Black Mamba.. Two steps to death..

I recently, (Mothers Day actually) attended a show where they had a short demo on snakes. The Black mamba was one shown to all interested parties. The brave handler said that the snake is known in some circles as the “two step to death” snake. It is thought to be so deadly that you take two steps after being bitten and you die. Although this is untrue, his advice.. after being bitten don’t take the two steps… I did enjoy that one.

The Black Mamba is a dangerous snake, but lets be honest, the stories of it being aggressive and chasing you are probably not all that true. Sure.. in the Steelpoort area I walked into one and it promptly raised its head and looked directly at me… I stood still as is recommended. It made a move towards me and I turned and ran. I was later told I should have looked back and I would have seen it wasn’t chasing me, but rather making an escape.. my answer… “I run faster looking forward rather than back” and anyway who wants to run into a tree because you’re looking the wrong way… think I’m an idiot…

The Black Mamba however is deadly if you do not receive medical attention fairly quickly.. there is a reported death (in a medical report) having occurred within twenty minutes to someone being bitten on the upper arm.. But most recorded deaths are between 3 and 8 hours after the fact… still not good news…

This is a fast moving snake, one of the fastest in the world (12 KPH or 7 MPH) luckily at this age I can still run faster than that… it is considered one of the most efficient killing machines on no feet… it delivers a neurotoxin, also called Dendrotoxin, but basically it disturbs the neuro messages and hearts, lungs and everything driven by neurological messages in the body are disturbed and you die. Unless you have an aggressive induction of anti-venom…


The inside of the mouth is a deadly black, so don’t get near enough to see this unless you have a 3 inch glass pane between you and it…. and don’t let it talk quietly to you as this one seems to be doing…


It is a beautiful snake as snake beauty goes, but it is known here as “the kiss of death” and to one expert as “death incarnate” … to me it is known as the one snake to avoid if possible and if not, then run like the clappers…

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“Want to touch it??”

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And a bit from Wikipedia

Its bite can deliver about 100–120 mg of venom on average and the maximum dose recorded is 400 mg.

If bitten, common symptoms for which to watch are rapid onset of dizziness, coughing or difficulty breathing, and erratic heartbeat. In extreme cases, when the victim has received a large amount of venom, death can result within an hour from respiratory or cardiac arrest. Also, the black mamba’s venom has been known to cause paralysis. Death is due to suffocation resulting from paralysis of the respiratory muscles.

The black mamba is regarded as one of the most dangerous and feared snakes in Africa due to various factors. Nevertheless, attacks on humans by black mambas are rare, as the snakes usually avoid confrontation with humans and their occurrence in highly-populated areas is not very common compared with some other species.


Puff Adder.. Not a Rapper..

African puff adders (Bitis arietans).

Bitis arietans is a venomous viper species found in savannah and grasslands. It is responsible for causing the most snakebite fatalities in Africa owing to various factors, such as its wide distribution and frequent occurrence in highly populated regions.

The venom has cytotoxic effects and is one of the most toxic of any viper. The venom yield is typically between 100–350 mg, with a maximum of 750 mg. About 100 mg is believed to be enough to kill a healthy adult, with death occurring after 25 hours.

An ugly snake to be avoided in the bush as he will not move away like most snakes, but will strike with deadly force and cause a very sore painful bite.

When I was an learner Land Surveyor, involved in a job at Victoria Falls in Rhodesia I came across one of the biggest Puffies I’d ever seen. Thinking it dead, I poked it with a survey rod and it struck immediately, not being the conservationist I am now, I killed it. That evening we all met at the Peters Motel for drinks, it had the biggest pub in the area (at least 20m long, 60 foot), I took my now dead snake with me, the pub was full of tourists and locals and on entering tossed it on the pub counter. 30 seconds later the pub was empty, the two barmen had exited via the dirty glass opening (smashing 100s of glasses) and I stood laughing my head off…. some how the Manager/Owner was not amused and banned me for life… I took Linda there many years later… he remembered me, but after explaining I’d settle down and was no longer “bush happy” he forgave me… I’m still sure he loaded my bill that day… here’s some photos of one I found the other day… he refused to go into the strike pose which is very strikingly (no pun intended) beautiful….probably too cold…

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