|Photo Credit: TimVickers|
The black mamba is a long and dangerous snake from eastern and southern Africa. It can move faster than any other snake through thick undergrowth or over open ground. It also takes readily to trees. This snake strikes its prey quickly and accurately, even when it is moving fast.
The black mamba spends it day basking in the sun or hunting. When hunting, the snake travels quickly over the ground or along tree branches. Strong and muscular, it can hold its head 20 inches off the ground even when moving.
At night, the black mamba returns to a discarded burrow in the ground or to a deep hiding place among rocks or fallen trees. When frightened, it rushes to this hole, attacking whatever blocks its path.
The black mamba feeds frequently. It hunts rodents, bats, other small mammals, birds, and lizards. Using its fangs, it strikes accurately and with lightning speed. It has excellent eyesight and can lift its head and front over three feet off the ground when striking.
Did you know?
- The black mamba can digest an animal the size of a large rat within nine hours.
- The black mamba is dark-skinned to absorb the sun's heat. Desert-dwelling snakes are paler to reflect heat and prevent overheating.
- The venom of both the black mamba and the green mamba is "milked" from their fangs and used in medical research.