Black Mamba

© Roger de la Harpe

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.

Black Mamba Facts

The black mamba, one of Africa's most feared and respected snakes, inevitably evokes reactions of fear, respect or awe - often merely by being mentioned...more
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