8 Interesting Facts About Black Mambas

Attacking black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)
Attacking black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

The black mamba is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. It belongs to the Elapidae family. The species is native to parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The snake's deadly reputation has attracted attention to it for ages. Several features make the black mamba unique. They have been mentioned below.

Black Mamba Is The World's Fastest Snake

These snakes can move 4.32 to 5.4 meters per second making them the world's fastest snakes.

Black Mambas Are Very Long

The black mamba is the world's second-longest venomous snake after the king cobra. Most mature specimens are over 2 m in length and many grow up to 3 m. The longest black mamba specimens were 4.3 to 4.5 m long.

Black Mamba Is Both Arboreal And Terrestrial

Black mambas live at ease on both trees and the ground. They are agile and quick when climbing trees. On the ground, they inhabit termite mounds, rock crevices, or abandoned burrows of other animals. On trees, they nest in tree cracks. When on the ground, the black mamba moves with a raised neck and head.

Beautiful Juvenile Black Mamba

Black Mamba Is Africa's Most Feared Snake

The sheer size, aggression, and highly toxic venom of the black mamba make it Africa's most feared snake. According to a South African survey from 1957 to 1979, black mambas were responsible for 75 of the recorded 2553 venomous snakebites and caused the death of 21 people. In Zimbabwe 2 out of the 5 people who died from venomous snake bites from 1991 to1992 were bitten by black mambas.

Black Mambas Are More Aggressive Than Other Venomous Snakes

Although the black mamba's reputation as a highly aggressive snake is exaggerated, it does not shy away from biting any intruder that approaches it too close. These snakes are also highly unpredictable. Their ability to move quickly makes them more dangerous. They seldom tolerate humans closer than about 40 m. Usually, they retreat into a hiding place when they perceive a threat. However, when cornered the black mamba puts up a threat display where it flicks its tongue, hisses, and spreads its neck-flap. Any movement by a human near it during such display triggers the snake to bite and envenomate the victim.

Black Mambas Strike Repeatedly

Black mambas strike not once or twice but repeatedly often injecting venom with every bite. This behavior of the snake makes its bite deadlier than most other snakes as more venom gets added with every strike.

Most Black Mamba Bites Occur In Upper Body

Unlike most other snakes that bite in the lower extremities when encountered in the standing position, black mamba bites often affect the upper parts of the human body. The long size of the snake and its ability raise its head for a significant distance above the ground allows it to launch about 40% of its body upwards and strike the upper parts of a standing human being.

Black Mambas Have Black Mouths

The most distinctive feature of black mambas is the dark inky black mouth of the species. While their overall color is usually dark olive, olive green, light to dark gray or grayish brown, when they open their mouths it appears black inside.

Interested to know more about the venomous snakes of Africa? Read here: Deadly Snakes Found In Africa. Also learn about the Most Venomous Snakes In The World.


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