Tasleem Gierdien12 April 2024 | 6:41

Man takes own life using snakes at house 'worse than horror movie'

The man had more than 60 snakes, and various other reptiles and mice, at his home, all living in terrible conditions.

Man takes own life using snakes at house 'worse than horror movie'

John Maytham speaks to Reinet Meyer, Chief Inspector at the Bloemfontein SPCA.

When Marius Joubert from Bloemfontein didn't show up in court for housebreaking and theft charges against him, police went to his home.

Upon arrival, Joubert was confronted by the police who found a scene 'worse than a horror movie'.

In Joubert's home, police found about 60 various venomous snakes - from rattlesnakes to green Mambas, puff adders and exotic copper snakes - in cages, kept in dark, "horrible" conditions without food or water.

Police also found other reptiles and mice, in 'horrible conditions'. Meyer suspects the mice, which were 'very thirsty', were meant as food for the snakes.

After being confronted over the animals' mishandling, Joubert allegedly 'deliberately' put his hand into a snake's cage and was bitten. Joubert refused medical help and died from the venomous snake bite.

"It was suicide by snake bite."
- John Maytham

Snakehandlers from the Bloemfontein SPCA were called to rescue.

"It was horrible to see. You could see the snakes and the other reptiles were very hungry. There were cages with snakes and mice and rats in them. Some of the snakes found were exotic snakes and there was no anti-venom in South Africa for those exotic snakes."
- Reinet Meyer, Chief Inspector - Bloemfontein SPCA
"There are rules for keeping snakes and you must have a permit for keeping indigenous animals and venomous snakes which he did not have."
- Reinet Meyer, Chief Inspector - Bloemfontein SPCA

The snakes, reptiles and mice are now being treated at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital.

Once the animals are healthy, they will be released into the wild. 

Sadly, the copper snakes had to be euthanised 'because they are too dangerous to have in the wild in South Africa'.

Scroll up to listen to the full conversation.