result of the snake. A prayer was held last Friday because there is also a belief that this could be yet another phenomenon and not a snake at all. Surprisingly, residents refuse to believe that it could be more than one snake killing the animals.

Anthony Nyawo of Nkezwane in the same area said the situation had become so serious that government must come in or those from the Big Game Parks to track down the snake. He said that would help the otherwise impoverished farmers to save their stock, the only means for survival.

The hunting party, shortly after the prayer meeting, went towards a fig tree where herdboys claimed to have seen the snake after it struck one of the animals.

search

However, the wild search did not bear any fruit. The desperation has reached unimaginable levels with some reports from herdboys that they spotted the snake curled around the neck of a cow and draining snot through the nose.

There is also the theory that one person who died recently may have had supernatural powers in the form of the snake and after his death, it had to fend for itself. As a result, they called the prayer to cast out that spell.

Chief’s runner Muzi Mbhamali said the problem first emerged at Mzileni also in Msindazwe, where 14 cattle died from the snakebite.

It was then reported to be at Nkezwane, where nine more cattle died. “We know that an injured mamba becomes extremely dangerous and kills indiscriminately but this is different,” said Mbhamali. The other problem is that the residents do not even have the skills to subdue the snake, they say they do not also know what would happen if it shows up during the search.

hunger

Another resident said the area was struck by hunger but those from the disaster agency refused to give food to those with cattle and now the snake was devouring the cattle.

There are different accounts of what happens to the carcass, once the animal has died. Others said they ate it while others left it in the wild for dogs. Most admitted that they ate snake bite carcasses but only the myth attached to the snake has turned them away.

The area’s Member of Parliament Qedusizi Ndlovu was quoted as having blamed the ‘outbreak’ of snakes in the area on the weather. He said the lack of rains was responsible for the non-availability of other animals such as frogs on which snakes feed forced them to scout for food out and wide.

The other reason had been that the reduced cotton farming activities made snakes breed even more because there was no longer the pesticides that also killed them


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