Man's health

Snake black mamba


Who is the black mamba? Surely everyone heard this exotic name. The black mamba is the most poisonous snake in Africa from the Aspid family. Also, the black mamba snake is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and in the world. In this article you will find a description and photo of a black mamba, as well as be able to learn a lot of new and interesting things about this poisonous and dangerous snake.

What does a black mamba snake look like?

The black mamba is a very poisonous and dangerous snake of Africa. Black mamba looks very frightening. The size of the black mamba makes it the second venomous snake in size after the king cobra. The length of the black mamba can reach up to 4 meters, but on average its size is 2.5-3 meters. Snake black mamba is one of the fastest in the world. The speed of a black mamba at short distances may exceed 11 km / h.

Despite the name, the black mamba does not look black at all. This unusual name of the snake black mamba acquired because of the inky coloring of its mouth. The body color of the black mamba varies from dark olive to grayish brown, with a beautiful metallic sheen. The tail part looks darker than the main color, as it has darker scales. In this case, the ventral side of a poisonous black mamba has a dirty white or light brown color. Juveniles are slightly brighter than older ones. The color of the black mamba serves as a good disguise for her and varies depending on the habitat.

The black mamba looks like a slender snake, but among other mambas it is the largest. The snake black mamba weighs 1.5 kg on average. The mouth of a black mamba has teeth whose length is 6.5 mm. Through them, she injects her poison during a bite. The mouth of a black mamba has a peculiar cut. Because of this snake, the black mamba looks smiling, but you should not flatter yourself on the friendliness of this poisonous snake in Africa.

Where does the black mamba snake live and how does the most dangerous snake of Africa live?

The black mamba snake lives in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, preferring semi-arid areas. Mostly black mamba lives in savannas and light forests. The black mamba snake rarely climbs trees and shrubs, mostly living on land. This dangerous snake of Africa has a large area of ​​distribution. The black mamba lives in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in South Sudan, southern Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, eastern Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. In southern Africa, the black mamba snake lives in the territory of Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, southern Angola and the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Here is such a wide range of one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa.

Compared to other mambas, this one is least suitable for living in trees. Therefore, poisonous black mamba mostly lives on the ground among shrubby vegetation. To bask in the sun of a snake, a black mamba can climb a tree or shrub, but still prefers to be on the ground most of the time. Sometimes a black mamba lives in hollows of trees, abandoned termitaries and empty burrows.

The black mamba also lives on rocky slopes and in river valleys with fallen trees. Snake black mamba prefers to equip long-term nests for living. The most dangerous snake of Africa does not live in deserts and dense tropical forests. As a rule, the black mamba snake lives no higher than 1 km above sea level. But in Zambia, the black mamba is found at a height of 1.5 km above sea level, and in Kenya it is 1.8 km.

Despite the fact that the black mamba is the most dangerous and poisonous snake in Africa, even it has enemies. The main enemies of the black mamba are some birds of prey that hunt it. First of all, these are black and brown serpent eaters; the black mamba becomes their victim of the snake most often. Another enemy of the black mamba is the needle snake, which is inherently immune to the poisons of all African snakes. Also the danger for the black mamba is mongooses, which sometimes hunt her and deftly avoid attacks, and also have acquired immunity from the bite of the black mamba.

Who does the black mamba kill?

The snake black mamba is notorious and in Africa the locals hear the name of its shudder. On the continent, the snake is respected, revered and very afraid. And not in vain, because the locals speak about the black mambo as a symbol of death, even the name of the snake in their language means “black death”. In areas of Africa, where this snake is common, there is a mass of myths and legends about the black mamba.

Black mambu fear because it is very poisonous and fast. The black mamba snake is very agile and agile, it silently glides along the ground with its head held high. In the Guinness Book of Records, the black mamba is the fastest snake in the world, because a black mamba’s speed of 11 km / h is common. However, there are not grounded legends about the multiplication of the high-speed abilities of this snake.

Despite its far from peaceful nature, the most venomous snake, the black mamba, while meeting a person, still tries to avoid contact. She freezes to go unnoticed and tries to slip away unnoticed. In most cases, the black mamba attacks only when she is taken by surprise or cornered. If you can not avoid contact, the black mamba snake becomes aggressive, but it never hisses. Black mamba rises, leaning on the tail and wide open mouth, this posture is warning. Then the black mamba makes a series of lightning shots and instantly bites the body or face. It happens that a black mamba snake can bite on the move when trying to escape, but choosing the wrong direction in the direction of disturbing it. In such cases, the person does not immediately discover that he was the victim of a black mamba bite. But after a while, various symptoms of poisoning appear.

The black mamba snake is very dangerous, the main danger is the poison of the black mamba. The bite of a black mamba is fatal. Fortunately, there is now an antidote. The poison of the black mamba is highly toxic and contains neurotoxins, without antidote, paralysis and apnea occur. Death can occur within an hour after being bitten, as the black mamba injects a lot of poison.

