Fun facts about the Black Mamba Snake

When I grew up in South Africa, I got to see and experience the diverse amount of wildlife in this country. African wildlife is spectacular! That being said, South Africa is also known for its predatory animals like the Lion and dangerous snakes. The one that peaked my interest the most, was the Black Mamba, one of the world’s deadliest snakes.


A bite from this snake is known as the "kiss of death" due to its quick acting and potent venom.The Black Mambas venom is of the neurotoxin type. It shuts down receptors in the brain so vital organs can't pick up signals. There is anti-venom, but to must have it on you or be real close to a hospital that does. The Black Mamba can kill a human within 20-45 minutes with its deadly bite. Depending on the amount of venom it injects and if the bite is just under the skin, or in the muscle or direct artery penetration, just two drops can result in 100% fatality. Black Mambas can strike from four to six feet away and it usually strikes more than once.

Black Mambas are faster than any other land snake in the world. The speed of the snake is double that of an average human jog speed. Humans who usually walk at 3mph or 4.82km/h, or jog at 6mph or 9.65 km/h , will not be able to get away from the Black Mamba considering their average speed is 12.5mph or 20.12km/h. 

Fortunately, they are a nervous snake and head away from humans and only attack when they feel threatened. The problem is, they have been known to feel threatened from 25 yards away (40m) and it takes them just a few seconds to cover that distance.  Also, did I mention they are both terrestrial and arboreal?  Yes, they climb trees all the way to the top, not just slither on the ground, so climbing a tree for refuge is not a guarantee of survival.

Black Mamba snakes are not black in color, they are actually a brown/olive color. It is their inky black color on the inside of their mouths that gives them their name. They open their mouth, rise up 3 three to 4 four feet and hood out a little at the neck to warn you of a pending attack. This is a good time to have started running already.

There are four types on Mamba snakes. 

• The Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

• Jameson’s Mamba (Dendroaspis Jamesoni)

• The Western Green Mamba (Dendroaspis viridis)

Eastern Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps)