GUESTS often have a way of dropping in unexpectedly, and for a Mount Edgecombe family, that was certainly the case after they found a leguaan (water monitor) under their stairs. According to Durban North snake man, Jason Arnold, the father heard rustling under the staircase of his home.
“He thought it was his son looking for a toy because it was used as a storage area. He then realised his son was upstairs and got suspicious and began looking in the space. He then spotted a head pop up and phoned me immediately. He described it as a large black snake and its only when I arrive that I noticed it was a Nile monitor, or water leguaan (Varanus niloticus). I managed to rescue him and relocate him near the uMgeni River which is his natural habitat,” he said.
This was the second leguaan caught last week after Arnold rescued a larger reptile from a Newlands West home.
“These animals are of no danger to people, dogs or cats, but they do grow very large and many people fear them. Although not dangerous, they are incredibly powerful animals and they will put up a fight if you corner them or try to catch them. They have a very powerful tail that can whip you really hard, long sharp claws that can scratch quite badly, and an extremely powerful bite that you do not want to experience. They also tend to not let go once they bite, but only bite if you give them a reason and an opportunity to.
“Leguaans are extremely alert and nervous and also terribly scared of people, dogs and cats and will run for their lives at the slightest hint of potential danger. They are a protected species and are not allowed to be killed by people or kept as pets,” he said.