The Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is one of the fastest snakes in the world with the recorded speed of 7 miles per hour (11 km/h). These African snakes are feared for their amazing speed and deadly venom. They are active in most part of the day. Mambas are known to sun themselves before they go for hunting. These fast-moving snakes are native to the sub-Saharan Africa. It is also known as the black-mouth mamba.
Black Mamba Snake Facts
- Black mambas are not only the fastest African snakes but they are also the longest species of venomous snakes in Africa.
- Their length ranges from 2 meters (6.6 ft) to 3 meters (9.8 ft) and up to 4.3 to 4.5 meters (14.1 to 14.8 ft). Most large species can reach the length of 8 – 9 feet (2.4 – 2.7 m).
- Mambas weigh up to 1.6 kilograms (3.5 lb) with 6.5 millimeters (0.26 in) long fangs.
- Mambas are not black in fact the inner part of mamba’s mouth is inky-black which is why it earns its name.
- The mamba’s body is slender and round with a thin tail.
- The eyes are brownish black while the underparts are pale yellow.
- Mambas are mostly found across south of Sahara. The most deadly species live in the eastern Africa ranging from Somalia and Kenya south to South Africa.
- They are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Sudan, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia, and Namibia.
- Black mambas rarely live at altitudes above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).
- The black mamba is a ground-dwelling species but it is also seen moving on trees. It makes its habitat in abandoned burrows, rock crevices, termite mounds, and scrub.
- Mamba is known to adapt itself to a range of terrains including woodlands, dense forests, rocky slopes and savannah. It likes to live in arid environments such as semi-arid dry savannah, light woodland, and rocky outcrops.
- The snake typically finds its habitat in a hole in the ground sometimes under a fallen tree trunk. The black mamba also uses termite mounds aardvark burrows.
- The black mambas are highly terrestrial in nature. They are far more venomous and aggressive than the large tree-living species (D. angusticeps).
- It moves with the speed of 7 miles per hour (11 km/h) but in short bursts they can achieve 15 miles per hour (24 km/h). However they do not feel comfortable moving on a smooth surface.
- Black mambas will climb into low trees but they are often found moving around the rocks.
- When threatened it quickly moves towards its hole and can kill anything that blocks its way.
- The black mamba is capable to strike with a remarkable accuracy even when moving fast. Unlike many other snakes the black mamba always moves with a head raised high.
- It is solitary in nature and will only be social while mating.
- The black mamba’s bite can cause human death in just 6 – 7 hours (if not treated immediately). On an average one bite injects 100–120 mg of venom.
- It is known to attack a person without warning. However by nature black mamba’s are shy.
Feeding Ecology and Diet
- The black mamba is a diurnal species. It gives its prey only one bite and then leaves it. The snake then waits for the prey to die of paralysis after which mamba swallows the entire kill.
- It is known to consume bushbabies, bats, hyrax, and rock hyrax.
- The mating begins in the early spring and the female lays eggs in summer.
- The clutch size consists of 6 – 17 eggs.
- The gestation period lasts 80 – 90 days.
- The average lifespan of the black mamba is not known but the longest species died at the age of 11 years.