The black mamba eats small animals. The black mamba kills various rodents, bats and birds. The most dangerous snake of Africa hunts in the daytime, but at night it is oriented no worse than during the day. In spite of their speed abilities, usually a black mamba will attack from an ambush in which he can wait, lurking for a very long time.

Snake black mamba prefers to ambush in the same place. Body color perfectly masks it and allows you to go unnoticed. As soon as the prey appears in sight, the black mamba makes a lightning shot and bites the victim. If one bite is not enough and the animal tries to escape, it will pursue it and apply new bites until the prey dies from the effects of the poison. The black mamba digests prey in 8-10 hours.

The poison of the black mamba contains high-speed neurotoxins. For one bite, a black mamba injects 100-120 mg of poison, while for an adult, the lethal dose is only 10-15 mg. In 100% of cases, without the introduction of human antidote, death is expected.

After the bite of a black mamba, a person feels a burning pain, and in its place a tumor forms, necrosis is possible. Then digestive system disorders begin (unusual taste in the mouth, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). The next stage is the onset of progressive peripheral paralysis, and without the introduction of an antidote, death from respiratory failure occurs. Therefore, if you are bitten by a black mamba, it is not worth delaying with the introduction of the antidote.

Black mamba: the reproduction of the most venomous snake

Black mambas live alone, the only exception is the period of the pair in the mating season. The breeding season of the black mamba comes in the spring, at this time the males begin to search for a partner. It often happens that several males fight for a female. They intertwine with each other, beat each other with their heads and everyone tries to raise their heads as high as possible in order to show their superiority. Males of the black mamba fight until the weaker admits defeat and crawls away. The winner does not pursue him. In their struggle, the males do not use poison. The strongest male gets all the rights to the female.

In the middle of summer, the female of the black mamba lays from 6 to 17 eggs in a secluded warm place. In about 2.5-3 months, little serpents are born. Cubs of the black mamba hatch completely formed and independent. Lethal poison serpents have from birth. Therefore, in the care of the mother, they do not need and can independently obtain their food. The born serpents have a length of up to 60 cm and can already swallow small rodents. A year later, the young black mamba reach a length of 2 meters and can eat larger food. In nature, the black mamba snake lives no more than 12 years.

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The black mamba is the most venomous snake in the world and the largest snake of the mamba family. Her poison kills a small rodent in a few seconds. A man dies from the bite of a black mamba for thirty minutes

Family - Aspid Snakes

Rod / Species - Dendroaspis polylepis

Length: maximum - more than 4 m, on average - 3 m.

Puberty: age unknown.

Marriage period: spring and early summer.

Number of eggs: 6-15, the shell is soft and white.

Habits: black mambas (see photo) are held apart.

What feeds on: rodents, bats, other small mammals, birds, lizards.

Poison: acts on the nervous system, causes death from suffocation.

Lifespan: in captivity up to 12 years, in nature less.

Related species - narrow-headed mamba, western mamba.

The black mamba is the largest snake of the mamba genus and one of the most venomous in the world. This species of snake is common from Senegal to Somalia and from Ethiopia to South-West Africa, but the reptile does not occur in the tropical rain forests of the Congo Basin. The black mamba is the fastest snake.


A black mamba needs a lot of food because it is very active and almost constantly moving. Her diet includes mostly small vertebrates - birds, lizards and rodents. The poison of the mamba is very strong and causes the death of a small rodent in a few seconds. Before attacking the victim, the mamba raises the front part of the body to a height of 1 m. These snakes are extremely nimble, fast, and most often bite without warning. Deadly poison Mamba injects through 2 poisonous fangs, which are located on the upper jaw. Digestion of food begins even before it is in the stomach of the mamba. Her saliva contains digestive juices, and poison also affects the decomposition of food.


In the afternoon, the black mamba basks in the sun or hunts. During the hunt, it quickly rises along the low branches of bushes or crawls along the ground. This strong and agile snake can hold its head above the ground at a height of about 50 cm. In this way, it looks around. If a mamba is irritated or disturbed by something, she opens her mouth wide open, using this posture as a threatening technique.

At night, the snake returns to its hole. It uses abandoned burrows dug by other animals, holes under termitaries, crevices in the rocks, or depressions under the trunks of trees. To improve blood circulation, the black mamba needs a lot of heat. Therefore, she spends most of the day on flat stones or on the lower branches of bushes, where she basks in the sun.

In the hottest months, the snake returns to its shelter under the ground, even in the afternoon, to cool. Like other snakes, the black mamba molts. The first molt occurs shortly after hatching, then repeats approximately every 2 months. Young snakes molt more often.


In the mating season, in early spring and early summer, the male of the black mamba in search of a partner overcomes long distances. After mating, the snakes crawl away. The female in a pile of rotting plants or in a rotten stump lays from 6 to 15 white eggs. The heat generated during decay accelerates the development of the embryo.

Immediately after hatching, young black mambas are independent and can overcome prey as large as a mouse or even a small rat. Cubs grow very quickly and in a year reach two meters in length. Despite their deadly weapons, young mambas are often victims of mongooses and other predatory animals.


