Black Mamba: The Most Deadly Snake In The World
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Black Mamba: The Most Deadly Snake In The World

The Black Mamba, rightly called the Shadow of Death, is the fastest land snake in the world and second most dangerous snake in the world. A provoked encounter with a black mamba could prove deadly if not handled with care.

If you are a pet lover, the last animal you should ever consider for a pet is the black mamba (Latin: Dendroaspis polylepis). Considered to be the fastest land snake in the world and the second most dangerous, second only to the King Cobra, the aggressive black mamba is found in the southern part of tropical Africa and some parts of Western Africa. They can reach top speeds of 10-12 mph (16-19 km/hr) in short bursts over level ground - good luck trying to outrun one of these snakes if you happen to tick it off!

Despite its name, black mambas aren't black; they are gray. The name comes from the color of the inside of its mouth - something it will gladly show you while it threatens you, if provoked. They can grow up to 14 feet (4.3 meters) long, which is another reason why this reptile isn't something to mess with. The snake races along with its head held high and about one-third of its body off the ground. That can be up to four feet (1.2 meters) off the ground - about chin level for some people. The black mamba is the most respected and feared snake in Africa.

It is fearfully called the Shadow of Death and its deadly bite is known as the Kiss of Death.

Meet The Black Mamba – The Shadow Of Death

Black mambas are aggressive snakes that spring up to strike. Black mambas also go after birds and they're good at it. After biting their prey, black mambas leave it to die. The venom is strong enough to kill its prey in a matter of minutes so the snakes don't have to wait long for their meal. For humans, the wait could be up to four hours till death. The venom is known to paralyze the victim’s nervous system, creating hallucinations. The victims don’t feel pain and may even be laughing as they die. The presence of black mambas in an environment alone has been known to cause heart attacks in people; even before a bite.

Without treatment, the death rate from a black mamba bite is almost 100 percent. Although two drops of venom from a black mamba are enough to kill a human, mambas don't usually attack humans. They should still be left alone - they are considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the world so let sleeping dogs lie…or snakes in this case.

No snake is more feared than the black mamba. The black mamba is a nervous and timid snake that will try to defend itself at the slightest sense of danger. However, as it is not a robust snake it cannot bear close encounters and it will lash out at anything coming too close. The black mamba will not give ground to anybody and relies on its speed and extremely toxic neurotoxin.

Contrary to popular belief that the black mamba is black, it’s not. There are four species of mambas, of which none are black. The black mamba is brown or grey and only black in the inside of its mouth.

Reproduction In Black Mambas

Female and male black mambas differ very little in the way they look. In fact, there are no visible differences and only experts can tell whether a mamba is a male or female on closer inspection. The mating season for black mambas in Africa begins in September. In this period the males fight over females when they meet. Mating begins with the male inspecting the female with his forked tongue.

Females lay an average of 15 eggs in a nest underground or in a hollow tree. The egg hatches after three months and the baby mamba snakes have a length of 1-2 feet. Newborn black mamba snakes grow rather rapidly and are capable of catching mice and other small rodents immediately after hatching. The female leaves the eggs immediately after hatching so the newborn snakes are left to cater for themselves.

When you come in contact with a black mamba, my advice is; do not provoke it. Doing so might prove lethal since you cannot outrun a black mamba.


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Comments (13)

I saw a Nat Geo video showing a 12' Black Mamba chase down two men who had a 75' head start, and then stand up and strike one of the men three times in the face before the second could kill it with a machete. One of the most frightening and impressive things I've ever seen.

I have actually seen black mambas in the part of Nigeria where I come from; they are never to be messed with! Thanks for the comment.

Wow. Wonderful knowledge of the black mambas!

Thanks Genevee.

Thanks for this, Daniel. I could be content with a 10 ft python to mess with if I have to choose a snake for a pet. But of course I will raise it from hatching to be sure it could coil around me in friendly gesture.

Thanks Blue for all the votes and comments. Just last month, a python swallowed a child in Benin City,Nigeria where I come from. Am still trying to get the pix before I write on it. Snakes are what we see everyday in Nigeria here; and they all appear to be very dangerous. Ad much as am fascinated by snakes, I keep my distance. When still in high school, I killed several boa and pythons; and that was when they just fed and were lady. When I site a Mamba, I keep my distance!

They sure are scary creatures.

You are sure right Martin.

thanks for a nice one. i didnt know that the mouth was black. great article.

What a nightmare! Snakes are scary already but to think of a neurotic, venomous snake that can move at 10-12 miles/hour while maintaining his head 4 feet off the ground is enough to cause a person to stroke out. No wonder people have heart attacks.

Yes they are a very dangerous snake indeed, but not the one responsible for killing the most people, apparently the Asian Cobra kills more people, but the Black Mamba is second.

But that's partly because many people are more confident about screwing with cobras.

mamba+python = Pythamamba= big troubles