Margie, my sympathies to both you and your daughter on this unfortunate incident.
I've been following this thread from the start and have to say that, in a way, it is a relief that these despised creatures, snakes in general, are not only confined to Australia where we have the majority of the most toxic species residing (nice to share it around).
Snakes are but an unfortunate aspect of the hunting scene. They need to be recognised as part of the "system" and respected for their potential danger.
I do not kill them unless they are in camp and have no alternative, or in cases where a strike was threatened.
In the Tropical region where I operate we have 6 or 7 of the most toxic terrestial species in the World.
My contact with them sometimes occurs on a weekly basis, sometimes even multiple sightings/contacts per day (bad day).
I, nor any of my clients, have ever been struck simply by generally avoiding them, avoiding harrasing them when encountered and being sensible when going through regions where contact can, and should be expected.
You get to learn "snakey" areas after a while.
I always hunt in knee-high gaitors and also provide them to all clients willing to wear them. They are not total protection but in the event of a strike will reduce the amount of venom inflicted.
Reports from our local clinic suggest that over 90% of snake bites do not require anti-venene (sp ?) as the level of venom received does not warrant it.
I guess I have become somewhat de-sensitised to snakes as their presence does not seem to alarm me as it does most other folks, but from someone who spends 5 months or more each year in a fairly well snake populated region, frequenting swamp margins, dry grass plains, rocky escarpments and other snake-frequented areas I would suggest that the generally held terror regarding snakes is unwarrented.
Go about your hunting, be sensible when you do encounter them, keep a sharp eye on the ground infront and dont harrass them.
Most snakes fear Man more then we fear them and will clear away as soon as given a chance.
This Black Mamba looks a nasty bugger, much like our Fierce Snake (Inland Tiapan).
After reading these excellent encounters of real life experiences people had with black mambas,i feel brave enough to share my story with you as well. Eye to eye with a bigBlack Mamba!
In 1995 we were on our annual weeklong survival hunting /camping excursion-mainly for warthog- in the Limpopo Bushveld of South-Africa.
For guys like us these primitive living hunts are the best hunts--far better than up market day hunts for Kudu, Impala, Blesbuck etc out of a luxurious lodge!
Now, as an older hunter, I still like to climb trees for a better look-out point, so when I saw this huge Baobab tree +_ 100m [340 ft] from natural water, I just had to go for it!
To my surprise somebody else had long ago tried to build a tree house in it--even better!
The old wooden 'ladder' up to the first branches did not look safe anymore, so I decided to fasten my kit with a 30m [100 ft] ski- rope out of my survival bag and pull everything up once I was in the fork of the first branches.
Once there in the fork, the next climb up to the floor of the 'tree house' with the backpack and rifle becomes -let's just say -'difficult'.
Let me tell you, Baobab tree branches are smooth? and sandals are not really meant to be used as tree climbers!
Exhausted, I carefully let the floor of the tree house take my weight-so far so good!
Taking my binoculars, I started scanning the Bushveld below me--what a beautiful sight to see the lush green Bushveld and to hear the melodious twitter of the birds in the surrounding tree tops.
It was such a peaceful moment of contentment, bliss and happiness with nature, that life couldn't be any better!
After -I don't know 2-3 minutes of total absorption in the surroundings beneath me, I suddenly become aware of a movement to the right of my head in the tree house.
Now just imagine this picture for yourself. I innocently turned my head, to find this HUGE 3M [+10 ft.] Black Mamba with its head poised at about an arm's length away from my face?.
It seemed to be looking with menace straight into my eyes, with what looked like a death grin below his small unblinking pitch black beady eyes!
To say that I was nearly frightened out of my wits at that moment is a huge understatement of such a totally unexpected confrontation/situation!
I'm sure that when my heart started beating again after a couple of seconds; it cleared out the cholesterol from my arteries all at once!
Now look. I am also a conservationist, the same as all real hunters, but at moments like these, maybe 40m [130 ft] up in a tree, confronted by a disagreeable and arguably the most venomous snake in Africa, if not the whole world, whose personal space and territory had just been rudely invaded by an alien
---you don't think about conservation at times like this my friend, only about survival!
