Green Mamba just outside our door

Forum » Beenos Trumpet » Green Mamba just outside our door

Apr 07, 2019, 13:26

My wife called me 5 minutes ago in alarm...there's a long green snake. It was a green mamba (coffin shaped head) about 1.5 metres long.

I was going to try and catch it and put into a container but she screamed at me.

Green mambas are not agressive like the black and will not harm you if left alone. They are very poisonous but not as deadly as the black.

Using a thick I flicked it into the hedge where it swiftly disappeared.

She is still upset with me, despite the fact the snake is no threat if left alone.

Apr 07, 2019, 14:37

Hope it doesn't return. 

Apr 07, 2019, 14:58

The black mamba is more dangerous than the green mamba....didn't know that, always thought they were similarly poisonous and the green got the nod because of camouflage

Either way I think your wife has this right......not a good lodger.

Apr 07, 2019, 15:07

Don't get me wrong...Green Mambas are deadly and certainly do cause death, even in some cases in 30 minutes but Black Mamba is the deadliest, certainly in Africa if not the world. We get them too...they can be very aggressive if cornered and interfered with.

However I don't kill snakes, never.
If it is Black Mamba however I call the local Snake catcher...we have a snake park in Phe Zulu...they are very valuable and the venom can be milked for medical treatments of corresponding snake bites and saves lives.

I remember this poem from schooldays


A snake came to my water-trough 
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.

In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second-comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.

The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him?
Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him?
Was it humility, to feel honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid you would kill him.

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid,
But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream, 
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round 
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered further,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste,
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursèd human education.

And I thought of the albatross,
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

Apr 07, 2019, 16:31

My snake story occurred when I was a management trainee with Caltex. Part of the training was to accompany a farm rep for a week.

We were traveling down a dirt road to a distant farm, when my instructor yelled 'snake' and skidded to a stop. Being a junior cadet I felt it necessary to get out as well as he looked for stones to pelt the poor reptile.

A decision I immediately regretted as it spotted us approaching and reared up flattening it's head....Cape Cobra.

The cobra headed towards a bush and into a hole....I headed to the opposite side of the bush as far from the snake's entry point as possible. And was shocked to see the snake slither out on my side of the bush.

I swear I levitated backwards and was very relieved to see the snake head rapidly into some heavier brush... never travel with a farm rep, you might get assignments you don't want!

Apr 07, 2019, 17:13

Yeah why kill those things that intend no harm...they are not in the least interested in us...they only want to be left alone in peace, to live out those strange functions that their Creator had in mind...that which our puny brain cannot understand.

I'm not a bunny hugger but a devoted conservationist... I used to hunt on the farms of Natal and Eastern Cape Highlands and in Rhodesia but no longer have any desire anymore...animals are getting rarer and rarer, while vast population growth is invading their property. I even release fish that I catch...we have to leave some beauty for our grand children and our great grand ones especially.

Man's greed and indifference is ugly and we feel it as we age and remember what we had once upon a time as little boys and girls.

I'm still not adverse to shooting game birds where they are plentiful in remote areas for the pot as in certain regions they can overbreed and this is not good.

But to kill a leopard, a lion or even a Cape Buffalo to hang up as a trophy is shallow and vulgar.

Apr 07, 2019, 17:32

Yep I agree.

Apr 07, 2019, 17:34


I do not know but the African women in years gone by used to carry earthen pots on their heads with porridge in it when walking in the forest so as to protect them from, being bitten by green mambas/  

I do not now whether that still happens - but would not be surprised if it does,   The Africans are seriously afraid of snakes - we wet to a crocodile farm one day with the Mayor an there was a snake area as well.   The Mayor flatly refused to enter, 

Seb - careful of Tinley Manor  - driving home there was a snake lying across the street - its jead was on the one side of the road - his tail on the other side.     Mist have been at least 7 to  8 meters long.  

Apr 07, 2019, 17:59

“I do not know but the African women in years gone by used to carry earthen pots on their heads with porridge in it when walking in the forest so as to protect them from, being bitten by green mambas/”

I think you are talking about the boomslang and not the green mamba. There is a difference. The fangs of the boomslang sits much further back in the mouth of the boomslang than that of the green mamba.

That is why, even though the venom of the boomslang is much more lethal than that of the green mamba, the boomslang rarely manages to kill a human or large animal. It has to sort of bite “around” an limb like arm or a hand.

The green mamba, like many other venomous snakes, with their fangs in the front of the mouth, is more likely to be able to strike and inject the venom on any part of the body of a human or large animal.

Having said that, I have also heard the story of the clay pots on the head as a precautionary method. Don’t know how effective it is though because the boomslang is known to “drop down” from the tree onto their prey.

Apr 07, 2019, 18:02

BOOMSLANG Dispholidus typus showing rear fangs, South Africa.

Apr 07, 2019, 18:04

green mamba snake

Apr 07, 2019, 18:40

When I was younger and with out much sense, my brothers, mate's and I would collect and go looking for snakes.

