The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Black Mamba

Afrikaans name: Swartmamba

Black Mamba

Black Mamba

Photo © mgkuijpers - Fotolia.com

Dendroaspis polylepis

The Black Mamba is a large and dangerous snake. It is skittish, even aggressive at times, and can deliver a bite that needs treatment within a hospital urgently.

A large Black Mamba can be a length of 3 metres but most are a bit smaller than that.

Black Mambas are fairly variable in colour. They range from dark olive green to a dark grey. The head is large and coffin-shaped.

These snakes spend most of their time on the ground but they do sometimes venture into bushes or trees.

Black mambas feed on smaller mammals such as squirrels, dassies and rodents. They will also catch birds.

In South Africa it is found from the northern part of the Eastern Cape through to north-east Limpopo.

References and further reading

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 309

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 217

The Reptiles of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar, WD Haacke and NHG Jacobsen - Published: 1983 - Page: 215

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 252

Snakes of Africa - Author: R.M. Isemonger - Published: 1983 - Page: 196

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Published: 1987 - Page: 350

Questions and Answers - Snakes and Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: John Comrie-Greig - Published: 1992 - Page: 27

Reptiles & Amphibians of Southern Africa - Author: Warren Schmidt - Published: 2006 - Page: 34

Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Rod Patterson and Anothony Bannister - Published: 1987 - Page: 91

Snakes & Snakebite in Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Johan Marais - Published: 2014 - Page: 41

Sasol First Field Guide to Snakes & other Reptiles of Southern Africa - 2nd edit - Author: Tracey Hawthorne - Published: 2016 - Page: 40

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 406

Kruger National Park Map - 2010 - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 2010 - Page: 10

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 206

go! - Issue 161 - Author: - Published: 2019 - Page: 24

Bill Branchs Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Bill Branch - Published: 1988 - Page: 95

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 118

A Field Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa - Author: V.F.M. Fitzsimmons - Published: 1970 - Page: 168

A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa - Author: Graham Alexander and Johan Marais - Published: 2007 - Page: 162


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