Home of Dendroaspis polylepis

The black mamba is one of the most feared snakes in the world if not number one, and for good reason.  The scientific name of the black mamba is Dendroaspis polylepis, which is part of its classification.  The name is derived from many Latin words that have been combined.  “Dendro” is derived from a word meaning tree, because many of the snakes in that genus are tree snakes, “aspis” comes from a word meaning shield which is used to describe a snake coiling itself, “poly” can be translated as many, and “lepis” is derived from a word meaning scales.  So in English, Dendroaspis polylepis means tree snake with many scales.  It is the longest venomous snake in Africa (its habitat), reaching lengths of nearly 14 feet.  Despite what their name suggests however, they are not black in color.  Their bodies are brown.  Their name comes from the inside of their mouth, which is a striking black in color, the last thing its prey (read more in Nutrition) sees before it is injected with its deadly venom.  They don’t like to use their venom however, as they are a very timid snake.  When confronted by a disruption, their first instinct is to flee to protection.  They have many interactions with other animals, but don't use their venom unless they have to.

Photo Courtesy of frederic.salein, http://www.flickr.com/photos/fredericsalein/2921203818/

They can become very aggressive however, when they are cornered and given no place to escape to.  They will make themselves appear larger by raising their head and body off the ground and expanding their necks in a morphological shape reminiscent of the cobras (one of its many cool adaptations).  When threatened, they are not afraid to strike multiple times, utilizing their extremely potent venom.  They reproduce sexually using amniotic eggs, which is an interesting strategy.  You can learn more interesting things about the black mamba on the facts page.  The Black Mamba is a very compelling organism, and there is much more to learn!

This webpage is part of a larger project combining many different organisms at MutipleOrganisms.net

To visit the reference page, click here