What have you heard about the green mamba? There are so many stories about the famous green mamba snake that may or may not be 100% accurate. Despite all the myths and stories surrounding this snake, it is very likely that several awesome green mamba characteristics are unknown.
How deadly is a green mamba? Mambas are a family of fast, extremely deadly, and venomous snakes belonging to the genus Dendroaspis, which translates directly to “tree asp.” There are four species of the mamba snakes, namely the western green mamba, eastern green mamba, Jameson’s mamba, and the black mamba. The first three are green, while the last one is generally greyish or brownish and not black, as the name may suggest.
Green mamba facts
In the Bible, humans became enemies of the serpent, and to date, a large percentage of the offspring of Adam and Eve fear all types of snakes. These green mamba facts will help you know how dangerous or harmless these reptiles are.
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1. The toxin is highly venomous
What happens when a green mamba bites you? The green mamba venom is highly dangerous because of the toxins it contains. The venom consists of neurotoxins (called dendrotoxins), fasciculins, cardiotoxins, and may include calcicludine (for the eastern green mamba). The eastern green mamba is the most encountered snake of its family, and thankfully, the least venomous, but it is still highly dangerous.
When bitten, symptoms start showing within 15 minutes because the poison travels through tissue, starting with localized pain and skin-rotting. The victim then develops headaches, drowsiness, breathing difficulties, and paralysis, before they succumb from suffocation due to the collapse of respiratory muscles. Other symptoms of the bite include pain and swelling, nausea, dizziness, convulsions, possibly mid paralysis, and irregular heartbeat.
2. They do not kill many humans
Can a green mamba kill a human? Yes, they can kill people because they contain the fast-acting snake venom that can kill people in 30 minutes. However, green mambas rarely bite humans because they tend to avoid human settlements. A survey between 1957 and 1979 in Southern Africa recorded about 2553 snakebites with 17 of these from the eastern green mamba. Out the 17, none died, but 10 showed systemic envenomation.
Is the green mamba the deadliest snake in Africa? No. The puff adder (Bitis arietans) is Africa's deadliest snake due to the high percentage of human fatalities. This clearly shows that the numerous stories of mambas chasing people and being the deadliest are possibly exaggerated.
3. The green mamba venom will kill you if untreated
How long does it take for a green mamba to kill you? How fast can a green mamba kill you? It takes about 30 minutes for symptoms to show and the victim to die. You cannot survive a mamba bite without anti-venom. They tend to bite multiple times, leading to several puncture marks. A bite contains anywhere between 60 and 95 milligrams of venom. The toxicity of the venom of the western green mamba differs considerably depending on the diet, age, and location.
4. They are fast and are the longest venomous snakes in Africa
The mambas prefer to live in the rocky hills and savannahs of eastern and southern Africa. They can grow to lengths of up to 14 feet, although the average is around 8.2 feet. Their bodies can propel them to speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour, ranking them among the fastest snakes in the world. They are thin, slender snakes whose quick movements are easily camouflaged in the foliage of the vegetation where they live.
5. They are carnivores
The snakes prey primarily on birds, eggs, lizards, and small mammals such as bats. The strategy is mostly to sit and wait, although the eastern and western green mambas have been known to hunt and raid actively. They attack their prey with quick strikes until the venom is effective. This strategy is highly effective against mobile prey, such as rodents and birds.
6. Not all green snakes in Africa are mambas
This is one of the misconceptions that are present in Africa and for most people in the world. While it is true that three of the four species of the mamba snakes are green, there are other snake species that have a similar colour in Africa. Some of these include green boomslangs (also venomous) and bush snakes.
7. The mamba can be aggressive
Most mambas tend to stay away from people and tend to get away instead of bite. However, they can defend themselves if provoked. Just like cobras, mambas can puff up their necks to look menacing before striking.
8. Males fight over females
For the most part, mambas are solitary creatures except during the breeding seasons. For example, the eastern green mamba breeds between April and June, where the males have been known to fight sometimes for hours to establish dominance and breeding rights. However, combatants do not bite each other and are less aggressive compared with black mambas.
The green mamba is a vital animal in the ecosystem. However, if bitten, seek medical help immediately to prevent death.
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In an article on all snakes in South Africa, briefly.co.za discusses both of these harmless and poisonous reptiles. The poisonous snakes include Cape Cobra, Boomslang, and Puff Adders, among others.
On the other hand, harmless snakes include Brown house snake, Night Adder, and African rock python, to mention a few.
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