  • The black mamba is the fastest snake. At a short distance, it develops a speed of up to 23 km / h, its usual speed is 11 km / h.
  • Many snakes have a dark, mamba-like back. It helps to get more solar heat. In snakes living in the desert, the color is lighter, thanks to this they reflect more heat and their body does not overheat.
  • An animal the size of a large rat a mamba can digest for nine hours.
  • Black mambas are bred to take poison from them for medical needs.


Threatening posture: The black mamba is the largest snake of the mamba genus. Before attacking the enemy, it raises the front of the body to a height of about one meter above the ground.

Jaws: on top has only two long poisonous fangs. On the bottom, the two front teeth are greatly enlarged, which helps the mamba retain food.

Body position: even moving very fast, the mamba keeps its head above the ground at a height of about 50 cm.

Speed: traveling long distances, the mamba crawls at a speed of about 11 km / h, and at short distances it reaches a speed of up to 23 km / h.

Color: from above dark brown or black, and a belly light brown or white.

- Habitat black mamba

Black mamba is spread from Senegal to Somalia and from Ethiopia to South-West Africa. The narrow-headed mamba lives in the forests of East Africa from Kenya to Natal and on the island of Zanzibar. West Mamba is found in West Africa and on the island of Sao Tome.


Nowadays, this species does not face extinction.

Interesting facts - Black mamba. Video (00:04:10)

Mamba is one of the most dangerous snakes on the planet.
There are many dangerous snakes on our planet, such as anaconda, python, cobra, and rattlesnake. Among the most dangerous and aggressive snakes there is a place for the hero of today's release - the black mamba. By the way, an interesting fact - the black mamba received such a name not because of the color of scales, the name of the mamba is obliged to graze which, as you have already guessed, is black.

2. The Viper's Deadly Serpent

This dangerous snake belongs to the genus of dead snakes of the aspid family. She lives on the island of New Guinea and in Australia. It is a nocturnal predator that prefers to hunt mammals, birds, and other snakes. The snakelike deadly snake uses a neurotoxic venom, which injects in the amount of 40-100 mg. In an adder-shaped deadly snake, an incredibly fast lunge - in just 0.13 seconds it is thrown out, takes a bite and comes back.
After its bite, paralysis of muscles, respiratory organs and depression of the heart work develops, as a result of which a person may die within 6 hours. Every second bite of this snake leads to death.

3. Black mamba

This is the most dangerous African snake from the family of asps, although the poison in it is not a record strong, but in each instance of the snake there is one to kill 10 people. This is the second venomous snake after the cobra, growing to more than three meters. Especially dangerous black mambo make her sprint qualities - she is able to accelerate to a speed of more than 11 km / h. In this case, an angry snake will attack the victim again and again (up to 12 times) and can replenish it during this time with 400 mg of poison. The snake itself can be colored differently - from olive to grayish, but in any case, the mucous mouth of her always eerily black, from which the name of the species. The habitats of its habitat are savannas and rocky mountains of Eastern and Southern Africa. She sleeps in open low spaces, rock crevices, tree hollows, abandoned termite mounds.
If you do not provide urgent help to a person (within 20 minutes) after being bitten by a black mamba, then he has practically no chance. Her venom causes uncontrollable vomiting, abdominal pain, convulsions, alternating paralysis and death. Dreadfully afraid Africans call this serpent the "kiss of death." But in fairness it should be noted that the black mamba is not aggressive and tries to sneak out in every possible way, and becomes dangerous only in a hopeless situation. But even with all this, about 20 thousand people die from a black mamba bite every year in Africa.

4. Philippine cobra

The classic image of the cobra is known to all at the expense of moving apart ribs, forming a kind of hood. Compared with the other venomous snakes, they are not so dangerous, but not the Philippine variety. Её яд силён и сам по себе (сильнее, чем у остальных кобр), да и впрыскивать его кобра за один укус может до 250 мг, а этого достаточно, чтобы отправить на небо несколько человек. Уже через полчаса после укуса может наступить смерть, поэтому часто люди просто не успевают использовать давно созданные противоядия, поскольку прогрессирующий паралич мускулатуры дыхательной системы часто невозможно остановить. Но филиппинская кобра особенно опасна тем, что способна не только кусать, но и точно плевать в глаз ядом с расстояния до 3 метров.

5. Малайский синий крайт

У живущего в Индонезии и Юго-Восточной Азии малайского синего крайта яд в 16 раз сильнее, чем у королевской кобры. His poison contains a variety of toxins, so a universal antidote for him was never created.
The bite of blue Krayta causes convulsions at first, then paralysis, and later 85% of those bitten die. We are only lucky that these snakes are nocturnal, so they rarely intersect with humans. In addition, unlike the same Taipan, the blue Krayt is not so aggressive and tends to dodge the skirmish and escape.

