Species group: Cobras and other Elapids
Other common names: Hallowell's Green Mamba; West African Green Mamba
Scientific name: Dendroaspis Viridis
In common with its relatives, the fast-moving Western Green Mamba produces highly-toxic venom and strikes repeatedly when cornered. Nearly all documented bites have proven fatal. Many zoos hesitate to exhibit this species, which of course is completely unsuitable as a “pet”!
The Western Green Mamba is native to West Africa, where in ranges from Senegal to Benin.
This highly arboreal snake favors coastal rainforests, but is also to be found in heavily-wooded savannahs and overgrown thickets within suburban parks and villages.
Appearance / health:
The Western Green Mamba is very slender in build and reaches a length of 1.4 – 2.4 meters (4.6 - 7.9 ft). The body is bright to yellowish green in color, with black skin showing between the scales. The tail is often yellow.
Zoo specimens are nervous and stress-prone, and do well only in large, heavily-planted exhibits. Captives have reached age 18.
Behavior / temperament:
In the confines of zoo exhibits, Western Green Mambas are often on the offensive, as flight options are restricted. Zoos generally 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.
Western Green Mambas actively hunt for frogs, lizards, bird eggs, and arboreal mammals such as bats and squirrels. Zoo animals are fed rats and mice.
Males battle for mating rights in the spring. Females produce 5-20 eggs, which hatch in 70-90 days, 2-3 months after mating. The youngsters measure 35-45 cm (13-18 in) in length.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
venomous snake keepers, great display snake
deadly invasive species, powerful venom, human deaths
You Want a Mamba? Think Again...and Again!
Although I have worked with green mambas and other Elapids (cobras, seasnakes, kraits, coral snakes and their relatives) in zoos for many years, they have always kept me on edge, and ill at ease. Mambas are far more alert, fast-moving, and high strung than are most other snakes. I’ve always believed that “discretion is the better part of valor” where they are concerned. The last time I was called upon to pack up and ship a black mamba, my younger co-workers excitedly anticipated the coming “battle”. My tactic of keeping the snake so hungry that it shot into the packing crate (which I had scented with a mouse) on its own was a great let-down – but I’m alive to recount the story!
Although they are fascinating, green mambas are suitable for display in zoos only, and should never be kept in private collections. People who are genuinely interested in working with venomous snakes are best-advised to seek careers as herpetologists or professional zookeepers.
The mamba venom, fully capable of causing rapid fatalities, is quite complex. Neurotoxins, which affect the nervous system by causing respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, predominate. However, all Elapid venoms have hemotoxic components as well, along with the enzyme Hyaluronidase, which speeds venom diffusion..
From findiviglio Jan 23 2016 8:57PM