Tag Archives: African reptiles

Animal Spotlight: The Black Mamba

Arguably the world’s deadliest snake, the black mamba has been the focal point of many exaggerated African legends, making its name feared around the world. Known for its cunning speed, aggressive behavior, and ability to inject potent venom into its prey, the black mamba is not something you’d want to provoke.

Found across the African savannahs and in rocky areas of southern and eastern Africa, the black mamba is a popular snake to witness on an African safari tour. Although they are dangerous, you are extremely safe within your vehicle with your highly knowledgeable and certified guide.

Here are the real facts behind the black mamba:

  • The black mamba is actually grey, but gets its name for the blackish-bluish color inside of its mouth that is displayed during aggression.
  • Reaching up to 14 ft. (4.3 m) in length, the black mamba is Africa’s longest venomous snake.

  • Black mambas are difficult to out-run as they’re one of the fastest snakes in the world—they can reach speeds up to 12 mph to be exact. And surprisingly, they do not use this incredible gift for speed to attack their prey. Instead, they use it to escape threats.
  • Left untreated, the black mamba’s venom has a fatality rate of 100%.
  • The black mamba is so strong that it can raise its 1/3 of its body off of the ground.
  • A black mamba will spend hours on a branch waiting for its prey, which are usually reptiles, amphibians, and rodents.
  • Using its long black tongue to smell, the black mamba will frequently display its tongue when it senses something approaching.
  • Females can lay up to 17 eggs in a nest beneath the ground or in a hollowed tree hole and they will hatch in approximately three months.     

For a closer look at the black mamba and research being performed on it, view this fascinating PBS video.

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Lion Sands Private Game Reserve: Uncover One of Africa’s Finest Treasures

The Lion Sands Private Game Reserve ecologist’s April report is in, and it appears that April was a delightful month for Lion Sands’ guests. Since April tends to be a dryer month, many animals were seen eating small crustaceans and vertebrates in the pans and mud pools that are beginning to dry.

Visitors to the Lion Sands Game Reserve in April were rewarded with plentiful sightings of wild game, especially lion and leopard. And, as usual, the Big Five sightings were exceptional!

Birds spotted during the month of April included African fish eagles, and saddlebilled and woollynecked storks. Several migrating species were also spotted, such as the Eurasian bee-eaters and woodland kingfishers.

Reptiles spotted during the month of April included the tree agama, African rock python, Nile crocodile, and Mozambique spitting cobra. With the colder weather approaching, reptile sightings were less frequent because they’ve been seeking shelter from the chilled air.

Lion sightings were extraordinary during the month of April. Both the Southern Pride and Hilda’s Rock Pride were regularly spotted, which was a great treat for Lion Sands’ guests. There have been occasion sightings of a single female from the Hilda’s Rock Pride over the past several months. The reason for the solo female lion is because the rest of Hilda’s Rock Pride has moved south of Lion Sands to neighboring parts of Kruger National Park. The Lion Sands’ ecologist is not absolutely positive what triggered these lions to move to other parts of Kruger Park, but has a sound theory. According to the Lion Sands’ ecologist report, “Lion prides are a socially complex arrangement and the move might have to do with a change in their social structure or interactions with other prides.”

There is speculation that the solo female lion has a group of cubs sheltered in the riverine vegetation. Guests were delighted to see three of the female’s adorable cubs playing in the grasslands while she basked in the hot, African sun. Future guests to the Lion Sands Game Reserve can look forward to spotting these cubs as they grow older.

Leopard sightings during the month of April were outstanding! With up to three leopards being spotted on each African safari tour, guests saw leopards mating and hunting. Several kills included impala, duiker, scrub hare, and banded mongoose.

The chart below was taken from the Lion Sands’ ecologist’s report and “indicates the percentage of Big Five sightings in the month of April on game drives on Lion Sands Private Game Reserve.”

 

Lion

Leopard

Buffalo

Elephant

Rhino

Percentage:

 73%

93 %

77 %

97 %

90 %

Want to learn more about Lion Sands Game Reserve and view their March ecologist’s report? Read Hills of Africa Travel’s past blog entry, Experience a Luxurious Stay and Spectacular Game-Viewing at the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve.

With fantastic game-viewing, gorgeous scenery, and luxurious accommodations, Lion Sands Private Game Reserve is arguably South Africa’s finest destination. Let Hills of Africa Travel plan your ideal South African honeymoon safari, or family safari. We strive to ensure each guest has a life-altering African safari trip, which is why all of our itineraries are crafted around your personal tastes and preferences. Contact us today at (877) 845-4802. We’re looking forward to making your dreams come true . . .