Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Black Mamba

The black mamba, whose scientific name is Dendroaspis polylepsis, is the fastest and most venomous snake in Africa. Its mouth is black and its body dark grey on the dorsal side and white on the ventral side. Inhabiting the eastern and southern portions of Africa, the adult black mamba has an average length of 3 m, with a maximum length of 4.20 m. What makes this African snake extremely deadly is the fact that it has its fangs located well forward in the front of its upper jaw; so, there is a much higher probability that the black mamba will sink its fangs in deeply when it bites, injecting a much higher amount of venom than other snakes and being able to bite wider areas.

The Dendroaspis polylepsis has neurotoxic venom, which causes paralysis of the leg and chest muscles, diaphragm and ultimately the heart muscle (myocardium). The venom blocks the synaptic transmission of nerve impulses, which is necessary for muscle contraction. As a result, the bite of a black mamba can kill a human being in less than half an hour.