The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is a venomous snake endemic to parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Skin colour varies from grey to dark brown. Juvenile black mambas tend to be lighter in color than adults and darken with age. It is the longest species of venomous snake indigenous to the African continent; mature specimens generally exceed 2 meters (6.6 ft) and commonly attain 3 meters (9.8 ft). Specimens of 4.3 to 4.5 meters (14.1 to 14.8 ft) have been reported.
The venom of the black mamba is extremely toxic, commonly causing collapse in humans within 45 minutes or less from a single bite. Without effective antivenom therapy, death typically occurs in 7–15 hours. The venom is chiefly composed of neurotoxins, specifically dendrotoxin.
Over suitable surfaces it is possibly the speediest species of snake, capable of at least 11 km/h (6.8 mph) over short distances.
Despite its reputation for being formidable and highly aggressive, it usually attempts to flee from humans unless threatened or cornered. Not being proximal to humans, bites from the black mamba are not frequent.
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