Black Mamba
 

Dendroaspis polylepis

04-Feb-2007

 
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The black mamba is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.

Black MambaDescription

The black mamba is not actually black. They can be olive, khaki, brown or grey. The hatchlings are lighter in colour, commonly light green, but arenít light enough to be confused with the green mamba. Their underside is cream coloured, sometimes mixed with green or yellow. Dark patches and blotches may dot the back half of the body and some may have alternating black and white scales near the rear looking like bars. They are usually 2 to 3 metres in length, and the average length is 2.2 to 2.7 metres, although there have been reports of them being as big as 4.3 to 4.5 metres.

Reproduction and development

They mate during the spring. The eggs then hatch in midsummer. After mating they will separate. The female lays 6 to 17 eggs after 2 to 3 months which then hatch in another 2 to 3 months. The female lays the eggs and leaves as soon as they are born. The young can fend for themselves due to fully formed poison glands. They develop to adulthood in 80 to 90 days and can live for 11 years.

Behaviour

The black mamba is secretive and shy. They do not wish to be confronted but will attack if they are. They will strike continuously. They usually bask in the sun and will return to a favourite sunny spot. They are very good at climbing trees and can also move very quickly. They prefer to flee from danger.

Food habits and predators

They will usually feed on rodents, squirrels, birds and other small mammals. They are attacked by humans, birds of prey, crocodiles, large frogs, mongooses, foxes and jackals.

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This site was last updated 03-02-2007