THEPRIDE

ZIMBABWE

BLACK MAMBA

“The notorious Black Mamba is often said to be the deadliest snake in the world and with good reason.”

www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com

 The black mamba is a species of extremely venomous snake, a member of the family Elapidae native to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

First formally described by Albert Günther in 1864, it is the second-longest venomous snake after the king cobra; mature specimens generally exceed 2 metres and commonly grow to 3 m. Wikipedia

 

Class: Reptilia

Family: Elapidae

Scientific name: Dendroaspis polylepis

Kingdom: Animalia

 

Conservation status: Least Concern (Population stable) Encyclopedia of Life

Did you know: The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepsis) is brown, gray or olive, but never black.

JOHAN MARAIS: AFRICAN SNAKEBITE INSTITUTE

Range and Characteristics

 

Black mambas live in the savannas and rocky hills of southern and eastern Africa. They are Africa’s longest venomous snake, reaching up to 14 feet in length, although 8.2 feet is more the average. They are also among the fastest snakes in the world, slithering at speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour.

 

They get their name not from their skin color, which tends to be olive to gray, but rather from the blue-black color of the inside of their mouth, which they display when threatened.

 

Behavior

 

Black mambas are shy and will almost always seek to escape when confronted. However, when cornered, these snakes will raise their heads, sometimes with a third of their body off the ground, spread their cobra-like neck-flap, open their black mouths, and hiss. If an attacker persists, the mamba will strike not once, but repeatedly, injecting large amounts of potent neuro- and cardiotoxin with each strike.

 

Venom

 

Before the advent of black mamba antivenin, a bite from this fearsome serpent was 100 percent fatal, usually within about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, antivenin is still not widely available in the rural parts of the mamba’s range, and mamba-related deaths remain frequent.

 

Encroachment on the black mamba's territory is not only putting pressure on the species but contributes to more potentially dangerous human contact with these snakes.

 

 

If you are bitten by a neurotoxic snake such as a cobra or mamba

 

Stay calm and breathe gently.

Immediately apply a crepe bandage firmly around the wound, as if for a muscle sprain. ...

Do not apply a tourniquet.

Never try and suck the venom out.