Despite their sinister occupation, there are just a few
snakes that aggressive towards man. Big snakes like the Pythons, Boa and others
may eat medium sized animals and the occasional human being, but most snakes
have nothing to gain by confronting man.
Of the estimate 3000 snake species in the world, there are approximately
300 types in South Africa.
About 70% of them are non-venomous snakes while the other 30% give all the
snakes a bad name.
The most famous poisonous in South Africa is the black mamba. Growing
to a length of 3 â 4 meters, it is widespread in warm areas in South Africa.
It is one of the most aggressive and fastest snakes with rigid fangs. The venom
is a fatal powerful nerve poison witch is fatal as I mentioned and if left
untreated the victim would die in minutes.
The fangs of the black mamba are surprisingly small. The victim
may escape a full dose of venom if it bites through clothing or hit your shoe.
The green mamba is a bit smaller, usually 2 meters in full length
and less poisonous and lives mostly in tree tops.
There are about 10 species of Cobras here by us. The Cape
cobra, Egyptian cobra, Angolan cobra and Forest
cobra is the common ones. Like the mamba, cobras have short fixed fangs, with
venom flowing down exterior groves.
The rinkals or South African spitting cobra is a short snake
and differs from true cobras in that it produces live young rather than eggs.
This snake can spit its venom accurately and with force and can spray up to 4
meters. Its effects in eyes and open wounds can also be fatal unless treated.
Most bites in South Africa come from the adder
family. These snakes are not aggressive but it strikes when trampled on. Adders
have hinged fangs, larger than cobras and mambas making them most efficient
biters, but their venom are slow acting making time to allow treatment.
Many experts feel that the boom slang is the deadliest of
all in Africa. It grows up to 2 meters and
varies in color, green, brown or black. Their poison acts in the blood and nervous
system. The fangs of a boomslang sits in the back of its mouth making it hard
for them to bite a human, unless they get hold of your toe or finger. During breeding
season, in spring, boomslangs congregate in large numbers. Professional snake
catches found as many as 400 in one tree!