Watch a black mamba ᴅᴇᴠᴏᴜʀ its dinner
A black mamba making quick work of its afternoon meal is a pretty ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴅɪʙʟᴇ sighting! The snakes are among Africa’s most ꜰᴇᴀʀᴇᴅ creatures, but they’re also sʜʏ and elusive – so to see one feeding is ʀᴀʀᴇ.
Although they are called Black Mamba, this snake species actually has a brownish color that may have hints of olive, and their bellies are usually of a pale color. The reason why they are named this way is that the inside of their mouth has a deep black coloration. Not surprising, considering the toxocity level of the mamba on such a small animal. The ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ of a black mamba contains both ɴᴇᴜʀᴏᴛᴏxɪɴs which ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs the ɴᴇʀᴠᴏᴜs system, and cardio ᴛᴏxɪɴs which ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ the heart. When they feel ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴᴇᴅ or ᴘʀᴏᴠᴏᴋᴇᴅ, it can be seen opening its mouth, and it shows the black lining, and this will normally be the warning signal that ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs need to back away. As unique as it may sound, their heads are shaped like a coffin, and they are very flexible and robust. The fastest land snake in the world, and also one of the deadliest. While its hollow fangs are perfect for delivering heavy doses of neurotoxic ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ, they aren’t great for chewing. An extendible windpipe at the base of the mouth allows the eight-foot snakes to breathe while they work through their meal, much like a snorkel. They can be seen typically feeding on small mammals and even birds, but while they are in the wild with a lot of food options to choose from, some of them were found to have full-grown cobras and even whole parrots in their bellies. Their feeding method will usually start by ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ their ᴘʀᴇʏ, injecting the ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ then slowly releasing it. One good indication that a Black Mamba is currently ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ for ᴘʀᴇʏ is that it’s moving very quickly, yet its head is lifted from the ground. The moment it sees its ᴘʀᴇʏ, the Black Mamba will stay still for a short period of time before it ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs. This will usually strike by giving the ᴘʀᴇʏ multiple ʙɪᴛᴇs and will eventually lead to ᴋɪʟʟɪɴɢ the ᴘʀᴇʏ. “Snakes use their quadrate bone and cranial kinesis (the term for significant movement of skull bones relative to each other in addition to movement at the joint between the upper and lower jaw) to sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡ their ᴘʀᴇʏ whole.
If the Black Mamba notices that the ᴘʀᴇʏ is still trying to escape, it will repeat the sᴛʀɪᴋᴇs, thus giving the ᴘʀᴇʏ more ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ amount. They can also be seen following the ᴘʀᴇʏ until it becomes ᴘᴀʀᴀʟʏᴢᴇᴅ and ᴅɪᴇs. This window of opportunity gives the Black Mamba its chance to ᴅᴇᴠᴏᴜʀ their meal.