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Eastern green mamba
The eastern green mamba or common mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) is a venomous arboreal snake indigenous to the eastern side of southern Africa. Eastern green mambas are the smallest members of the mamba family, averaging 1.8 meters (5.9 feet), with known specimens to 3.7 m (12 feet). The species is found in forests chiefly near the coast stretching from the Eastern Cape in South Africa through Mozambique and Tanzania as far as south-east Kenya, going inland as far as southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe.
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. However, green mamba hatchlings have a bluish-green color. 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. Green mambas are diurnal. Unlike the black mamba, it is a shy and nonaggressive snake, and does not often gape and strike if threatened but usually makes a swift and elegant escape. Continued provocation will cause the snake to strike, and bites, although serious, are uncommon.
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.
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 is oviparous, laying 6-17 eggs in summer. The eggs are usually laid in a hollow tree among decaying vegetation. Hatchlings measure between 35 and 45 cm (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 does usually not include biting.
The green mamba's venom is highly venomous, containing calcicludine amongst other neurotoxins. Its venom is similar in composition and action to that of the more famous black mamba but only one-tenth as toxic, and the amount injected is generally less, due to the snake's smaller size. Despite this, any bite from a green mamba is potentially fatal and should be regarded as a medical emergency requiring immediate hospital treatment.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eastern_green_mamba". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|