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Huge black mamba snake in Nelspruit, South Africa? No, sculpture in Australia

A photo in a screenshot posted on Facebook in December 2020 shows what seems to be a long dark-coloured snake moving along the grass verge next to a road.

Its text reads: “So, if I now avoid Nelspruit you know why! This Black Mamba was caught on camera close to an orange grove in Karina near Nelspruit (South Africa). Estimated to be about 6 and half metres long. Estimated Age being 45. Has enough venom to kill 400 men- and very, very quickly!”

Nelspruit is a city in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province.

The problem is, the photo of the snake has been circulating online for more than nine years. It’s been posted with a range of claims that it shows a king brown snake in Australia or an unidentified species in either Florida or Mississippi in the US.

‘That damn snake’

According to National Geographic, black mamba snakes are actually brown. “They get their name from the blue-black of the inside of their mouths, which they display when threatened.” The species is “lethally venomous” and can grow to a length of 4.2 metres.

A TinEye reverse image search reveals that the photo has been online since at least September 2011. It’s even been used in a popular meme.

In 2012 users of the r/australia discussion forum on Reddit got together to investigate the photo, in a thread titled “Anyone near Alstonville NSW feel like doing a quick investigation about that damn snake?”

They found that it in fact showed a sculpture at 189 Uralba Road in Uralba, near Alstonville, in the Australian state of New South Wales.

“There's a house nearby on the bend with lots of other things too,” one redditor wrote. “Look in the trees along that road too for other cool arty stuff.”

Another posted a closer photo of the sculpture, from a different angle.  It looks nothing like a black mamba.

Claims about the photo have been debunked by Hoax-Slayer, Snopes and the website Snake Catchers, which gave the creature the species name of Snakieus Bullshitterus Foolesyounus. – Africa Check


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