“Fighting” Mambas

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I am convinced!

With all the input for many snake experts around the world I have changed the story 🙂 :

“When we were on the way to pick up our Thanda guests for the afternoon game drive we ran into these two Black Mambas. The two males were fighting for mating rights with a female in the midday sun on one of the main roads at Thanda. Both of them were so engaged in their actions that they were completely oblivious of us. What a sighting!”

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About Black Mambas:

The Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is the longest venomous snake in Africa. It is named for the black color of the inside of the mouth rather than the color of its scales which varies from dull yellowish-green to a gun-metal grey. It is also the fastest snake in the world, capable of moving at 4.32 to 5.4 meters per second (16–20 km/h, 10–12 mph). The Black Mamba has a reputation for being very aggressive, but it usually attempts to flee from humans like most snakes, unless it is threatened. Without rapid and vigorous anti-venom therapy, a bite from a Black Mamba is almost always fatal.

22 Replies to ““Fighting” Mambas”

  1. Great captures, it’s not often that one would see such an awesome site.Snakes make awesome pictures and that’s is close as I want to be unless there behind a very thick glass!!

  2. Just thinking, In the mornings before your drives, do you check the vehicle for snakes that may have crawled in during the night. Some guests might just freakout or have a heart attack or something, if a snake came out on them.

  3. Great encounter, great pics! But … they are not mating. Most certainly those are two males “fighting” each other during the mating season, in competition over females.

  4. you are so lucky to observe this behaviour but these are not mating but two male Mambas engaging in male combat.They combat each other and the winner gets mating rights to the females in the area,many large snake species around the world adopt this behaviour especially in mating season. This is often mistaken for mating.
    What awesome animals are Black Mambas!

  5. Thanks for all the comments and input! 
    Well – I am not a snake specialist but the two did not look in any way aggressive during their action. So if it is two males “fighting for females” they are rather gentle about it 🙂 – Christian

    1. I am the snake expert 🙂 and owner of “The World of Snakes”, one of the biggest snake breeding facilities on the planet where we work with about 80 different species. The way these two are coiled around each other is typical for a male fight, not for mating. Yes, Christian, (in this species) it´s a “gentle” fight, they don´t try to hurt each other, they only try to find out which is stronger and the dominant one. They coil around each other, raise the front part of their bodies and try to push down their opponent to the ground in a wrestling style. That goes on and on, as long as one of the two accepts his defeat and leaves the area. In a mating procedure they would behave differently, not coiling around this way and not raising their bodies, rather the female would elevate her tail and the male would try to get his tail with the cloaca area under the females tail to complete the copulation. Instead of wrestling you would rather observe the male rubbing and shrugging on the female in an intent to stimulate her. Dominance fights between males can be observed in several species. You might want compare with this video footage of a rattle snake fight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS6FLueFs_s
      Anyway … great pics! Congrats! Would love to observe that in the wild!

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