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Paul L. Lloyd handling a Black Mamba

Another of our regular contributors of incredible photographs and educative information is Paul L Lloyd. In this feature he is handling a Black Mamba with our Venom Defender Gloves and M1 40” Snake Handling Tong.

He writes as follows...

Hi Clem & Maureen,
Recently I captured a Black Mamba (2.3m). I was ecstatic as it’s the first one I’ve captured in about 15 years.
Took some great photos the morning before I released it.
I have written an article for you (from a slightly different perspective) as well as photographs and a short video
Kind Regards,
Paul L. Lloyd


Black Mamba

The Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis). A snake that strikes fear into people all over Africa just on hearing the name. This is a snake to which people attach mysticism, superstition, magical powers and even the ability to morph itself into something else but alas, no scientific evidence has been produced to support these beliefs. Even foreign snake handlers and experts are wary of the Black Mamba and rightly so. However, the other side of the coin is this; due to misplaced beliefs and superstitions, the Black Mamba has been given a worse “rap” than it deserves with facts falling by the wayside. Things have been made worse TV documentaries exaggerating things for dramatic effect. Here are a couple of facts about this most impressive of serpents, some of which also apply to other snakes:

1. A potentially dangerous and somewhat unpredictable snake.

2. Aggressive and will bite at the slightest provocation but seldom without provocation.

3. There are only 4 conditions under which a black mamba will attack or chase a human being:

  1. Mating season. Most animals tend to be more aggressive during mating season. This starts in October and ends around the middle of December, during which time males will actively seek a mate, engaging in combat with each other and females are releasing pheromones.
  2. When a perceived threat comes between the snake and its lair.
  3. When its lair is under physical attack; i.e. the destruction of anthills for building materials and felling of trees.
  4. When the snake perceives that it is cornered with no means of escape (it will fight).

4. Any other living thing that is larger than the snake and which happens to venture too close to the snake will be perceived as a threat and it will defend itself. First response to threat is to escape or remain undetected.

5.Snakes want only two things; food and shelter. They are primitive animals and live purely by instinct. Having said that, in comparison to other snakes, cobras and mambas show more “intelligence” but it is “responsive” intelligence (meaning, they will figure a way out of a situation or return to a place previously frequented based on instinct). They cannot just think up ideas.

6. Mambas and cobras are territorial. What this means is they will take up residence in an anthill, hollow tree or a rock outcrop and as long as there is enough food, will remain there sometimes for years, seldom venturing more than 2km from the lair to hunt. The territory is not “defended” throughout the ± area, this is simply an area within which the snake moves and hunts. It will only defend its lair when perceived threats get too close.

7. “Rule of thumb” when releasing a mamba away from its normal “territory” is to take it more than 5km from the place of origin. It cannot find its way back at that distance if it is released in a place that has enough potential lairs and there is enough food sources.

 Related Products

Venom Defender Gloves

M1 Snake Tong

Disclaimer; We at Snake Professional & 1-2-1 (Animal Handling) Products do NOT advise this method of handling and doing so is at the handlers own risk!

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