The Black Mamba

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris

    Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    The Black Mamba

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    The Black Mamba is fast, nervous, unpredictable, lethally venomous and when threatened, highly aggressive. It lives in Africa from Eritrea in the north east through to South Africa and as far west as Namibia, this includes Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Malawi, and the Congo.

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    Named after the ink black color of the inside of his mouth, the Black Mamba's actual skin color can vary from a yellowish green to a gun metal grey. The snake's scientific name is Dendroaspis polylepis, Dendroaspis "tree snake" and Polylepis "many scaled", this dark eyed snake is called "Swart Mamba" in Afrikaans.

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    They are Africa's longest venomous snake, reaching up to 14 feet (4.5 meters) in length, although 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) is more the average. The weigh up to 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg).

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    The Black Mamba prefers traveling on the ground, they are secretive and will normally retreat from danger. It maintains a home range, but is not considered highly territorial. However, this snake will become highly aggressive if it feels threatened, especially if the threat is standing between the snake and its lair. When in its aggressive mode, the Mamba will rear its head as high as possible, even sometimes being able to look directly into the eyes of an averaged sized man depending on the snake's size. I surely can testify to this as I have personally experienced a showdown with a Mamba after spooking it out from under a potted plant three feet from my front door. I ran back into the house to grab the shotgun, upon returning it was slithering away, I gave it a quick sweeping shot to slow him down before it could reach cover, only to see him rear itself up about 15 yards away to face me at eye level with a tremendously aggressive posture. A moment hard to forget that ended with a shot to the head.

    They are also among the fastest snakes in the world and are faster than most people can run, slithering at speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour (20 kilometers per hour), they use their incredible speed to escape threat, not to hunt prey. I have witnessed the speed of this snake on many occasions and it's truly exceptional to watch especially on close encounters.

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    On one occasion while driving through a grassy plain, I saw about 30 yards from my car, a Black Mamba going easily 10 mph (15 km/h) with two thirds of its body reared up like a cobra more than a meter high. This lightning fast snake traveled reared up at that speed the same direction I was going for at least 75 yards (75 meters), only to disappear by a lonely bush tree in the middle of the plain, most certainly where its lair was.

    It has never happen to me but we have had a couple of instances where Mambas ended up in the back of the truck. This type of eventful circumstance usually happens when driving faster than a normal bush driving speed on roads with grass between the tracks and hitting the snake that did not have time to move out of the way. The Mamba in a last attempt to face his fears will rear itself up so high above the hood of the car that with the speed of the truck it will be thrown onto the hood, windshield and end up in the back of the truck. At a moment like this jumping off the moving truck is the least of anyone's concerns...

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    Snakes will often lay out on the road to soak up the warmth of the sunrise.

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    The Black Mamba is most active in the spring when they are busy hunting after the cold winter and also because it is their mating season. When hunting for food it delivers a single bite and backs off from the small animal waiting for the neurotoxic venom to paralyze the prey. If fighting off a threat, it will deliver multiple deadly strikes. Hunting is done from a permanent lair to which it will return regularly and where it will nest and lay its eggs if it is a female.

    The venom of the Black Mamba is mainly neurotoxin, its' bites deliver about 100 to 120 mg of venom on average, however it can deliver up to 400 mg; 10 to 15 mg is deadly to a human. One snake can produce enough venom to kill 15 to 25 people. The venom is potent and due to its' aggressive nature and its' speed, it is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa. However, bites from Black Mambas to humans are rare, as the snakes would rather avoid confrontation with humans. Black Mamba bites can potentially kill a human within 20 minutes depending on the health, size, age, and psychological state of the person; but death usually occurs after 30 to 60 minutes, sometimes taking up to three hours.

    If bitten, common symptoms to watch for are rapid onset of dizziness, coughing or difficulty breathing, and erratic heart beat. In extreme cases, when the victim has received a large amount of venom, death can result within an hour from respiratory or cardiac arrest. Also, the Black Mamba's venom has been known to cause paralysis.

    Death is due to suffocation resulting from paralysis of the muscles used for breathing. Other factors include penetration of one or both fangs, amount of venom injected, location of the bite and proximity to major blood vessels. The health of the snake and the interval since it last used its venom mechanism is also important.

    Mortality rate is nearly 100% unless the snake bite victim is promptly treated with anti venom or is put on a respirator or ventilator. There is a polyvalent anti venom produced by the South African Institute of Medical Research (SAMIR) to treat all Black Mamba bites from different localities, it must be administered quickly.

    It is crucial when bitten for the victim to remain extremely calm and for a first aid treatment to be done right away. Applying pressure with pressure bandaging and immobilizing limb with a splint to reduce spread of venom is crucial to increase the chances of survival. Loosen but do not remove pressure bandaging if there is severe swelling. If at all possible, the victim should be immobilized by laying down and be kept as quiet as can be. Victim should be taken immediately to the nearest clinic or hospital.

