A sandy beach is not the sort of terrain suited to a black mamba, but this is 2020, and the normal rules don't apply.

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Image © SAAMBR

Herpetologists from the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) were summoned earlier today to capture and relocate a black mamba that had strayed onto Addington Beach – a popular tourist spot located on Durban’s famous Golden Mile. The snake was spotted slithering on the sandy shore and even taking a short dip in the ocean (as if taunting the city's surfers and swimmers who are still eagerly awaiting the reopening of beaches for recreation).

Black mambas – Africa's largest and arguably most deadly venomous snakes – are "uncommonly found along the coastal belt, preferring deep valley areas with thick vegetation," SAAMBR pointed out in a Facebook post. Reports of the reptilian beachgoer first emerged out of South Pier just a few kilometres from the spot where the snake was eventually caught, prompting SAAMBR to pay more heed to the Addington call out. "Normally [a report like this] would have been met with scepticism as most people believe that any dark snake is a mamba, and indeed many nonvenomous snakes are killed after being misidentified."

This mamba may have made its way to the beach via the canals and rivers that run into the harbour, SAAMBR explained. Herpetologists Craig Smith and Lesley Labuschagne responded to the call immediately and were met with the sight of a 2.47-metre black mamba splashing around in the surf.

"The snake was so exhausted that when we approached her she hardly even noticed us," Smith explained in a statement on Facebook. "She was so easy to handle and thankfully remained calm whilst we transported her back to Ushaka Sea World where our resident veterinarian, Dr Francois Lampen was standing by to assess her condition."

Once the team is happy with the mamba's condition, it will be released back into the wild (hopefully far away from humans and riverways that lead to the ocean!).