South African Austin Stevens left his companions -- a careful of poisonous snakes -- on Monday (19 May) after setting a world record of living with them for fifty-two days.
CU PULL BACK TO GV: Austin Stevens sitting in cage puff adder crawling over shoe
CU: PULL BACK TO SV: Stevens bandaged arm
SV: Stevens coming out of pit after record embracing friend
CU: Sign showing 52 days
SV: Stevens and friends drinking champagne.
SV: Crowd outside pit as Stevens and friends walk through
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: South African Austin Stevens left his companions -- a careful of poisonous snakes -- on Monday (19 May) after setting a world record of living with them for fifty-two days. Stevens had been bitten by a puff adder, but held on to break by two days the record set last year by Peter Suyman. The sit-in took place at the Hartbeespoort Animal and Snake Farm near Pretoria.
SYNOPSIS: Stevens shared the cage with twenty-four deadly reptiles -- Black Mambas, Egyptian cobras, Boomslang and puff adders. This puff adder is perhaps saying farewell.
Steven's determination to set a new record had not been reduced by that puff adder bite in his arm.
Two days past the record, he decided he'd had enough of his uncongenial fellow-lodgers. During the war of nerves, their ranks had grown from twenty-four to about thirty-five one puff adder gave birth to a large litter. After avoiding physical contact -- for the best of reasons -- Stevens was delighted to resume it with an altogether comelier acquaintance. Such rewards are said to spur men to feats of bravery.
It was champagne time. Stevens had world record, and had lived to celebrate his thirtieth birthday, that same day.
But his record could he short-lived. A black rival, Johannes Mothemane, has been living in another cage of snakes at a nearby park since April the 3rd and has sworn to outlast Stevens.