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Wild Things: World's Fastest Snake

Introducing the Black Mamba

The fastest land snake in the world is the aggressive black mamba found in the southern part of tropical Africa. You might have heard stories about this snake overtaking people on galloping horses but although these snakes are fast, they aren't that fast. They can reach top speeds of 10-12 mph (16-19 km/hr) in short bursts over level ground - good luck trying to outrun one of these snakes if you tick it off!

 

What Does a Black Mamba Look Like?

Despite its name, black mambas aren't black. They're gray. The name comes from the color of the inside of its mouth - something it will gladly show you while it threatens you, if provoked. They can grow up to 14 feet (4.3 meters) long, which is another reason why this reptile isn't something to mess with. The snake races along with its head held high and about one-third of its body off the ground. That can be up to four feet (1.2 meters) off the ground - about chin level for some people. The black mamba is the most respected and feared snake in Africa.

Black Mamba - The Predator

Black mamba's are aggressive snakes that spring up to strike. Black mambas also go after birds - and they're good at it. One mamba even had a parrot inside its stomach. After biting their prey, black mambas leave it to die. The venom is strong enough to kill prey in a matter of minutes so the snakes don't have to wait long for their meal. For humans, the wait could be up to four hours till death. Black mambas devour their food whole. They can fit food up to four times the size of their head into their mouth and will even dislocate their lower jaw in order to cram more food in.

 

Black Mambas Don't Make Good Pets

Without treatment, the death rate from a black mamba bite is almost 100 percent. Although two drops of venom from a black mamba are enough to kill a human (they are one of the most poisonous smakes in the world), mambas don't usually attack humans. They should still be left alone - they are considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.

Do you have a phobia of snakes? Or have you ever had a run-in with a snake? Ever been bitten from one?

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