Capturing Black Mambas in Palo Alto
Palo Alto is a relatively quiet place, where newsworthy events rarely occur.
A few years ago, I received a call from the local PTA "phone tree" that
parents needed to drive their children to school because someone had called
the local department of animal control to report they had lost their pet
black mamba snake, which is one of the most poisonous vipers in the world.
The neurotoxin of this snake assures 100% likelihood of death if not treated
within 10 minutes. Now this reported "lost pet" seemed quite unlikely
to me, and then-preschoolers Greg, Camille,and their friends were very
concerned about this loose snake. One afternoon, I announced that
we would be building a "trap" for this snake using old building materials,
Camille's rubber duck as bait, and Greg's rubber snake for companionship.
Here is our effort:
||This is Greg (holding a frog), Carly (holding some grass), and Camille
(holding her hat), standing next to their newly-created chicken-wire snake
trap, baited with a fluffy chicken, and a rubber snake. This photo
was taken on our front lawn.
The next day, the following article appeared, and since nobody could
locate an actual snake to write about, our front lawn became the staging
area for various national TV news crews, AP newpaper photograph backdrops,
etc. This intense national media interest in the "black mamba
story" persisted for about 2 weeks. No black mamba, or "former owner"
was ever located.
Last modified Mar 12, 2000