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2014-02-26 10:21

EEEK!! A rinkhals kept itself hidden in Brian Mabasa's car from Pretoria for a few days. The snake, also called the ringhals or ring-necked spitting cobra, is a venomous species found in parts of SA. Image: Shutterstock

PRETORIA, South Africa - A man whose car was invaded by a rinkhals described his ordeal as "a nightmare".

Earlier in February, Brian Mabasa was returning to his BMW at the Midrand Gautrain station to find his car surrounded by security staff. It was the beginning of a five-day ordeal after he was informed that a snake was seen entering his car.

Mabasa said: "It was the worst nightmare I ever had."


Snake-handler Andre Prins was called to the station but said he gave up the search for the snake around 8pm on Tuesday (Feb 18). Prins said: "It had hidden itself deep in the car."

A few days later the media contacted him for comment on the story. Prins said he was "confident" that the snake had likely left the car. "I said 'highly likely', but never said it was for certain."

Mabasa said the car was moved and left in the sun in the hope that the snake would leave. Three more snake handlers were called to search for the it, but to no avail. On Friday (Feb 21) Mabasa decided to take his car home.

He added: "I wasn't really scared of driving, I was confident there was no way it could get through into the car," he said. He took it to another snake handler who searched it for about half an hour without success.

"I had to take the car home and parked it in my garage."


Mabasa said he was afraid the snake could escape and get into his home or on to a neighbour's property. "When I took the car home, I was praying 'Please get me through the next day'."

The following morning, Mabasa saw the snake's head sticking out between the car's bonnet and right headlight. He called a snake handler, who opened the bonnet but still could not see the snake. The car's fender was removed, the rinkhals was revealed, and there were a tense few moments before the snake was secured.

Mabasa said: "It was a very big, powerful snake. What if he doesn't [catch it] and it runs away?" I thought.

Protected only by gloves, the snake handler caught the venomous reptile.

Mabasa added: "At one stage he was holding it and I could see it slipping out of his fist... it became a bit dangerous. Fortunately he managed to catch it, he was an expert. "It was a relief after constant worry."

What would YOU do if you realised there was a snake in your car? Tell us in the Readers' Comments section below.
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