To make a long story short-I shot it without aiming at very close range!
Needless to say, that afterwards, I did not go hunting for warthog for the rest of that day!
Even today, years after this episode, when I look at the photos again, I still get the shivers when I think back at that close shave and what could have been.
I was literally +_30 k [20 miles] from the nearest people and 120 km [65 miles] from the nearest decent hospital!
If untreated, it's neuro-and cardio toxin is 100% fatal in 20 minutes!
I still go survival hunting, but now treat all Baobab trees with a healthy dose of respect for more reasons than just providing me with nearly all I need for survival in the bush.
[Food, tea, rope, shade, shelter, sometimes water etc.]
What is the moral of the story?
Well, there are a few lessons to be learned from my near fatal experience, and you can decide for yourself what you would have done if you were me that eventful morning.
With the luxury of hind sight, I fully agree that I've made a couple of blunders that as an experienced hunter/camper, I should never have made in the first place.
I also mourn the death of one of the old kings of the bush, at the apex of his food chain in the ecosystem.
[-3m=10ft and +_ 15 yr.old, a really big Mamba can be 4.5m =15ft. and up to 20 yrs old.]
I sometimes think that maybe I should have taken a chance and let him live.
Then I again re-live those hectic and nightmarish seconds high up in an old tree house, and think that given the circumstances, I have made the right decision.
What do you think?
If you had taken the chance, who knows what would have happened ?
You are alive, so you made the right decision.
Great story observe! You must admit, it makes for good story... You surely got lucky that day, at harms length to your face you were way beyond too close... Certainly some frightening moments that can surely make anyone skip a heart beat or two! The Black Mamba is a territorial hunter, an aggressive snake that will face off any danger and there is no doubt that it will face and attack it's opponent if cornered and threatened. This snake was big and the Baobab was certainly part of his hunting ground and even perhaps it's resting place... If you did not kill him that day, you or someone else would have had a really good chance of encountering it again so I think that you did not really have any options at that time no matter what. By the way the picture of the tree house in this ancient Baobab is wonderful, thanks for sharing your story with us.
Great stories, now rethinking what I should bring to africa if I should ever get there!!
Observe was a teacher of mine in primary school. Before we made contact again last year, I last saw him in 1983, when I was 13 years old. I owe a lot to him as far as my love for firearms is concerned. Let me tell you one thing: he is any black mamba's nightmare. (He is also not scared of women!)
Nice to cross path again after time has passed with people that bring back good memories!
here are 3 x big black mamba's my friends and i encountered over the years
3.2 to 3.6 m
another one has been spotted a couple of times in this temite heap,
but so far we have managed to avoid each other!
thanks for sharing
Scary, thanks for the pics.
I hate snakes........ especially big venomous ones.
Winter hunting for me.
Thanks, I think.
I dont think there are many snakes I really really fear, but black mamba is one scary basterd!!
we shot one in west zambezi a long time ago ,and it was hit similar to photo no3. my friend picked it up by the tail for a photo and all i saw through the viewfinder was the snake lift its head and bite where it had been shot, my friend decided discretion was the call of the day and disappeared at a rate of knots.... the snake was shot again :gunshooting:
how big do the bloody things get and theyre so skinny they must move like lightening
in africa nico my ph said if you got bitten by one the thing to do is get in the shade cos thats about all your gunna have time to do before the fat lady sings
i was glad that i never came even close to seeing one
Saw 2 Cape Cobras and killed 2 Puff Adders last April in Namibia.
There is no doubt that black mamba snakes are one of the most venomous snakes in Africa and I think these snakes are some of the biggest venomous snakes in the world as everyone can see the length of these snakes in these pictures to get a fair idea about its size.
I kept telling my PH during my Safari in 2011 that I kept hearing something in my my room moving around at night but never could locate the source. The day I left, This is what they found slithering around in my room. Wow! I am glad it turned out the way it did and the snake decided not to climb into my bed while I was sleeping. Earlier in the hunt, I already had a toad in my shoe one morning. Scared the living daylights out of me when I put my shoe on and felt something in my shoe. After clearing out my shorts I Let the toad go!