6. Tiger snake

The tiger snake lives in Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. It belongs to the family of asps, has wide transverse alternating yellow and gray rings - in the style of tigers, hence the name of the species.
These snakes have a very strong poison, causing paralysis of the muscles, oppression of pulmonary activity and death from suffocation. Bitten small animals often die right at the site of the bite, and when a person is bitten without the use of an antidote, up to 70% of the bitten die during the next day. Relief can only be considered non-aggressive tiger snakes, who at every opportunity try to retreat, and attacking only in stalemate.

7. Rattlesnake

This species of snake is so named because it has keratinized scaly plates on its tail, shaking which, at the moment of danger, the snake makes quite a specific specific crackling sound. Actually, only two North American genera have such an apparatus, which include rattlesnakes, which are relatives of vipers. Pitfalls live in both Americas.
A person will not have too many chances to survive, if after a bite of a rattler he does not quickly introduce an antidote. Especially poisonous is the Oriental Grezuchnik, whose range consists of the territories of North Carolina and the southern Florida Peninsula.

8. King cobra

The largest of all venomous snakes is the king cobra or hamadryad. It belongs to the family of asps. On average, its size is 3-4 meters, but rare specimens grow to 5.6 m. The king cobra lives in the tropical forests of Pakistan, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and for a long time - more than 30 years, without stopping its growth until death. The hamadryad is characterized by the ability to lift the head vertically and to move in such a position. They often live near human habitation, as they feed on other snakes, and they, in turn, eat numerous rodents, attracted by human crops.
This snake seems noble, because, as a rule, when meeting, the first bite does not inject poison, but in order to scare away the enemy, and only upon a second bite resorts to it. In fact, she just saves her weapon. By the way, the king cobra has not very strong poison, but in large quantities. Basically, its poison has a neurotoxic effect. If you really have to bite for real, then the cobra does not stint and injects a huge amount of poison (up to 7 ml), which in 15 minutes is guaranteed to kill a person. In such cases, 3 out of 4 people die. But such cases are rare, so only 10% of hamadryad bites are fatal.

9. Sandy Epha

In the countries of Asia (on the Arabian Peninsula, in India, Sri Lanka and South-West Asia) and Africa, there are ephas in sandy deserts and dry savannas. They become especially active after the rain. These snakes have decent speed and a special way to travel along sand dunes.
The sandy efah has a somewhat unusual poison, which acts very slowly: from the moment of the bite, it can take 2-4 weeks before a person dies. The bite site begins to hurt first, then the bitten limb swells, blood pressure drops and tissue necrosis begins. But with the timely introduction of serum fatal outcome can be avoided. At sand ef rather aggressive and irritable nature. However, their habitat is often in contact with the environment of human activity. Efy active at night. They attack with lightning speed, injecting hematoxin, which destroys red blood cells, as well as muscle and organ tissues. In general, mortality from the bite of epha is at a very high level.

10. Belcher's Sea Snake

This is one of the most venomous sea snakes, whose poison has an LD50 of 0.1 micrograms. She lives mainly in the waters of the warm Indian Ocean. But for humans, this snake, like most other sea snakes, is not too dangerous, because it does not show much aggression and is very stingy in the sense of using its poison. Therefore, the majority of sea snake bites cost man without tragic consequences. To get the sea snake out of itself and make it bite, we must also try. At least the snake goes only with real danger to itself.
A person may not feel the bite itself, but after a few minutes, he begins to have convulsions, the nervous system and breathing are paralyzed, after which death results from suffocation.

How does it look

The black mamba has a large size and reaches a length of 2.5-3 m, an average weight of 1.6 kg. It belongs to the family of asps. It is considered the longest of the poisonous snakes of Africa. Her tail is long. The body is flattened above and below. The internal cavity of the mouth is painted black and has such a cut that gives the snake a smiling look. Such coloring of a mouth is necessary for reptiles for intimidation of enemies. The length of poisonous teeth - 2.5 mm. The eyes are large, dark. Body color - dark olive, gray-brown with a metallic sheen. The belly is light, white with a mixture of gray or brown. Due to this color, the snake can be almost indistinguishable in habitat. Sexual dimorphism in these reptiles is not pronounced. On average, black mambas can live up to 12 years.

Nutrition and Lifestyle

Outside the mating season, black mambas lead a solitary way of life. They are considered the fastest snakes on the planet. They are able to make lightning attacks and pursue the victim at a speed of 20 km / h. Mambas feed on warm-blooded animals:

  • rodents,
  • small mammals
  • feathered.
They hunt during the day. Food is digested for 8-10 hours. To recharge energy and digest food daily creep out under the sun's rays for bathing. Despite her abilities, the black mamba, like all snakes, tries to avoid meeting a person.

It attacks only when it feels danger or when it has been disturbed, provoked. She may freeze for a while in the hope that the person will not notice her. Often, in search of a dwelling for the "dead season", it crawls into human dwellings, cars, settles in courtyards. Also loves to live on reed plantations.


The mating season for these reptiles comes at the end of spring - at the beginning of summer. At this time, the males are fighting for the right to mate with females, which emit a special smell. However, in the end, the last word for the female, which chooses the male. Couples for a long period do not form these snakes. After they mate, the female searches for a secluded dark and warm place to lay eggs. One individual can make a laying of 6-17 eggs. Outside the mother's body, eggs develop over a period of 3 months. Snakes are born with a length of up to 60 cm. Independent life and hunting can lead immediately. The first prey may well become a big rat.

