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Snake: Black mamba

Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:01 pm
Posts: 17
Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:59 am Unread post
Great story Wild Tom and I can certainly relate to it.

Last year in January my SO and me were driving near Jones se Dam.
As we crested a rise in the road I saw a snake lying along the side of the dirt road with its head in the grass on the right.
From a distance I couldn't ID it but it was about 3m in length.
Being an avid photographer I was keen to get a pic of it and so I switched off the car engine and slowly free-wheeled down the incline towards it.
I managed to get next to it without it realising but as I positioned my camera on its beanbag I must have made a slight noise and alerted the snake which promptly reared up and eyeballed me thru my window at a distance of less than 1m.
At this point I realised it was a black mamba and k$ked myself.
My SO who is petrified of snakes was by this time screaming bloody murder and the two of us were frantically trying to engage the electric windows, but as we both had bean bags resting on them they wouldn't close!
The next thing we knew the snake was gone.
I looked in the rear view mirror - couldn't see it; left - no snake; right - no snake; forwards - no snake!!
All around the car it was open for quite some distance - we would have seen a snake of that size making a dash for it.
It dawned on me that it must be under the vehicle.
Not wanting to hurt the snake I started the car and revved the engine a few time...nothing.
Ever so slowly I reversed...nothing.
By now my SO's imagination was in overdrive (and truth be told starting to rub off on me) - the snake must have crawled up into the engine!
It was the only logical conclusion.
We continued on our drive trying to tell ourselves that it couldn't possibly be in the engine compartment! About an hour later we stopped at Afsaal for a comfort break.
I switched the engine off and we both sat there staring at each other.
Neither of us wanted to get out!
Eventually we both threw the doors open and ran.
Once i was a safe distance I turned around and had a cautious look under the car.
Clearly relieved I closed the doors and we continued on our way.
But the story doesn't end there!

Later that same evening we arrived at Lower Sabie in the dark.
After checking in we found our chalet and started unpacking the car.
I had just carried some bags into our unit when I heard this blood curdling scream and immediately realised it was my SO (who was pulling a bag out the car).
I ran to the car and my SO was in a state of shock.
After calming her down I was able to work out what had happened.
In the process of pulling a bag from the back seat she had dislodged a toilet roll which proceeded to unravel and run down her arm.
In the dark she thought it was the mamba!!

After picking myself up off the floor :lol: I had a most enjoyable evening of Russian Television!

Last edited by Berkhead on Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:14 am
Posts: 2387
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:54 am Unread post
Hair-raising stuff! :shock: :shock:

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 18172
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:46 am Unread post
Driving through Marakele a few weeks ago we met this guy. When I showed this pic to my son he said: "Ma, do you realize that snake can lift two thirds of his body off the ground and get you through the window?!". :shock:


After reading this story, I'm very, very relieved that my window was higher than two thirds of the snake was long. :shock:

We'll be oh, so careful from now on! :lol:

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Junior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:03 pm
Posts: 1167
Location: On my stoep. Sell by date not expired yet!!
Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:45 pm Unread post
Lookin' at this fella he was sure making
eye contact!!

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 18172
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:06 pm Unread post
I can tell you HE, he was carefully assessing the situation! :twisted:

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 11761
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:19 am Unread post
Definitely a very scary story WildTom, very glad you are able to relate the story to us! :D

I can also recall a few years ago when we were travelling in a rental Combi near Skukuza on the tar road, I was sitting in one of the back seats and suddenly out the corner of my eye saw something rear up quite high and strike at the car as we passed by.
Only then did we realise it was also a Black Mamba and a big chap.
I think while lying sunbathing or crossing the road they tend to get a fright and react aggressively.

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:44 pm
Posts: 2906
Location: Welkom
Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:47 am Unread post
A couple of years ago, whilst on our way to a private reserve next to Kruger, we saw a "branch" in the middle of the road.
As we came closer to this "branch" it suddenly came alive.
And yes, it was a black mamba.
Just as were next to it, it lifted its body and struck at the vehicle.
His head was level with mine and we were driving in a 4X4!!!.
Fortunately my window was closed.
The single Brandy and Coke quickly changed to doubles (after a quick Jaegermeister)

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Junior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
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Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:25 pm Unread post
Wow Wildtom that does sound very very crazy :thumbs_up: ...glad you enjoyed the experience though! I guess someday someone will get bitten by a black mamba through their window though as this happens quite often but usually not so near a miss!! :shock:

@Berkhead...another great story but you had me in absolute stitches...such a funny story...I can only imagine your wifes shock!

@JenB...woooooowwwww!! Brave photograph...really love it !!!

