Programmes

Last updated: 19 november, 2009 - 17:45 GMT

Black Mamba, White Witch

Balck mamba snake in the clutches of Swaziland's 'White Witch' snakecatcher

To play this content JavaScript must be turned on and the latest Flash player installed.

Play in either Real OR Windows Media players

Thea Litscha Koen is known as the White Witch in Swaziland.

She is a professional snake catcher and her prey is the black mamba - a snake whose bite is so deadly it's called the kiss of death.

In Swaziland thirty to forty people die from snake bites every summer month.

The biggest killer is the black mamba.

They grow up to thirteen feet in length and are strong enough to rise up above the ground to look you in the eye.

Their venom is so deadly that without the swiftest medical treatment victims always die.

And in Swaziland, where the snakes can appear anywhere and medical care is limited, the danger is reaching crisis point.

However Thea and her husband have made it their business to protect people. They're on call 24 hours a day to remove the snakes when they get too close for comfort.

Matthew Bannister spoke to Thea and asked her about her deadly passion for the black mamba snake.

To play this content JavaScript must be turned on and the latest Flash player installed.

Play in either Real OR Windows Media players

More from Outlook

  • Human interest stories behind the headlines

  • Tales of airborne glamour and snakes on a plane

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.