By the age of one year old, they can reach a length of 2 m. Poisonous glands are formed in these reptiles from birth. Therefore, mambas are a danger to a person from the first minutes of life. Small snakes are especially aggressive.

What is dangerous poison black mamba for a person

As is known, snake venom is divided into 2 types of human exposure: neurotoxic and hemavazotoxic. The poison of the mamba has a neurotoxic effect, as a result of which the neuromuscular transmission is blocked and paralysis occurs. At the same time, local reactions in the form of reddening of the skin at the site of the bite, edema are almost non-existent. There is an instant depression of the nervous system and the respiratory center is paralyzed, resulting in death. A person feels a burning pain at the site of the bite, tingling in the lips, double vision, a specific taste in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, sharp pains in the abdomen are observed. The body temperature rises, there is a loss of coordination of movements.

For 1 time, this snake is able to release 400 mg of poison, on average - 100-120 mg. She can put not a few bites, and many alternate. The fatal dose for one person is 10-15 mg. To escape from the bite of the mamba is almost impossible. When biting on a finger, death occurs within 4 hours, and if it is bitten on the face, after 15-20 minutes.

Salvation can only be timely, within 20 minutes, injected serum (in the case of a bite into a vein - a few minutes). Other traditional methods used to bite snakes, such as: sucking poison, immobilizing the limb, taking antihistamines, etc., are ineffective. Mortality rate in the absence of serum is 100%.

Arrangement of terrarium

Snakes at home are kept in a terrarium. A black mamba will require a container with walls not lower than 1 m and not shorter than 2 m. At least one of the walls must be made of glass in order to be able to watch the reptile and monitor its condition. Terrarium should be equipped with snags, living and artificial vegetation, stones. The bottom is covered with loose material, small gravel. The temperature inside the home of the snake should be around 26-28 degrees. A separate corner can be warmed up to +30. +35 ° C. At night, the temperature should not fall below 24 degrees. Duration of daylight hours in the summer - 16 hours, in the winter - 12 hours.

Feeding the mamba needs to be done twice or thrice a week. At home she is given birds and small rodents. When feeding a snake with live venomous poisonous glands, the host will need to give it in a half-dead state.

If the product is frozen, then it must be defrosted before feeding. For a full range of vitamins in the diet of snakes, you should introduce bio-additives, for example:

  • "Reptala",
  • ReptoCala,
  • ReptoLife.
Mandatory snake need to provide water. It can be poured into a special spacious drinking bowl. Also several times a week the reptile and terrarium need to be sprayed with water. Be sure to do this during the molting period.

Safety measures when handling a snake

When keeping a reptile in the house, you need to take care of security measures:

  1. Cleaning in the terrarium is necessary only in special gloves or removing a reptile from it.
  2. If possible, do not take the snake in your hands or do it in special gloves.
  3. Have an antimeasure serum in the house and be able to use it.
  4. Have the opportunity at any time to consult with herpetologist and doctors.
  5. Ensure that the terrarium is sealed and securely closed.
  6. If possible, remove the poisonous glands.
  7. Do not keep snakes in families with children.

So, the black mamba is one of the most dangerous inhabitants on the planet, the bite of which is fatal to humans. Nevertheless, lovers of the exotic dare to start it at home. If you belong to such brave men, then you need to know the preferences of the snake when living and be sure to familiarize yourself with the security measures when handling it. It should be understood that the content of the poisonous reptile imposes a huge responsibility on its owner.


Black mamba under the scientific name Dendroaspis polylepis was described by a British zoologist of German origin, Albert Günther, in 1864 [2] [3]. In 1873, the German Wilhelm Peters classified two subspecies of this snake: D. p. polylepis and D. p. antinorii [3] [4], however, a consensus on their use has not been reached [2].

Generic name Dendroaspis is a combination of two ancient Greek words: δένδρον and æspɪs. The first of them is translated as "tree" [5], the second was called the shield, as well as some poisonous snakes, in particular, the Egyptian cobra and a nose-nosed viper [6]. Species part of the name polylepis It is also derived from two ancient Greek words: πολύ ("Many", "most") and λεπίς ("Scales").

Among the venomous snakes, the black mamba is only as big as the king cobra: its length is on average 2.5-3 meters [7]. There are reports of individual copies longer than 4.3 meters [7] [8], but to date this information has not been documented [9]. The average weight is about 1.6 kg [10] [11]. This is a rather slender snake, with a somewhat more massive compared to closely related green and narrow-headed mambas [7]. The body is compressed from above and below, the tail is long [12].

Contrary to the name, the dominant color of the snake is not black. Most of the individuals are dark-olive, olive-green, grayish-brown with a metallic sheen, the ventral side is light brown or off-white. In the back half of the body, darker spots may be present, alternation of dark and light scales in the back part of the body, creating the appearance of transverse striation on the sides, is also found. Juvenile coloring is lighter - grayish or olive. It received its name due to the black color of the internal cavity of the mouth, in a form similar to a coffin [8] [13].