Just outside Biyamiti camp in about 2001 we came around the corner and disturbed a scene of the interaction of a tree squirrel and a black mamba in the middle of the road...they were so into the confrontation with each other with the squirrel teasing the mamba, that the mamba only saw us last minute and got such a fright that it reared up at least as high as the top of my dad's 4X4.
Now we were nowhere in risk but it was amazing to see this snake in full flight as it reared towards the vehicle and then off the road.
I believe everything people say about these relatively common snakes because their speed is mind boggling and its mostly in the north of the park that Ive seen them usually making their way off the road at great speed.
Even one time there was Mamba in one of the prominent trees above the Pafuri picnic site and we realized how toxic their venom is because it was attacking a family of Woodland Dormouse and one of them fell out of the tree completely paralyzed/dead within a couple of seconds.
Felt sorry for the poor little thing.

Another encounter I had was perhaps my scariest.
I drove guests in the Sabi Sands for about 2 years and the guys who work as trackers will always tell you how they've had experiences with Black Mambas rearing up at them (especially as they sit on the bonnet of vehicles to look for animal tracks) and by the sounds of things there have been some very scary encounters!
On the one particular day I had about 4 guests with me and I was going down this 2-track dust road with lots of Terminalia shrubs on either side and as I came to an area with a relative clearing this mamba reared up much higher than the open land rover (no roof even)... it all happened in an instant but myself, my guest behind me and my tracker who was sitting at the back got a great visual of this snake which was reared high up in the air (higher than me but about head height for my guest) standing its ground literally only 2 metres from the that instant of seeing the snake my instinct clicked in and i swerved the car off the road right into the bushes on the other side.
All the other other guests got a fright because of my driving thinking I wasn't concentrating but when we explained the story they were kind of glad they didn't see the snake :thumbs_up:

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:21 am
Posts: 6473
Location: SA
Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:37 am Unread post
If my memory serves me well a person on foot in the Pretoriuskop area was bitten by a black mamba some time ago en he died. I think he was a student.

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 12:54 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Germany
Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:22 am Unread post
I had a similar experience on the H10 some years ago.
Not with a Black Mamba, it was a green Snake and she stood with her Head directly in the front of my open window. Then she disappeared up into the branches of a Tree.
First I thought it was a green Mamba, but I read that there are no green Mambas in the KNP.
This was a very frightening experience.
But it never prevented me from driving with open windows.

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:33 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Irene, Centurion
Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:13 pm Unread post
Does anyone remember the newspaper article a few years back, about a couple who drove most of the way from, I think, Olifants to Gauteng with an illusive cobra in their car?
Apparently it was eventually found among their spare blankets which were on a chair in their hut and placed on the back seat when they left.
It kept rubbing up against their driver's leg while they were driving but disappeared every time they stopped. Only after they stopped at a reptile park and the entire vehicle was unpacked and searched was the snake found.
It was a fair size too, 2-3m.

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:19 pm
Posts: 360
Location: NOT where I want to be!!
Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:55 pm Unread post
I wrote it before about the experience we had with a Black Mamba at Shingwedzi.
We were maybe 40 meters out of the gate when a black mamba came with speed out of the grass on the rivers side.
I quickly stopped to take a photo since it is such a rare occurrence to take pics of these very poisonous and aggressive snakes.
It already started to lift it head so, I made sure my widow was about 3 quarters up when "wham", it struck the next moment. :shock:
He went right for my face and if the window was down another 5 cm’s, be would have got me.
Even had a streak on the window where he left some spit and poison.
Its amazing how quick your heart and bladder react to such things…… :wink:
So close that windows a bit while driving through very bushy narrow roads.
We ended up with all kinds of nasty goggos in the car a few times when scraping past bushes and trees.
On the farm my sons ended up with a tree snake on the back of the bakkie once, after driving through some very low-branched trees.
You should have seen how quick that evacuation took place! :shock: :lol:

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Forum Assistant
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:49 am
Posts: 6747
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park
Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:12 pm Unread post
:big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:45 am Unread post
This seems to be more common than one thought! :shock:

Happenend to leachy too, on the Sable Dam road near Phalaborwa about two years ago.

The thing gave a full blooded smack at him, hitting the window which was fortunately closed!

(Honda CRV)

Teachers rarely get excited, but he was in a bit of a "toestand"! :shock: :twisted:

At least we know black mamba are widely distributed throughout the Park! :thumbs_up: :tongue:

Re: Black mamba strike on Sweni road....

Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:29 pm
Posts: 2720
Location: Nomad in my mind
Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:42 pm Unread post
A colleague of mine just got back from a week of camping at Skuk's..... His second last day there, he wakes up with a massive rucous going on outside his tent and people yelling..... Turns out a 2m black mamba was cruising around his tent :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

He was not a happy boy......I told him it served him right for camping :twisted: :tongue:

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