Science

Top 10 Amazing Facts about Black Mamba

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Snakes are the most feared animals and are found in almost every part of the world. There are about 3600 species of snakes in the world. Out of these only 600 are venomous snakes.

The Black Mamba Snake is one of the deadliest snakes in the world. Black Mambas have a fearsome reputation. They are very fast, highly venomous and become very aggressive when threatened.

Here are some interesting facts about the black mamba snakes that will surely amaze you!

Fact #1 Black Mamba Description

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The Black Mamba is Africa’s longest most venomous snake. They are the fastest snakes in the world. Black mambas are capable of reaching speeds of up to 20km/h.

The Black Mamba is a member of the family Elapidae. It is native to parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

The black Mamba is a long, thin snake with a coffin-shaped head. They can grow up to 14 ft but the average length of the Black mambas is 8.2 ft. It is the second-longest venomous snake after the King Cobra.

The Black Mambas have brown, grey or olive body colour with a lighter underbelly and are rarely black. They get their name from the blue-black colour of the inside of their mouth, which they display when threatened.

Juvenile snakes are lighter in colour than adults; they are typically grey or olive green and darken as they age. The black mamba is recorded to live up to 11 years and may live longer.

Read More: Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes in the world

Fact #2 Habitat

The black mamba inhabits a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa. Its range runs from moist savannas and rocky hills of southern and eastern Africa. The largest numbers of them are believed to be around the Republic of Congo.

They prefer moderately dry environments such as light woodland and scrub, rocky outcrops and semi-arid savanna. They are not generally found above the altitude of 1000 m. But in Kenya, they can be found in some locations at an altitude of 1,800 m and 1,650 m in Zambia.

Read More: Top 10 Amazing Facts About Snakes

Fact #3 Behavior

The black mamba is both terrestrial and arboreal that means they live on land and trees both. On land, black mambas dwell in termite mounds, abandoned holes, tunnels, narrow rock cracks and tree cracks as shelter.

The black mambas are diurnal, they remain active during the daytime and sleep or remain inactive in the nights. They generally return to the same basking site daily.

They are very unpredictable and nervous snakes at the same time they are agile and move very quickly. They rarely tolerate humans approaching and always seek to escape to a hole or bush when confronted.

When cornered, they will raise their heads, sometimes with a third of their body off the ground and will wide open to expose its black mouth, flicker its tongue, spread their cobra-like neck-flap and hiss.

If the black mamba attacks it strikes repeatedly, injecting large amounts of potent venom with each strike. It can strike 12 times in a row.

Read More: Top 10 Astonishing Facts about King Cobra

Fact #4 Diet

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The black mamba mostly preys on small vertebrates such as birds and small mammals like rodents, bats, hyraxes and bushbabies. Large black mambas may sometimes attack large prey such as rock hyrax or dassies.

They hunt their prey by biting it, injecting venom and then releasing it. The black mamba does not hold on the prey like other snakes. They then follow it until it becomes paralyzed or dies, at which point they swallow it.

Read More: Top 10 Amazing Facts about Cats

Fact #5 Black Mamba Venom

The black mamba is the most feared snake in Africa because of its size, aggression, venom toxicity and speed of onset of symptoms following bite.

Like cobras and coral snakes, the venom of a black mamba contains neurotoxins. In a single bite, it can deliver up to 400mg of venom. Before the advent of its antivenin, a bite from this deadly snake was 100 per cent fatal, usually within about 20 minutes. A single bite can kill anywhere from 10-25 adults.

Without any medical assistance, most known fatalities have occurred within 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Read More: Top 10 Deadliest Insects in the World

Fact #6 Bite

The initial symptom of the bite may be a tingling sensation in the area of the bite, tunnel vision, double vision, foaming of the mouth or nose, loss of muscle control, confusion.

The black mamba venom does not contain protease enzymes. Its bites do not generally cause local swelling or necrosis.

If proper medical attention is not given, symptoms rapidly progress to severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, cardiotoxicity and paralysis. Eventually, the victim experiences convulsions, respiratory arrest, coma and then death.

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Fact #7 Reproduction

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The breeding period of the black mamba starts from September to February. The black mamba males wrestle and compete by twisting around each other. The winner pins the losers head to the ground. Some observers have mistaken this for courtship.

During mating, the male will smoothly move and twist over the upper side of the female and will flicker its tongue. The female will signal its readiness to mate by lifting its tail and staying still. The male will then coil itself around the posterior end of the female and align its tail ventrolaterally with the female.

Intromission may last longer than two hours while the pair remain motionless apart from occasional spasms from the male.

Read More: Top 50 Weird Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Fact #8 Juvenile Black Mambas

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The black mamba is oviparous. The female lays a clutch of 6 to 17 eggs. The eggs are elongated oval in shape and are typically 60–80 mm (2.4–3.1 in) long and 30–36 mm (1.2–1.4 in) in diameter.

When hatched, the young range from 40–60 cm (16–24 in) in length. They may grow quickly, reaching up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) after their first year. Juveniles are very anxious, fearful and can be deadly like the adults.

Read More: Top 48 Weird Facts about Animals

Fact #9 Black Mamba Species

There are four species of mambas. Jameson’s mamba, eastern green mamba and western green mamba are the other species. Mambas are in the same family, Elapidae, as coral snakes and cobras.

All other mamba species are smaller and slightly less venomous as compared to the black mamba, but still very poisonous. These snakes are all brilliant green. These species are also all arboreal, residing in trees. They are known to drop from branches onto their prey below.

Fact #10 Conservation Status and Threats

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The black mamba is not endangered, with a classification of “least concern” on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. The snake is abundant throughout its range, with a stable population.

The black mamba does face some threats also. The Cape file snake is immune to all African snake venom and will prey upon any mamba. Mongooses are also partially immune to black mamba venom and are quick enough to kill a juvenile snake without getting bitten.

Snake eagles hunt the black mamba, particularly the Black-chested snake eagle and brown snake eagle. Even humans kill the snakes out of fear.

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