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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 8:20 EDT

Eastern Green Mamba

The Eastern Green Mamba, Dendroaspis angusticeps, is a venomous arboreal snake native to the east coast of southern Africa. They are found from the coastal forest of the Eastern Cape in South Africa through Mozambique into Zimbabwe and the Malawian coast. Green mambas make their homes near trees, often in evergreen forest, coastal scrub, or moist savannah. Bamboo thickets and mango plantations are also known to be mamba habitat.

These are the smallest members of the mamba family. Adults are about 6 feet long, with some known specimens to reach 12 feet in length. The green mamba is overall glossy grass-green in color with light bright green underside. A green snake that is spotted, bluish or has yellow or white undersides is not a green mamba. Green mambas are slender snakes, with a distinct head and long, thin tail.

The green mamba is highly arboreal and seldom ventures to the ground unless following prey or basking. Unlike the black mamba, the green mamba is a shy and non-aggressive snake, and does not often strike when threatened but usually makes a swift and elegant departure. Continued provocation will cause it to strike, however this is uncommon. Their diet consists primarily of adult and juvenile birds, birds’ eggs, and small mammals. Young mambas occasionally eat other reptiles, such as chameleons.

The green mamba lays 6-17 eggs in summer. The eggs are usually laid in a hollow tree among decaying vegetation. Hatchlings measure between 13 to 18 inches and are venomous from birth. Males of this species are known to engage in combat for mating rights, similar to the combat practiced by male king cobras. The combat involves wrestling matches, with snakes twisting and pushing each other to the ground, which may last several hours. Combat usually does not include biting.

Eastern Green Mamba