The teeth are located in the front of the upper jaw, their length is about 6.5 mm [14]. Due to the characteristic cut of the mouth of the snake, it looks smiling, although it has nothing to do with the expression of emotions [9]. The characteristic of the scaly cover is as follows: around the middle of the body 23-25 ​​(occasionally 21), abdominal 248-281, subtail tail 109-132 paired, upper labial 7-8, inferior labial 11-13, temporal 2 + 3, preorbital 3 (less 4) , 2- or 5-fold (in most cases 3–4) scales. The anal shield is divided [15].

The black mamba's distribution area consists of several broken plots in a tropical part of Africa. The largest of these sites includes northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, southern Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, eastern Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. In the south of the continent, the snake lives in Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, southern Angola and the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal [14] [16]. In 1954 and 1956, two reports were published, according to which a snake was seen around the city of Dakar in Senegal in western Africa, but later no new facts appeared on this subject [16].

This snake is smaller than other mambas and is adapted to life in trees and usually rests on the ground among sparse woody or shrub vegetation. For sunbathing, the snake can climb a tree or shrub, but at other times prefers to stay down. Sometimes it hides in tree voids and abandoned termite mounds [17] [18]. The main biotopes are savannas with woody vegetation, light forest, rocky slopes, river valleys with fallen trees [16]. Avoids closed forests and deserts [12]. As a rule, the snake does not rise above 1000 m above sea level. In Zambia, it is found up to 1650 m, in Kenya up to 1800 m above sea level [16].

A very mobile and agile snake slides along the ground with a raised front part of the body [19]. The Guinness Book of Records claims that the black mamba may be the fastest snake in the world and at a short distance it can reach speeds of up to 16-19 km / h [20]. According to other sources, the animal is hardly able to move faster than 16 [21] or even 12 km / h [9]. The documented record was recorded in 1906 in the Serengeti, when a deliberately provoked snake covered a distance of 43 m with an average speed of 11 km / h [22] [23] [24]. There are, however, unwarranted legends that the mamba successfully pursued a galloping horse and even a car [9].

Despite her abilities, the snake, when meeting a person, makes attempts to avoid contact in every possible way. She freezes in the hope that she will not be noticed and will pass by, or will try to sneak away just as imperceptibly. And only with the inevitable meeting the serpent becomes aggressive. Relying on the tail, it raises the front part of the body, flattens it in the form of a hood, and widely opens its mouth, using this posture as a threatening reception. If that doesn't help either, she performs a series of throws, aiming at the body or the head, and instantly bites. It happens that a snake bites on the move when it tries to hide in the direction of the stranger - in this case, the victim does not feel pain immediately and learns about the attack only after some time, when double vision and other symptoms of poisoning appear [19].

Hunting in the daytime. As a rule, waiting for prey from an ambush, as which often uses the same place [14]. After the first attack, if the animal tries to escape, pursues it and bites until it dies from the effects of poison [17]. It catches small mammals, including rodents, cape damans, galago, bats. From time to time birds fall victim to the attack [8] [23]. It takes only 8 to 10 hours to digest food [14] [23].

In early spring, males start searching for females, finding them by the smell of secretions. Finding a potential partner, the male probes her entire body with his tongue [14]. It happens that several males simultaneously fight for the right to own a female: having entwined bodies, each snake tries to raise its head as high as possible, thereby demonstrating its superiority, such a duel can sometimes be mistaken for mating [18]. В середине лета самки откладывают от 6 до 17 яиц, после чего через 80—90 дней на свет появляются молодые змейки, с первого дня обладающие ядом и способные самостоятельно добывать себе корм [14] . Вне периода образования пары чёрные мамбы ведут одиночный образ жизни. Продолжительность жизни в дикой природе не изучена, в неволе самая старая змея прожила 11 лет [14] .

В дикой природе у описываемого вида относительно немного врагов. На неё охотятся некоторые хищные птицы, в первую очередь змееяды. Из этих пернатых выделяются чёрный (Circaetus pectoralis) and brown (Circcaetus cinereus) snake eaters whose victim is often the black mamba. Needle snake Mehelya capensis, immune to the poisons of African snakes, is also considered one of the main enemies of the mamba [8] [25]. Mongooses, deftly avoiding snake attacks and also having some immunity from the bite, sometimes hunt the snake [26].

The poison of the black mamba contains high-speed neurotoxins and cardiotoxins, including calciseptin, an L-type calcium channel blocker. However, the main components of the poison of the mamba are dendrotoxins, blockers of potential-dependent potassium channels of nerve fibers. The poison also contains blockers of some types of muscarinic cholinergic receptors [27] [28] [29]. In one bite, the snake injects up to 400 mg of poison (usually 100-120 mg), and the lethal dose for an adult is 10-15 mg [29] [30]. Laboratory experiments on mice show that the indicator of toxicity of LD50 for them, it is 0.011 mg / kg intravenously [31]. For a person, the probability of death without immediate administration of an antidote is 100% [19] [32].

