One definitely should not cross the path of a black mamba.
- Black mambas are a snake species native to the grassy plains, woody areas and rocky habitats of African countries south of the Sahara Desert.
- The scientific name of the black mamba is Dendroaspis polylepis and it is from the family Elapidae, a family of venomous snakes.
- Black mambas generally reach a length of 2 to 3 metres (6.6 to 9.8 feet), though they can be as long as 4.3 metres (14 feet), and they can weigh as much as 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds); and are notable for being the longest venomous snake in Africa.
- Black mambas can be grey, brown, or a brown-green colour, however the inside of its mouth is black, hence the word ‘black’ in its common name.
- Black mambas are very capable hunters, fitted with deadly venom and speedy movements, reaching speeds of at least 11 km/h (6.8 mph) and up to 20 km/h (12.4 mph).
A Black Mamba
Image courtesy of Herman Pijpers/Flickr
- The diet of the black mamba consists primarily of birds, bats and smaller mammals, including rodents.
- A black mamba’s bite is easily deadly, and can cause a fatality in a human within 20 minutes, or up to 15 hours if left untreated, by causing the shutdown of the nervous system.
- Black mambas are preyed on by certain snake species and some birds of prey, and the occasional mongoose; and they have an average lifespan of around 11 years.
- Black mambas have a status of being particularly dangerous, the most dangerous snake in Africa; but despite this, the snake would rather shy away from humans as it is relatively timid, always attempting to keep distance from potential threats.
- Female black mambas lay from 6 to 17 eggs in a hollow or cavity in or on the ground, and once the eggs are laid, they are left alone to hatch, afterwhich the young are required to take care of themselves.