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Ssseriously Cool Black Mamba Facts

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Black Mamba

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The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is a species of highly venomous snake. The average length of this snake ranges between 78.7 in - 118 in (200 cm - 300 cm). It is a highly dangerous snake and the longest venomous snake just after the King Cobra. This snake is a native of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the countries of Africa such as Mozambique, Namibia, Ethiopia, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, and more. This species is both arboreal (tree-living) and terrestrial (ground-living). The primary habitat of the mamba is lowland forests, rocky outcrops, moist and semi-arid savanna, and dense forests. This is the world's fastest snake with a speed of up to 16 kph in dry areas, it is diurnal, and will normally prey on birds and small mammals. Adult black mambas do have some natural predators, such as mongooses and birds of prey like eagles.

The black mamba poison is very potent, with even a few drops enough to kill an adult human. The venom is primarily composed of neurotoxins that usually cause symptoms within ten minutes of being injected and is often fatal unless the suitable antivenom is administered quickly. When being confronted by humans or wild animals, the black mamba ordinarily opens its black mouth, expands its thin neck-flap, and hisses. It is able to strike at substantial range and will make a series of bites in rapid succession.

Notwithstanding its reputation as a dangerous and extremely aggressive species, this snake only attacks humans if it is provoked or cornered. The population of this snake is not threatened or endangered. It falls under the 'Least Concern' (LC) category on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List.

The strike of a black mamba is fatal enough to cause a collapse in humans within a quarter of an hour or less. Without the proper administration of the required antivenom and commencement of treatment as soon as possible, symptoms usually advance to respiratory failure, which leads to cardiovascular collapse and finally death. This whole transition usually occurs within seven to 15 hours.

Read on for more such interesting black mamba snake facts!

If you like this article and want to read more about animals, read these interesting animal-related articles about the Burmese python and the giant tortoise
 

Black Mamba Interesting Facts

What type of animal are black mambas?

Black mambas are one of the longest snakes that are extremely venomous and found in Sub-Saharan African countries.

What class of animal do black mambas belong to?

Black mambas belong to the Reptilia class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many black mambas are there in the world?

The black mamba is a common snake and widespread in its geographic range, found almost all over Africa. There is no overall population estimate of this species available to the IUCN.

Where do black mambas live?

The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) generally prefers environments that are moderately dry, such as rocky outcrops, semi-arid savannas, mountain peaks, scrubs, and light woodland. They also inhabit lowland forests and moist savanna. The snake typically uses rock crevices, tree cracks, and termite mounds as shelters.

What is a black mamba's habitat?

Black mambas inhabit a vast range of areas in sub-Saharan Africa. Their geographic range includes countries of Africa such as Mozambique, Namibia, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Zambia, Eritrea, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, the Central African Republic, Angola, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and many, many more!

Who do black mambas live with?

The black mamba prefers to live in solitude. They are not very social creatures and only interact with fellow members of the species during mating season.

How long do black mambas live?

The lifespan of a black mamba is around 11 years. However, in captivity, they may live for more than 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The mating season spans from September to February. Black mambas are polygynandrous (promiscuous) in nature. Both male and female snakes mate with multiple partners during the mating season. Like all other reptiles, black mambas are also oviparous in nature; they reproduce by laying eggs. The female snake lays a clutch of six-17 eggs. The incubation period lasts about two or three months. The elongated eggs are oval-shaped, measuring 1.2 in – 1.4 in (30 mm – 36 mm) in diameter and 2.4 in – 3.1 in (60 mm – 80 mm) in length.

What is their conservation status?

No major threats are there for black mambas. Hence, although a total population estimate is not available, the IUCN Red List classifies black mambas as of 'Least Concern'. Its number is close to stable.

Black Mamba Fun Facts

What do black mambas look like?

Black Mamba Snake

Black mambas are large venomous snakes and considered to be one of the most deadly snakes in the world. Unlike their name, mambas are seldom black, but their long slender bodies are covered with scales that vary in color from dark olive green to grey to dark brown. Some of the snakes' scales have a purple sheen. Instead, their names are drawn from the dark black color of the inside of its mouth.

These species from Africa have coffin-shaped heads, and their underbellies are light in color, mainly greyish-white. The inside of their mouths ranges from dark bluish-grey to nearly black. They have a forked tongue which helps them to sense prey. Some snakes have faint markings on their body, though most of the snakes have scales that are uniformly colored.

After the eggs are hatched, the snakelets range from 15.7 inches - 23.6 inches (40 cm -60 cm) in length. They grow very quickly, reaching 79 inches (200 cm) within the initial year of their birth. The snakelets are very uncertain in nature and might be as deadly as their parents.

How cute are they?

