Animal Name: Black Mamba

Scientific Names: Dendroaspis polylepis

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Black Mamba Introduction

The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is a species of highly venomous snake belonging to the family Elapidae. It is native to parts of sub-Saharan Africa. First formally described by Albert Günther in 1864, it is the second-longest venomous snake after the king cobra; mature specimens generally exceed 2 m (6 ft 7 in) and commonly grow to 3 m (9.8 ft). Specimens of 4.3 to 4.5 m (14 to 15 ft) have been reported. Its skin colour varies from grey to dark brown. Juvenile black mambas tend to be paler than adults and darken with age.

Description of Black Mamba

The black mamba is a long, slender, cylindrical snake. It has a coffin-shaped head with a somewhat pronounced brow ridge and a medium-sized eye. The adult snake's length typically ranges from 2 to 3 m (6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in) but specimens have grown to lengths of 4.3 to 4.5 m (14 ft 1 in to 14 ft 9 in). It is the longest species of venomous snake in Africa and the second-longest venomous snake species overall, exceeded in length only by the king cobra. The black mamba is a proteroglyphous (front-fanged) snake, with fangs up to 6.5 mm (0.26 in) in length, located at the front of the maxilla. The tail of the species is long and thin, the caudal vertebrae making up 17–25% of its body length. The body mass of black mambas has been reported to be about 1.6 kg (3.5 lb), although a study of seven black mambas found an average weight of 1.03 kg (2.3 lb), ranging from 520 g (18 oz) for a specimen of 1.01 m (3 ft 4 in) total length to 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) for a specimen of 2.57 m (8 ft 5 in) total length.
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