southcapenet May/ 23/ 2019 | 0

Unless you have the experience and training, you should never approach a Black Mamba.

In the event of an emergency when it comes to snake bites we 24 hr Medical Response vehicle, sufficiently equipped to handle most medical emergencies, manned by a qualified medic in a joint venture with Swift Ambulance service.

The black mamba is named for the colour of the inside of its mouth, which is black. This is clearly displayed when it is threatened. The snake has a matt, brownish-gray body with a light belly. Its preferred habitat includes termite mounds, hollow tree trunks, granite hillocks and moist savannah and lowland forests.

“They are not likely to go into human dwellings, It may stay within a certain area, but will not defend that area.

Nor does it defend its young. The female lays between 10 to 25 eggs and never returns to the hatchlings, which are about 51cm long when born. They are independent immediately. There is no visible difference between a male and female black mamba.

An adult snake reaches an average length of 2.5m. The longest black mamba (and current record length), measuring 4.4m, was found in Zambabwe. Unlike popular perception, the snake is not aggressive and will do anything in its power to head away from humans rather than attack.

If this is not possible and it feels threatened it will raise its front and head off the ground and flatten its hood to deter the perceived threat. If still threatened it will bite in several quick strikes. The biggest danger for man is when he attempts to kill the black mamba. “It will defend itself to the maximum.

Black mamba venom is highly toxic. Two drops of venom can kill a person and a mamba can have up to 20 drops in its fangs. The venom contains both neurotoxins and cardio toxins. The first affects the nervous system, while the latter attacks the heart.

The bite initial symptoms include slight swelling where bitten and or pain or a light burning sensation, the loss of control of the tongue and jaw and slurred speech, tunnel and blurred vision, drowsiness, paralysis of all muscle groups and mental confusion.

The bite is life-threatening if these symptoms appear within an hour of the bite. The respiratory system is especially affected. Not all bites are fatal. Depending on where the snake bit and how much venom was injected, one could survive the bite – even without antivenin used.

However, it is critical that a person receives professional medical care a soon a possible, as a bite where the venom got directly into the bloodstream, would be fatal. The sooner a person is treated after the bite, the better his chances on survival. A Black Mamba antidote is administered where necessary, but some people may be allergic.

November to March April is snake season, especially after the first summer rains. Black Mambas are deadly and one of the world’ most venomous snakes. “if they were as vicious as people believe, people would not dare being out on the bush. This does not mean one should not be careful. It remains one of the world’s most dangerous snakes and should not be underestimated”.

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