Black Hand Vacation Book Extra(WIP): All About Black Mambas
Last week I decided to go on a search about for some black mamba pictures that may go on the cover of my WIP Black Hand Vacation. I decided to look around for ideas despite the fact I haven’t begun the edits and illustration plans yet. There is going to be some cutting going on too! I’m still writing another Neiko book and other ideas are coming in for several new series… Funny how that happens!
I was looking for like a drawn representation that would go above the title. The search was pretty much a bust.
The drawn representations were pretty much all wrong–they looked more like black rattlesnakes or cobras (there are big differences here), or they left out the characteristic black mouth. The only ones that were remotely correct (which were so few) did not fit what I was looking for. I decided that not too many people know very much about black mambas. People don’t know much about snakes in general, let alone any particular kind of snake.
So what does the black mamba have to do with this book?
The main villain, Nightcrawler, has a strong affinity for this snake. He likes just about all highly toxic venomous snakes and other deadly animals, but this is his favorite. Some reasons may be they reflect some of his personality and skills. Another is that they are deadly. He is someone you don’t want to meet in a dark alley.
Another creepy thing about this guy is that he can handle these deadly creatures, and they will obey him. He has no magic or cannot speak parcel-tongue. It’s some of those strange, unexplained things about Native Americans and other native like people. He can handle them like some people do a boa or a kingsnake. His first venture with this “gift” was when he was a small child–pick up and talking to wild timber rattlesnakes. Needless to say his mother about had a heart attack.
Was he from a bad family? No. His parents and other brothers except his twin were very good people. It’s just they had a couple bad seeds. Very bad seeds.
Here are some interesting facts about these creatures:
- Black mambas get their name for the insides of their mouths being black, not their overall color. Also has been said that is the last thing a person or a prey animal will see before dying.
- One of if not THE deadliest land snake in the world. The Inland taipan is it’s closest contender.
- Body color is steel gray to olive green and a white underbelly
- Spends most of its time in the trees. They are very accomplished climbers
- The fastest land snake in the world reaching at speeds of 12 mph. They can raise 1/3 of their bodies off the ground with amazing bursts of speed
- They can flatten out their necks, but they don’t have the characteristic hood like a cobra
- Average length is up to 8 feet, but larger specimens of 10-14 feet have been found
- They can stand up to about 3 to 4 feet off the ground
- Very agile and aggressive when threatened
- Fangs are fixed and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long
- One of the most well know facts are their venom. Without antivenom, it has a mortality rate of 100%. Death can occur within 20 min to 4 hours. Administering antivenom during the first 20 minutes after envenomation is critical, or chances of survival radically decreas.
- Like most elapids, their venom is neurotoxic, meaning it paralyses the nervous system
- These snakes have a general bad attitude, but they don’t deliberately look for people to bite
- The largest venomous snake in Africa
I have watched quite a few reptile wrangling shows to see these snakes in action. They can give even the most experienced snake handler a run for their money. One misstep and it’s a trip to the hospital, and something can go wrong really fast. Oftentimes, they don’t look forward to a showdown with a black mamba, and each successful capture without a bite is a blessing.
Truth be told, there are reptile breeders that sell these snakes on the internet, but I wouldn’t recommend buying one unless you have a death wish :). Nightcrawler can get them from there or simply go to Africa if he feels like it. I would just hate to be the person try to arrest him for that type of contraband though.
About the Author
AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.