Most people have heard of this snake, and know how dangerous it is due to its size, speed, toxicity, and aggressiveness. It can outrun most people, easily goes up a tree, and does not seem to have fear when it is aroused. The snake is greenish-grey in color; it gets its name from the black color of the inside of its mouth.

The first time I saw a black mamba was in Tsavo National Park in Kenya in 2005. It was in the early evening as we were looking for lions to monitor. We were in a Land Cruiser, slowly going down a road looking for lions, when the driver hit the brakes so hard we were all thrown forward.

The other guides started talking rapidly in Swahili and told us it was a black mamba. I saw it cross the road in front of us, moving from right to left, the upper 1/3 of its body in the air, looking directly at us, menacingly, as it moved rapidly across the road.

You can see how people think snakes are evil when you see a snake like this looking at you in this manner.

Our driver sped down the road and kept on going, as the guides kept their excited Swahili talk going, which kept our heart rates up. I must admit, I was much more on the alert the rest of that night while driving around, and even looked under my bed before I went to sleep later that night!


This picture is the only shot I could get by the time I got my wits and was able to focus on this fast-moving animal. Luckily my shaking hands did not interfere with the shot. 


Zak explaining the different bird sounds, and how the one we were hearing was a “reptile” alarm call. I was not convinced, and thought he was pulling our legs.


Another guide walking around with others from our trip spotted it first. Do you see it? It’s in the tree to the right, 25  feet in front of us. 


Any luck seeing it now?


What about now?


3rd time’s a charm

At this point  I pulled out the telephoto lens and went to work







After a few photos the mamba starting moving around the tree, so we wisely walked back to our boat

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