graceful, alert and unpredictable deadly poisonous snake and is active during
the day, hunting for food. Hunting is done from a permanent lair to which it
will return regularly. If it senses danger it will quickly slither away into
Mamba showing black inside of mouth
The Black Mamba is named not for it's skin colour, but
because the inside of the mouth is black. This
snake mainly lives in termite mounds, mammal burrows and rock outcrops. It
normally attempts to escape
when approached, but if cornered will
bite readily and often.
This snake can lift
two-thirds of it's body off the ground when striking. Author was present when a
black mamba struck against a closed window when driven over by a car.
black mamba family was observed on the banks of the Limpopo River. There
were three mambas, each about 2,5 meters long, occupying a heap of large
creeper-covered boulders near a river bank. Sugar birds would hover near the
creeper, virtually motionless despite their whirring wings as they gathered
nectar, pursuing one another in swift, darting flight, seemingly unaware of the
snakes. Every once in a while one of the birds would fly too close and be
snapped up, fluttering desperately as the deadly poison took quick toll of its
victim. The birdís struggle lasted a few minutes before it hung loosely in the
snakeís jaws. Sometimes the birds were swallowed immediately but frequently
the mamba released its grip, placed its prey on the rock and inspected it with
flicking tongue before starting the meal.
A change of diet was provided by a
rock-rabbit or coney which ventured too close. No sooner had it squatted down to
scratch itself than one of the mambas slid from under the creeper, delivered a
quick bite, instantly releasing its grip to await the effect of the venom. The
rock-rabbit scuttled back to the crevice energetically as if it has not received
a fatal dose, but the mamba was confident. After a few minutes it slid after its
victim, dragged it from the crevice, checked to ensure that it was dead then
grabbed its head and started eating.
squirrels, dassies and other mammals.
Oviparous. Lays 6-17 eggs. Hatchlings 500-600 mm.
of prey and other snakes.
mounds, hollow tree trunks, granite hillocks in moist savanna and lowland
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