West African Green Mamba

Dendroaspis viridis

It's In the Name

"Green tree asp" is the rough translation of the West African green mamba's scientific name. "Dendroaspis" translates to tree asp, referring to the highly arboreal nature of this genus of snakes. "Viridis" has a Latin origin meaning green.

About the Species

An adept hunter with great vision, incredible speed, perfect camouflage, and lots of venom, you would be smart to avoid this mamba.

This is one of the most venomous snakes in the world, known to strike repeatedly in order to deliver copious amounts of venom. Often the subject of local myths in its West African home, this might be one snake to actually live up to the hype. The green mamba uses its exceptional vision to hunt and is able to catch a bird in mid-flight from its home in the trees. It is usually not found on the ground and will take over holes in trees to make its home. Females will lay her eggs in a hole in the tree. The neurotoxic venom affects the nervous system of the heart and lungs, and, like other African elapid species, an untreated bite can prove fatal very quickly.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

As opposed to most snakes that use scent or heat pits, West African green mambas rely heavily on vision to hunt their prey, and are considered to be some of the smartest snakes in the world.

Heather

Did You Know?

They are one of the fastest snake in the world, able to travel up to 7mph (and yes, that's fast for someone with no legs!)

Facts

Origin

West Africa

Habitat

trees of humid forests

Size

2 meters (5-6 feet)

Diet

mammals, birds and bats

Predators

Larger animals

Natural Defenses

venom, speed

Reproduction

Males will find females by following their scent trail

Status

Least Concern

Life Expectancy

up to 18 years

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