Eastern Green Mamba

The Eastern Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) is also known as the Common Mamba, East African Green Mamba, Green Mamba or White-mouthed Mamba.

 

HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

The eastern green mamba lives in coastal rainforests, scrubland and bush in South and East Africa (along more coastal areas). Shy and arboreal (tree-dwelling), it rarely comes in contact with humans but when it does it would rather flee than bite. 

 

DESCRIPTION

It is a long and slender snake with a narrow, coffin-shaped head. The Bright green colouration of the dorsal side (back/top) is contrasted by the duller yellow-green ventral side (underside/bottom). The eastern green mamba grows up to 2m in length, although males are generally a little smaller than females.

 

Eastern Green Mamba in captivity

DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION

It is interesting to note that the eastern green mamba has been reported to actively hunt bats, but generally it is an ambush predator of small mammals and birds. The venom used to kill is a mixture of neurotoxins, dendrotoxins (unique to the snakes of the genus Dendroaspis), cardiotoxin, calcicludine and fasciculins. The dendrotoxin is the fastest acting venom within the snake world. Bites start off as severe swellings, with nausea, dizziness, respiratory problems and irregular beating of the heart. It quickly leads to convulsions and respiratory paralysis. Severe repeated rapid bites have been known to be fatal in just 30 minutes. Having said that most bites (although rare) lead to mild temporary paralysis.

 

During the mating season, males intertwine their bodies and push against each other, in an attempt to pin each other to the ground. The 'battle’ may last several hours and never leads to aggressive behaviour such as biting. The typical clutch size of this species can be up to 10 eggs, sometimes as many as 14, and hatch after an incubation period of around 70 - 80 days. Whilst the lifespan in the wild is less (due to predation, persecution, etc), captive specimens have known to live as long as 18 years! 

 

OTHER NOTABLE FACTS

The name Dendroaspis means tree snake (dendro=tree, aspis=asp/snake). The latter part of the name angusticeps translates as narrow head. There are only 3 other snakes within the Dendroaspis genus. They are the Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis), the Western Green Mamba (Dendroaspis viridisand the Jameson’s Mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni).