[dropcap]R[/dropcap]esidents of Magodzoni village in Kwale County can breathe a sigh of relief after a python that has been terrorising them for a long time was finally captured on Thursday. The nine-feet-long, 12 kilogrammes snake had caused a scare among locals as it wreaked havoc in the village by eating their livestock.
However, the villagers can now rest easy after the reptile was netted by a snake handler, Mwachambuli Haji, in a 30-minute operation that attracted a crowd of curious onlookers.
According to terrified residents, the snake has been moving about in the area hindering their movement and daily activities. Residents were forced to seek the help of Mr Haji after the snake crawled into an abandoned borehole while chasing a prey.
A herdsman, Rajab Asman, said he spotted the snake while grazing cattle and then alerted fellow villagers. “I heard some commotion in the bush and suddenly saw the snake chasing a mouse only for them to fall into the pit,” said Asman adding that the snake had eaten his goat and chicken.
Another resident, Juma Ali, decried snake menace in the area noting that he was sure the captured reptile had devoured his two dogs. “Snakes are a real threat in our village and this I blame on failure by locals to clear their land to rid the area of bushes which become a breeding ground for snakes,” he said.
Haji, a renowned snake charmer in the region, had a rope tied round his waist and lowered down the deep dark pit where he had a difficult time entrapping the python.
“The snake was aggressive and bit me three times but I finally managed to capture and put it in a gunny bag,” the experienced snake handler, said.
He, however, said there was no cause for alarm since pythons are not poisonous. “Pythons only have strong muscles which they use to squeeze their prey,” he added.
Haji, who has been educating locals on how to live harmoniously with snakes, warned them to avoid keeping poultry in their houses as they attract snakes.
“Poultry should be housed separately so that when an attack occurs only the poultry will be targeted since human life matters more,” he advised.
Haji took the snake to his Mwamanga Snake Park in Ukunda which earns him income from tourists.
He crisscrosses the county capturing snakes that pose a threat to residents at a fee ranging between Ksh 5, 000 to Ksh 10, 000 though in some cases he does it at no charge where residents cannot afford to pay.