Species group: Cobras and other Elapids
Scientific name: Dendroaspis polylepis
Stories concerning the aggressive nature and venom strength of snakes are often exaggerated. However, the Black Mamba comes close to living up to the legends that surround it. Extremely aggressive and delivering 100-120 milligrams of venom in a typical bite (the lethal dose is only 10-15 mg), Black Mambas cause many deaths in Africa. The fatality rate for untreated bites is 100%. Many zoos avoid exhibiting this species, which of course should never be kept in private collections.
The Black Mamba is found throughout much of south and east Africa south of the Sahara, from Eritrea to Namibia and South Africa. There are scattered reports of sightings in tropical western Africa.
The Black Mamba inhabits open forests, savannahs, thorn scrub, desert fringes, farms and villages. It climbs well and often shelters in tree hollows and thatched roofs.
Appearance / health:
The Black Mamba is the longest of Africa’s venomous snakes. It averages 2.2 – 2.7 meters (7.2 - 8.9 ft) in length, but in rare cases may reach 4.5 meters (15 ft). The un-patterned body may be olive, tan, brown or gray in color. The “black” part of its common name is derived from the color of mouth’s interior, which is displayed when the animal is threatened
Zoo specimens are stress-prone and do not live as long as most other snakes, usually to age 8-12.
Behavior / temperament:
In the confines of zoo exhibits, Black Mambas are always on the offensive, and very difficult to work with. As it is nearly impossible to service a cage occupied by a Black Mamba, zoos utilize shift cages in order to limit the possibility of bites.
It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite, or, prior to a bite, to arrange for treatment in a hospital.
Black Mambas actively hunt for frogs, lizards, snakes, birds, and mammals such as rock hyraxes and monkeys. Zoo animals are fed rats and mice.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
dangerous terrestrial snakes, Adult Black Mambas, Untreated mamba bites, dangerous snake, fastest snake
"I first came across Yaz as I was trimming the leaves in my compound next to our house. He was a small little thing, not fully grown and relatively newly hatched. I built up a habitat using newspaper and dirt and a piece of a termite mound. He immediately headed for the termite mound and got used to the habitat surprisingly quickly. The first few days were hell trying to get him to eat, though water wasn't a problem, though I was able to get him to eat geckos by killing them first. After that it was touch and go for a bit , until we settled into a good rhythm. I found he liked toads(the small ones) the most. He was a surprisingly vulnerable creature. The first week he would try initially to get away when I came too close, by hiding in his home, but eventually I was able to coax him out of hiding by being regular and he got used to my presence as I fed him. He was very very picky about what he ate, and really did not like loud noises or many people. And new places. Having a black mamba can be a pleasure, but take this from me; this is one snake you want to stay away from until you've had the proper experience and training to handle. It's very high maintenance and extremely dangerous. When not comfortable I've seen them refuse to eat or drink anything for days on end or regurgitate their food. And the speed, you wouldn't believe how fast they can move. One minute Yaz was still, less than a second later he whiplashed towards his prey. I had luck on my side and never got even a threatening stance towards me, which was fortunate, and he was surprisingly predictable in habit. I always remembered though that if he attacked I could easily die. I took precautions, very essential.."
From AnimalEnthusiastR Sep 14 2016 11:53AM
"Keeping black mambas is not for everyone!<br><br>I kept a black mamba for about five years, during which time I grew to both love and hate him at the same time. The good times were when he did not try to kill me, and the bad times were when he actually hurt himself against the glass of his enclosure in his single minded determination to succeed. <br><br>Untreated mamba bites are invariably fatal, and no matter how careful you are, you could get bitten (several times in quick succession) when you least expect it. Nonetheless, during the time I kept Satan, as I called him, I came to appreciate his cunning, his intelligence, and his vulnerabilities, especially during the times he fled from prey, usually large, angry rats fighting for their lives.<br><br>A mamba is all a snake should be- intelligent, ruthless in the hunt, and completely uncaring about my efforts to keep him fed and watered. After about five years, Satan had grown to about 6 ft in length, and had become too powerful and dangerous to keep anymore. I donated him to our local reptile park, which cost me a pretty penny, since they fined me for keeping an indigenous snake without a permit; but the permit is not the issue- mambas are extremely dangerous, and will certainly kill you if they get only half a chance, so no, based on my experience with just one specimen, I would most definitely not keep another. And neither should anyone else- the risk of getting killed by your "pet" snake is just not worth the rush of "owning" one of the most dangerous terrestrial snakes in the world.."
From reinier1 Mar 30 2015 5:17AM