Black Mamba Pictures

Zambezi

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Interesting thread and a lot of information... some good, some not so good and some bad...

There are very few snakes on the planet that have so much folklore and fact intertwined as the black mamba. Stories or their size, ferocity, habits, abilities etc. As a person who is interested in snakes, handled many and did some demos when I worked at a friends snake park (Snake City, Edenvale, Gauteng South Africa) I'd like to set a few things straight regarding this snake. I am by no means an expert and one should feel free to seek EXPERT info from someone like Johan Marias at the African Snakebite Institute. You will not find a better snake man on the continent. Also download their free app when you visit Africa, it's interesting, informative and very helpful in the bush.

Many people still believe that this is one of the few snakes that will chase you. FALSE. If you encounter one and it seems to come rapidly towards you it is because you are in its path between it and its hole. 99.99% of the time if you move 90 degrees from its line of travel it will move on by without incident. The stories of mambas outrunning horses etc are total BS. Over open ground a person should outrun a mamba all things considered. If you are uumm, er... "portly" you may have a problem :LOL: ... but remember they don't chase people so move at 90 degrees to their path of travel.

It is not an aggressive snake but it is a nervous one and will show a defensive posture when encountered or cornered. It will pull back its head in a striking pose or raise its head (and maybe up to a third of its body length in the air in extreme circumstances) and will spread a narrow hood much like a cobra but not as pronounced. It will gape and show its black mouth interior. It should be noted that specimens don't always have a black mouth but this is extremely rare.

The venom of this snake is potently neurotoxic and may cause difficulty with breathing within half an hour. Symptoms include a numbness of the lips, slurred speech, ptosis and progressive weakness. Antivenom is effective but often required in large quantities (10 – 15 vials).
(Source: African Snakebite Institute)

Bites can be dry or wet bites. Stories of people dying in 20 mins are so exceedingly rare that it's not worth thinking about unless you want to scare yourself to death. That could only happen if you are bitten in the face / neck or hit a main artery etc etc. Most bites occur below thigh height or on the lower arm / hand. All things being equal, it will take a few hours before life threatening symptoms begin to set in. Snakebite treatment protocols change regularly as for an up to date expert protocol read this... https://www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com/snakebite/#firstaid

For all your questions and detailed info about this and all snakes go to https://www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com/ ... you'll spend hours educating yourself and learning heaps.

In short, when in the bush and you see a mamba rest assured it is not going to chase you down, tower over you and bite you leading to your death in 20 mins!
 

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Nyati

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@Zambezi , very interesting.

I have the ASI app on my phone, lots of good info !
 

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