• Short Summary

    A war of nerves is being fought in South Africa between a black and a white man, making separate attempts on the world record for living with venomous snakes.

  • Description

    GV people peering into snake pit with Mr. Austin Stevens inside, at Hartbeespoort in south Africa

    SV Mr. Stevens speaking in English

    CU: Baby snakes and mother

    GV: Mr. Stevens with snake on bed and snake slithers on to floor (2 shots)

    SV: Transvaal Snake Park curator, Mr Johan Marais speaks in English about snake record attempt at this park

    CU PULL BACK TO INTERIOR Snake on branch of tree

    SV: Snakes crawl around neck of Mr Johannes Motermane.

    SV: Cobra on table

    SV PULL BACK TO GV: Mr Motermane sits motionless as snake rears between his legs

    SV: Calendar-style counter showing number of days spent in pen

    GV ZOOM TO CU: Mr. Motermane lies on bed and watches tow snakes alongside him

    STEVENS: "These are the baby puff adders, that were born last night about eight o'clock, right on the bed. The snake suddenly started wriggling around and I thought possibly she'd been bitten by a cobra or something earlier during the day. And then suddenly, our popped one of the little babies. There's about eight or nine of them here right now, but we have a lot of dead ones unfortunately. It was a very late pregnancy. Usually puff adders give birth any time from December onwards. So this is quite late for her. And we've got about eight, nine or ten very healthy looking little baby puff adders out. Each one is as poisonous as what the adult is, although of course they're much smaller and have a lesser quantity of venom. The mother's very thin as you can see now, but it seems like all the babies are all out now. the whole lot's there."

    MARAIS: "This is the first time the Transvaal Snake Park is attempting to achieve a world record for a person sitting with venomous snakes. Johannes is sitting with venomous snakes. Johannes is sitting with thirty-five snakes which include black mambas, Egyptian cobra, Cape cobras, puff adders and tree snakes."

    Initials RH/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A war of nerves is being fought in South Africa between a black and a white man, making separate attempts on the world record for living with venomous snakes. The 50-day record was set last year by 26-year-old cabinet maker, Peter Snyman, but both contenders for the title say they'll apply to have their feat recognised if they beat that mark. The man who is leading the race to the record is 29-year-old Austin Stevens, who entered his brick and glass cage at the Hartbeespoort Animal and Snake Farm, West of Pretoria, on March 29. His companions: twenty-four poisonous snakes, including six deadly black mambas. But the number has grown...now he has thirty-five snakes to contend with.

    SYNOPSIS: On Wednesday (30 April), one of the puff adders became a mother.

    Mr. Stevens who says he's been fascinated by snakes since childhood, admits the by snakes since childhood, admits the experience has been pretty much "an ongoing nightmare". He dare not even blink when a snake crawls over him. Only 30 miles 50 kilometres) away, Johannes Mothermane is experiencing a similar test of nerve and endurance.

    What Transvaal Snake Part curator, Johan Marais didn't mention is that when Johannes Motermane entered the cage, there were not 35, but forty snakes. Johannes, a 34-year-old keeper at the park, had his most harrowing experience early during the sit-in. It occurred when a Cape Cobra went berserk and fought and killed a rattlesnake, two black mambas and a twig snake. Johannes recalls that the incident came just after he'd finished his Sunday lunch. The cobra later died of wounds. Johan Marais says Johannes had watched the snake battle as if nothing unusual was happening, while hundreds of spectators looked on in horror. But Johannes didn't turn hair. Indeed, he says he is confident he'll last 55 days.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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