    There are some general rules that we need to follow if a bite has occurred as preparations are made to evacuate the victim to formal medical care. Field treatment of snake bites is often dangerously misunderstood. Myths about snake bite treatment abound and some of these treatments actually make things a whole lot worse. For more information about snake bites and field treatment click here read an article called Snake Bite.

    Here below are pictures of a Black Mamba getting a head shot!

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  2. Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris

    Ozondjahe Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    Footage of a Black Mamba

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  3. jaustin

    jaustin AH Veteran

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    Ah jeez Jerome, don't post this kind of stuff. I'm going to have nightmares for sure.
  4. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    This is hell of a snake loaded with deleterious venom , but a beautiful reptile, moves like the wind , did see this episode on Animal Planet . good information .

    Thanks

    Monish
  5. Thunder head

    Thunder head AH Enthusiast

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    A mamba killed all five of my PHs dogs in december 08. They wounded it. Nico had to go in his tool shed, find and kill it. Scary !!!
  6. Karamojo Bill

    Karamojo Bill AH Senior Member

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    Me TOO!
  7. trigger creep

    trigger creep AH Enthusiast

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    I get a kick out of that fool playing with a mamba. Rather him than me.
  8. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Show Me the Mamba!

    Some pictures I took while in Namibia of a Black Mamba in the trees.

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  9. AkMike

    AkMike AH Fanatic

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    I've been told that the best way to kill one of these snakes is to cut off it's tail.






    (Right behind the head)
  10. Bushbuck

    Bushbuck AH Enthusiast

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    Whats the first thing you say when your hunting partner has been bitten by a mamba.





    (can I have your bow?)
  11. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    Please find a tree with a lot of shade and don’t stink up the place LOL!
  12. Hartzview Hunting Safaris

    Hartzview Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    Only time you will see my gun lay right next to you with a cloud dust heading the opposite direction is when we run into a snake like that...

    Find a tree with a lot of shade and lay down in the star position..... makes it easier to carry one out of the bush that way! One guy on each limb! lol
  13. CK1

    CK1 AH Member

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    Ahhhhh.....didn't need to see this thread Jerome.

    CK
  14. Bushbuck

    Bushbuck AH Enthusiast

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    I always thought the reason for spreading your arms was so the jackels had an easier time feeding all at once.
  15. ndbwhnter

    ndbwhnter AH Enthusiast

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    Heard this somewhere, but can't remember for sure...

    Question: "What's in an African PH's black mamba snake bite kit?"

    Answer: "A pen."

    Why: "This way when a client gets bit, he can still sign all of his traveler's checks before he dies."

    Cold and heartless, I know, but still kinda funny.

    nd
  16. observe

    observe CONTRIBUTOR AH Fanatic

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    a really BIG mamba!

    look at this!

    This Black Mamba was caught on camera close to a orange grove in Karino near Nelspruit. Estimated to be about 6 and half meters long. Estimated Age been 45, borne around 1960. Has enough venom to kill 400 men. One penetrated strike estimated to kill 28 adult humans
    :eek:

    6m mamba.jpg
  17. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Is this for real!? This image seems to be a fake...

    There is of course always extraordinary specimens though from records the adult Mamba snake's length is on average 2.5 meters (8.2 ft), but some reach lengths of 4.5 meters (15 ft). I have seen very big Mamba snakes, in the close to 4 meter region but we are talking 6 and a half meters here, that sounds over the top if you ask me...
  18. richteb

    richteb AH Enthusiast

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    I agree with Jerome. I think someone is being a little creative with Photoshop.

    Don't they also call the mamba a " cigarett snake" ? Because you only have time for one smoke before you kick the bucket.
  19. Baobab

    Baobab AH Veteran

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    I do agree. It sound like a pub story...the later the hour the long the tails!
    If any one ever gets bitten please do not leave the person. A good PH should have a hand radio with him at all times. If you have ice in the cool box apply it to the bite. Mamaba you will have to give the person CPR.
    There are many who have lived through the ordeal! It is just so very scary!!
    Our daughter was spat in the eyes at new year. We were busy in the kitchen fixing breakfast when the dog started playing up. Our daughter(25) asked me to continue fixing breakfast and she would see whey the dog was playing up. She pulled out a cardboard box about 1 m next to me. She hardly had opened it and a chilling scream left her lips. Luckily she was wearing contact. We rushed her under the shower to get the contacts out. Then to hospital. The pain was excrusiating as the thing spat her from 1/2 m distance. (No chance of missing the target) We spent New Year in Hospital! Her sight has deminished a bit.It has taken a year for her eyes to recover. She had night mares for a long time after that. It was an Angola Cobra 2 and half m in length! It has met its maker!!!
  20. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Never seen a Mamba yet, but I did see a large black Cobra in the Limpopo, an a small Python on the banks of the MKuze river in KZN.

    The Cobra was killed, the Python played with and then released (not by myself :biggrin2:)

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