A black mamba is not cute at all. With its dark scales and black eyes, this is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. It is advised to stay away from these snakes as interacting with one could prove to be fatal. They turn aggressive and feel threatened by sudden moves. They attack and bite in a series of rapid strikes, and the bitten animal or human dies within seven to 15 hours.

How do they communicate?

The black mamba is not a social animal and prefers to live in solitude. They prefer to avoid humans and other animals and take shelter in a bush or hole when they sense any threats or any form of attack. However, when confronted, they hiss and expand their neck-flap or hood. This aggressive behavior is to warn the attacker. Like all other snakes, they hiss and detect motion with the help of their eyes. Due to lack of ears, they sense the vibrations in the ground. If they detect sudden movements, they perform a series of rapid strikes, which will prove fatal for the victim.

How big are black mambas?

The average adult black mamba is 78.7 in - 118 in (200 cm - 300 cm) long, with a maximum of 169.2 inches (430 cm). It is about as long as 250 worms placed horizontally. It is the second-longest poisonous snake in the world after the King Cobra.

How fast can black mambas move?

The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is the fastest snake in the world. It can move very fast, traveling short distances at a great speed of 12 mph (19.3 kph). It can slither on firm ground at an average speed of 8 mph (12.8 kph) and outpace humans and many animals.

How much do black mambas weigh?

The average weight of black mambas (or green mambas) is about 3.5 lb (1.6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of these snakes.  

What would you call a baby black mamba?

Baby black mambas are called snakelets.

What do they eat?

Black mambas are carnivorous in nature and mostly prey on tiny vertebrates such as birds, particularly small chicks and fledglings. They also hunt small mammals like bats, bushbabies, wild rodents, and hyraxes. They usually favor warm-blooded prey but at times may also devour other snakes too.

Reports show that these snakes hunt by biting their victim and injecting venom in it. Then they release the animal and follow it until it gets paralyzed or dies. It is only then that they eat it. It does not usually take the animal very long to paralyze or die after being bitten by such a poisonous snake. These reptiles devour their food whole, gulping the whole animal instead of biting or tearing it slowly. They have flexible jaws that they can adjust to fit food up to four times the size of their head into their mouth. There have been reports of mambas being spotted with full-grown cobras or whole parrots in their stomachs.

The mamba plays a very vital ecological role in its environment as it helps to check the population of small rodents like rats and mice that it preys on.

Are they dangerous?

The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is the world's longest venomous snake. They are fast, and when threatened, are one of the world's most lethal snakes. These deadly reptiles have been the cause of many deaths worldwide. African legends exaggerate their lethality and portray them as the most dangerous snake in the world.

Would they make a good pet?

No, black mambas are the second most poisonous snake in the world, after King Cobra. The black mamba venom is very potent and can kill an adult human with just two drops of its venom. Hence, it is not a good idea to have a black mamba pet at all, though certain snake charmers do keep them as pets.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

The venom of a black mamba snake is very potent and toxic. Even two drops of its venom are sufficient to kill an adult human, attacking both the nervous system and the heart. Although most black mamba bites are fatal in nature, the snake's bite is responsible for very few deaths annually. The snakes do not attack unless they feel threatened or are provoked, and unprovoked attacks on humans are yet to be proven.

Unlike almost all other animals, the black mamba does not wait to shield her young snakelets once the eggs hatch and the snakes are born. This is because they give birth to already mature snakes. Thus, the mother black mamba disappears almost immediately after the inhibition period is over, and the baby snakelets are left to their own.  

The venom of the mamba contains peptides that are discovered to be effective analgesics. They cause a pain-inhibiting effect that is as strong as that of morphine while not causing the usual side effects such as respiratory distress that can happen after morphine administration. They are also not resistant to naloxone, and the patients suffer less from induced tolerance than what is caused by a morphine dosage.

Drawing a black mamba is pretty easy! Start by drawing a small curved shape for the mouth, mark the partitions of the jaws and add a beady eye. Next, bring two curvy long lines from the mouth all the way down for the neck and the body of the snake, continue them back towards the neck, and finish by drawing the tail like a small curved line.

Do black mambas sunbathe?

A black mamba is diurnal in nature. It tends to sunbathe in the morning and then again in the afternoon. In South Africa, they are recorded to bask from 7–10 am and again from 2–4 pm. They may return to the same basking site daily.

What are a black mamba's predators?

Though black mambas are the most dangerous snakes on the planet, and the black mamba bite is known to kill its attacker, they are still preyed upon by other predators. Birds of prey such as the eagle feed upon young snakes, snatching them away from their mother and flying off. The cape file snake is also known to prey upon venomous snakes such as the black mamba and puff adder. But, the most dangerous antagonist of the black mamba is the mongoose due to its great agility and immunity to venom. Hence, it preys upon venomous snakes such as black mambas easily.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles, including the yellow anaconda and the emerald tree boa.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our snake coloring pages.

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