The very mention of the word ‘snake’ manages to give jitters to many and pretty shamelessly we accept that yes, we find snakes creepy and eerie. Unless you have somehow magically developed a fondness for snakes (that’s a different story we will like to hear someday), we suggest you steer clear of them, especially if you happen to see a black mamba. Their capabilities have been scaled to legendary proportions by some African myths which is why they are often dubbed as deadliest snakes in world. Whether they deserve the moniker or not is something snake experts should decide but they are definitely not anywhere even close to being called innocent and friendly. Let us find out why they have earned the title through this list of 20 interesting black mamba facts.
Interesting Black Mamba Facts: 1-10
1. Black mambas are not really black in color. They have brown, gray or olive body color with a lighter underbelly. They get their name because the insides of their mouths are blue-black in color and that looks scary when they display their rage with open mouths.
2. What really makes this snake a deadly serpent is its speed. It is the fastest known land snake known to mankind. They slither at a speed of 12.5 miles an hour.
3. As if their speed wasn’t enough, the black mambas are also Africa’s longest and world’s second longest venomous snakes. The average length of a mamba is 8.2 feet but the longest recorded till date is 14 feet.
4. Black mambas are native to eastern and southern Africa’s rocky hills and also the savannas.
5. These snakes are known to become extremely aggressive when under threat and they strike repeatedly. The problem is that with every strike, they pump in large volumes of venom into their victims’ bodies.
6. Antivenin for black mamba venom exists but antivenin is not really widely available in the snake’s native lands, which is why black mambas are responsible for over 20,000 human fatalities every single year.
7. In wild, these snakes have an average lifespan of 11 years.
8. With the kind of speed this species possesses, humans face a real danger because they can easily outrun humans. However, there are African myths which say that they outrun horses. This is definitely not true.
9. Yet another superpower of a black mamba is its capability to stand up – well, not literally stand up but they can actually hold 1/3 rd of their bodies in air.
10. They possess a cobra-like neck flap which the spread open when threatened.
Interesting Black Mamba Facts: 11-20
11. They are pretty shy by nature and by instinct, they will try to escape using their super speed when threatened.
12. They use their speed to attack only when they are cornered. They don’t rely on their speed for hunting.
13. These snakes don’t have many natural predators but they do have one threat – the destruction of their habitat. Natural predators include brown snake eagle, black-chested snake eagle and cape file snake. Even mongoose kill black mambas.
14. As far as their eating habits are concerned, they like to feed on birds and mammals.
15. When it comes to hunting, they will simply strike and inject venom into their prey and leave they. They will then follow their prey until they die because of the lethal venom. They will then swallow up the whole prey.
16. Black mambas are know for possessing flexible jaws that allows them to devour prey that are 3 to 4 times the size of their own heads! They just dislocate their jaws to open their mouths wide open to fit in the kill.
17. Black mambas have very potent venom. Just two drops are enough to kill an adult human. A victim can die within 20 minutes after being bitten by this snake but on an average fatalities take 30 minutes to 180 minutes.
18. The venom of black mamba contains neurotoxins, cardiotoxins and several other toxins like fasciculins.
19. The usual mating period for black mambas is summer or spring. Males get into fights in order to get affection from females. Once they mate, the females produce anywhere from 6 to 25 eggs in warm and damp burrows and leaves forever. The eggs hatch in 3 months and the newborns are just capable enough to survive on their own. On birth, black mambas are 16-24 inches long.
20. One of the many myths about black mambas is that they bite and hold their tail tips making a loop and then rolling down a hill at high speed and at approaching the bottom of the hill, they release their tails, straighten up and shoot forward like arrows at exceptionally high speeds to attack. Well, that’s not true!