The injured person feels the burning pain of a local character, pronounced edema develops at the site of the bite. Possible necrosis, in rare cases, quite extensive. After a few minutes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, conjunctival hyperemia, unusual taste in the mouth may appear. The most serious systemic pathology is rapidly progressive peripheral paralysis, which in the absence of an antidote leads to death from respiratory failure [33] [34].

Snake description

The inhabitants of Africa call the mamba the “black death”. And this is not by chance. The fact is that she is able to pursue her prey in the open, at a speed of up to 20 km / h. In this case, before the attack of the snake will not hear any sound. Mamba is known for its sharp throw. The poison of the black mamba is so toxic that after a bite without an antidote a person will not survive even 30 minutes. For 1 time, African black mamba releases from 100 to 400 mg of poison, and this despite the fact that 20 mg is enough to kill an adult.

Mamba’s habitat ranges from Eastern to South-West Africa. The only exceptions are the tropical forests of the Congo. This representative of the family aspidovyh loves a warm climate, but does not tolerate moisture.

Mamba's habitat - the territory from Eastern to South-West Africa

Despite the name, the color of the snake varies from dark green to light olive. However, in nature there is also an individual of metallic color, known as the white mamba. Her belly is painted in a dirty white color, and dark shades appear closer to the tail. Juveniles have a light color. A distinctive feature of this type of mamba is the black mouth, which gave it a name.

In length, the white mamba reaches 3 m, and weighs about 2 kg. An unusual cut of her mouth is interesting - it resembles a smile. Fangs, in which poison is collected, grow in length to 25 mm. Mamba is an animal that feeds on lizards, termites, birds, small rodents, bats and even small snakes. The white mamba in nature has practically no enemies, since few would dare to attack it. The exceptions are the mongooses, eagles, snake eaters, and the needle snake mehelya capensis. A small mongoose is not only able to survive a poisonous bite, but even kills a mamba easily.

Interesting facts about the black mamba (video)

Despite the fact that the bite of the black mamba is deadly, nature has given it no poison to kill people. Experts say that it does not attack a person if he does not approach her. There are certain rules of behavior that will help you survive after meeting a black mamba:

  1. Do not approach the snake. She avoids attacks unless you get close to her. In this case, she regards the person as a threat and attacks him.
  2. The snake arranges its nests in the bushes or in a pile of brushwood. Do not come close to these places.
  3. The most important thing - when traveling around Africa with you always need to wear an antidote!

The black reptile easily adapts to any conditions. She hunts both at night and during the day, since she is well oriented in space. Recently, there has been an increase in attacks on humans, as the snake takes shelter even in the hollow of a tree in the park.

Green mamba

Another dangerous member of the aspid family is the green mamba.. She lives in the forests of South Africa, as well as in Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. Africans call her the “green devil” and fear even more than her black relative. It occupies the 14th place in the list of the most dangerous animals on planet Earth.

This poisonous snake is distinguished by its special color - it is characterized by green scales, which cast an emerald in the sun. The abdomen is colored lighter green. This is a woody reptile that rarely descends to the ground. It perfectly merges with the foliage, and therefore it is almost impossible to notice it. The green mamba is active by day, and at night she sleeps. Almost all the time she spends in the trees and very rarely goes down to the ground.

The length of an adult individual is about 1.5 m. The speed of a snake is small, since it moves along trees. A green mamba is not aggressive and can attack a person only in case of danger. However, this attack is always unexpected, since it is not accompanied by a warning hiss and preparation for the throw. Because of this, people have almost no chance of avoiding a bite.

The problem is that the reptile attacks from above, and not from the ground, as people are used to. Its toxicity surpasses even the poison of cobra in its toxicity. The situation is also complicated by the fact that the snake usually inflicts a number of bites, which is why the amount of poison in the blood exceeds the allowable dose by 6-9 times. The neurotoxic substance contained in the fluid introduced into the human body acts so quickly that doctors do not always have time to use the antidote, even if they are close to the victim. Unfortunately, a person after being bitten by a green mamba has almost no chance of survival.

In Africa, every year more than 40 people die from the bites of this reptile. Experts in the quality of prevention are advised to always wear tight clothes. The fact is that the snake constantly goes down by the collar and it is very difficult to get it from there. This process scares her, and she manages to put a series of bites. In addition, it is recommended to carefully look at the trees and tall bushes. Having noticed a reptile, it will be safer to bypass it.

Smile asps

It is not a testament to the stormy joy of the reptile at the sight of the victim, but merely reflects an anatomical feature - a characteristic cross-section of the mouth. The latter, by the way, looks like a mamba is constantly chewing blueberries, washing it down with ink. The maw, not the coloring of the scales, gave the name to this snake. Threateningly, the mamba opens its mouth wide, in the outlines of which a person with a developed imagination can easily see the coffin.

The first part of the scientific name Dendroaspis polylepis tells about the love of woody plants, where the snake often rests, the second one reminds of its increased flakeiness.

