Black-tailed Jameson's Mamba

15 Mind Blowing Facts About Jameson’s Mamba Snake

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The Jameson’s mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni) is a highly venomous snake species found in parts of Central and East Africa. This slender, arboreal snake is rarely seen but is incredibly fascinating.

Here are 15 mind blowing facts about this elusive serpent:

  1. The Jameson’s mamba is one of the fastest snakes in the world, capable of moving at speeds over 7 miles per hour. When threatened, it can dash away before most predators can react.
  2. It’s bite delivers a potent neurotoxic and cardiotoxic venom that causes symptoms within 10 minutes. Without antivenom treatment, the mortality rate is 100%.
  3. Jameson’s mambas can grow over 8 feet long. The longest recorded specimen measured 8 feet 2 inches. Their bodies are long, slim, and olive green in color.
  4. They are arboreal snakes, spending most of their time in trees and shrubs. Their prehensile tails help anchor them to branches. On the ground, they seem clumsy, but in vegetation, they’re swift and agile.
  5. These snakes are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs rather than giving birth to live young. Females may lay up to 17 eggs at a time in hollow logs or rock crevices.
  6. Jameson’s mambas are diurnal and most active during the day, especially in the morning. They hunt by ambush rather than pursuit.
  7. Their fangs can be up to 6 millimeters long. Mambas have hinged fangs at the front of their mouths that swing erect when they strike. This allows them to stab prey and inject venom.
  8. They feed mostly on birds, eggs, small mammals like hyraxes, and lizards. With lightning-fast strikes, they snatch prey from branches and swallow it whole.
  9. The Jameson’s mamba is timid and rarely confronts humans. It relies on camouflage and speed to escape danger. Bites generally only occur if stepped on or cornered.
  10. Only a few antivenoms are effective against Jameson’s mamba venom, making bites particularly hazardous. Antivenom must be administered rapidly to save a victim’s life.
  11. Mambas get their name from an old Bantu word meaning “shy one”. This refers to their habit of fleeing from threats. The black mamba was likely the first mamba species encountered.
  12. Jameson’s mambas inhabit parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique. They reside in rocky hills and savannas up to 6,500 feet in elevation.
  13. Deforestation threatens their arboreal habitat. Mambas rely on trees and shrubs for shelter and hunting grounds. Habitat loss has made them quite rare.
  14. Their populations are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List. Continued deforestation and the illegal pet trade pose long term risks.
  15. In some African folklore, the mamba is considered a trickster spirit that can shapeshift into human form. Its intelligence and deadliness have made it an object of fear and awe.

The Jameson’s mamba is a swift, venomous snake that remains mysterious due to its secretive nature. As human activity erodes its habitat, this species may become even harder to find. Learning more about this elusive serpent can help inform conservation efforts to preserve it.


The Jameson’s mamba is a fascinating snake that has adapted to life in the trees. Its speed, potent venom, and cryptic habits make encounters with humans mercifully rare. However, habitat loss and overcollection remain serious threats. Protecting areas of untouched forest will give this vanishing viper the space it needs to thrive far into the future.

Respecting the Jameson’s mamba and its domain can allow us to coexist safely with this marvel of nature. Understanding its ecological role can help us appreciate how vital biodiversity is to maintaining balance in the wild places we all share.

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