Thursday, January 6

Snake in the Grass

My neighbors were deathly afraid of snakes. All snakes. If a snake got into the village, they would go after it with hoes, machetes, bricks -- whatever they could find. Ironically, Zambia is home to one of the world's deadliest snakes (ranking #11): The Black Mamba!

The Black Mamba (image courtesy of

Here are a few quick facts about The Black Mamba, according to Animal Planet:

  1. Known as the world's fastest snake, the black mamba can reach speeds of between 7 and 12 mph and possibly as fast as 15 mph for short distances while chasing prey.
  2. When striking, the black mamba delivers quick multiple bites, then dashes for freedom.
  3. Despite its name, the black mamba is rarely black, but uniformly dark olive to brown or steel gray above and grayish-white below. It often has black speckling along the back half of its body.
  4. Black Mambas mate in the spring, and copulation can last for hours or days.
  5. Death from a black mamba bite can occur in less than 15 minutes. However, the average time from bite to death is four hours.