This is a slender reptile from the family of asps, although it is more representative than its close relatives - narrow-headed and green mambas.

Average parameters of a black mamba: 3 meters in length and 2 kg of weight. Herpetologists believe that in natural conditions adult snakes exhibit more impressive dimensions - 4.5 meters with 3 kg of weight.

Nevertheless, the black mamba does not reach the length of the unsurpassed royal cobra, but it is ahead of it (as well as all sable) in terms of the size of poisonous teeth, growing them to 22-23 mm.

In adolescence, the reptile has a light color - silver or olive. Growing up, the snake darkens, becoming dark olive, gray with a metallic sheen, olive green, but never black!

Record holder among snakes

Dendroaspis polylepis - uncrowned owner several shocking titles:

  • The most poisonous snake in Africa (and one of the most toxic on the planet).
  • The longest snake snake of Africa.
  • The generator is the fastest snake venom.
  • The most rapid venomous snake on the globe.

The last title is certified by the Guinness Book of Records, which states that in the short distance the reptile accelerates to 16-19 km / h.

However, in the officially recorded record of 1906, more restrained figures are indicated: 11 km / h at 43 meters in one of the reserves in East Africa.

In addition to the eastern part of the continent, the black mamba is found in abundance in its semi-arid central and southern regions.

The area covers Angola, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Central African Republic, Senegal, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Somalia, Tanz , Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

The snake inhabits woodlands, savannas, river valleys with dry trees and rocky slopes. A tree or shrub serves as a sun lounger for a mamba basking under the sun, but, as a rule, it prefers the earth's surface, gliding between plants.

Occasionally a snake crawls into old termite mounds or voids in the trees.

Black mamba lifestyle

The laurels of the discoverer of Dendroaspis polylepis belong to the famous herpetologist Albert Günther. He made his discovery in 1864, giving the description of the snake only 7 lines. For a half century of human knowledge about this deadly animal significantly enriched.

Now we know that the black mamba snake eats lizards, birds, termites, other snakes, as well as medium-sized mammals: rodents, damans (similar to guinea pigs), halos (resembling lemurs), elephant jumpers and bats.

The reptile hunts in the afternoon, attacking from ambush and biting until the victim lets out the last breath. Digestion of prey takes a day or more.

Natural enemies can be counted on the fingers:

  • serpent eagle (krachun),
  • mongoose (with partial immunity to poison),
  • needle snake (mehelya capensis), possessing innate immunity to toxin.

Black mambas exist one by one, until it comes time to acquire offspring.

Black mamba bite

If you inadvertently stand in her way, she on the move will cause a bite, which at first can be overlooked.

Consider the threatening behavior of a snake (bloating the hood, raising the body and wide open mouth) as a gift of fate: in this case you have a chance to retreat before the fatal throw.

A reptile bite can inject from 100 to 400 mg of toxin, 10 mg of which (in the absence of serum) is fatal.

But first, the sufferer will go through all the circles of hell with burning pain, swelling of the center of the bite and local tissue necrosis. Further, a strange taste in the mouth, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, redness of the mucous membranes of the eyes.

The poison of the black mamba is supersaturated:

  • neurotoxins,
  • cardiotoxins
  • dendrotoxins.

Still others are considered the most destructive: they cause paralysis and respiratory arrest. Total loss of control over the body occurs in a short time (from half an hour to several hours).

After the bite, it is necessary to act instantly - the one to whom the antidote was given and connected to the artificial respiration device has a chance.

But these patients are not always saved: according to african statistics 10-15% of those who received the antidote on time die. But if the serum is not at hand, the death of the victim is inevitable.


In a large terrarium, it is not difficult to maintain the desired temperature background - about 26 degrees. A warm corner should heat up to 30 degrees. At night should not be colder than 24 degrees.

It is recommended to use a lamp (as for all land reptiles) 10% UVB.

The mambas are fed normally - 3 times a week. This periodicity is due to the time of complete digestion, which is 24-36 hours.

The diet in captivity is not simple: a bird (1-2 times a week) and small rodents.

Overfed mamba will burp, so do not overdo it. And one more reminder: do not feed the snake with tweezers - it moves at lightning speed and does not miss.

Dendroaspis polylepis need regular spraying. If you are too lazy to do this, put a drinker. Mambas do not drink water very often, using a drinker as a latrine, but water must still be present.

If you do not want to rip the scraps of old skin off the tail of the reptile, be sure to spray the snake during the molting period.

Where can one buy

It is unlikely in the poultry market or in the pet store you will find the seller of the black mamba. Your help - terrarium forums and social networks. In order not to be misled, carefully check the merchant (especially if he lives in another city) - ask your friends and make sure that there is a real snake.

It is better if you take the reptile yourself: in this case, you will be able to inspect it for possible ailments and reject the sick animal.

Worse, if the snake costing from 1000 to 10 000 dollars goes to your parcel post on the train. On the road, anything can happen, including the death of a reptile. But who knows, maybe that’s how fate will save you from the deadly kiss of a black mamba.