Black Mamba

Black Mamba

Vital Statistics

Name
Black Mamba, Common or Black-mouthed Mamba [Dendroaspis polylepis]
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Family
Elapidae
Length_F
2 530 mm
Length_M
2 330 mm

Description

The Black Mamba is a large, streamlined snake with a narrow, coffin-shaped head and smooth scales. The back is uniform gunmetal to olive-brown, but never really black; the belly is pale grey-green, sometimes with dark blotches, and the mouth lining is black.

Distribution

Black Mambas are found in the northern parts of the subcontinent (absent from desert), extending south along Kwa-Zulu Natal coast to port St. Johns and elsewhere, to Senegal and Somalia.

Breeding

12 - 17 eggs are laid in termite nests, etc. These hatch in 80 - 90 days; growth is rapid, a Black Mamba may reach 2 000 mm in length in its first year.

Venom

The venom is neurotoxic and cardiotoxic, yielding 100 - 400 mg; 10 -15 mg is fatal in humans.

Diet

Black Mambas feed on fledgling birds and small mammals such as rats and dassies.
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