I was bitten by a Night Adder when I was 13 on my toe. Painful but no real damage. My mate, Wayne was zapped on the hand by a large Nighty and his was far worse although still not life threatening or even serious tissue damage.

We caught a Puffy who a few days later gave birth to 17 babies. These we swapped for 2 Asian tree Vipers. 

On Bambula farm we had a few Mfezis (Mozambique spitters) and a few Black Mambas. Loads of Herald snakes aswell.

I once put a red lipped herald in my wifes gym bag under her towel. She used to coach gymnastics at Central Gymnastics Club next door to the Royal Yacht Club while I would fish off their back bank.

I think the whole bay heard the screams :D.

Apr 07, 2019, 18:42

Yes, my late mother (being a young woman raised on a farm) told us children the same story about the Zulu women carrying steaming hot mielie meal in pots balanced on their head gear when they walked through dense forests.

True , the boomslang is back fanged...this means that when they strike a large surface they have to work their mouth over the surface in order to get a grip to sink their fangs. Boomslang bites are usually effective over narrower surfaces like fingers, hands and perhaps arms and being a tree snake, like the green mamba only strike from trees or bushes. Boomslangs too are not vicious but only react when imposed upon.

The above story is a myth (native folk tales, which are many) because snake species are not motivated to strike anything innocently passing by, both have incredible eyesight and are not likely to stick their heads into steaming hot mielie meal or putu.

There are a lot of far-fetched snake stories in African folk-lore...another one that is very amusing is the Vusa manzi Snake...a big black snake that lives in the deep waters of rivers and attacks those who swim or frequent banks, ie water carriers. There is no such snake but even some educated Zulus believe this.

Another one is this :

Before I get to some of the commonly believed myths, here is one for the books. The dreaded seven-headed snake. One mind-boggling story I heard, which left me in hysterics and confused, was when a woman called me for a snake with seven heads. Seven heads. One of the heads apparently had a light on it too. Perhaps to help for hunting at night? The woman was adamant that that’s what she was looking at, and continued to argue against my statement of “No, you’re definitely not, you are perhaps seeing things”. However, I guess she can be forgiven, as it was a Friday night. I had to tell her to try the police though, I couldn’t help with a serpent like that.

The myth of a seven-headed snake existing is quite popular, particularly in the Zulu culture. However, it is not true, and I’m not sure where the myth originated from. A snake may be born with two heads, but this is a very rare deformity, and the snake does not survive for long.

Do snakes attack people? No, snakes are not out to harm humans. They do not seek us out, nor do they enjoy biting us. A snake will bite as a last resort, to defend itself if it fears for its life. If escape is futile, and if it feels like you’re too close for comfort, that’s when they bite. So please don’t try to catch or kill one. Hikers, or people who are barefoot, occasionally get bitten after standing on a snake, but this is just a freak accident. The infamous Black Mamba is no different to other snakes, they too do not attack people. A snake will never just sense you and start chasing you. They’re a lot more scared of you, than you are of it (even though you may not think so).

Apr 07, 2019, 18:48

The most aggressive snake was my brothers yellow anaconda. After 2 years it would still go for anything that came near the tank and while they aren't venomous they have a nasty bite.

My mom sent me a photo of a "mole snake" she found under her pagola. It was a Bibrons Stiletto snake.

Apr 07, 2019, 19:22

Many many moons ago, when I was still in school, my sister and I used to belong to the Suid-Afrikaanse Noodhulp Liga. It was basically the Afrikaans version of the St Johns Ambulance and First Aid association. 

Whenever we used to cover first aid for snake bites the question of the boomslang came up. The practice, back in the day, was that anti-venom for the boomslang was not readily available and you basically had to prove that you needed to treat a boomslang bite. HTF you do that, to this day, is still a mystery to me. :D It is also not vitally important to receive immediate treatment like in the case of, for instance a black mamba or rinkhals bite. 

Apr 07, 2019, 20:04

Apr 07, 2019, 20:19

Apr 07, 2019, 20:51

Funny enough I came across a boomslang in October last year...just as the warmer weather somewhat startled me as I was standing about a metre away next to wild banana plant...I did not see it at first.

Yes a school friend and I also caught snakes in Pietermaritzburg area, including Puff Adders, Night Adders but a lot of Red Lipped Herald, House snakes and Green Water Snakes. His dad was a Vet and he gave/built us a big glass case unit in which we deposited them.

I read a story the other day by other well known vet...his nephews also caught snakes and one day on a visit to their house they asked him to identify 4 small dark grey/ olive snakes that they had found in a nest...he was horrified to discover they were baby Black Mambas which were hastily released in the bush far away. He made them promise to never tell their mother as she would have had a heart attack. Juvenile Black Mambas are just poisonous as adult ones. Frightening stuff. Incidentally Black Mambas aren't called because they are black because they are black in colour, more often they are a dirty greyish olive colour there colouring can vary...they are called black because when they open there mouth they are pitch black inside.All mambas can easily be identified by their perfect coffin-shaped heads.

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