Battle of the black mambas


In the last week, Molori guests witnessed one of the most exciting wildlife interactions – the battle of two black mambas and a young leopard. “This has to be one of the most exciting interactions I have ever encountered in my 12 years of guiding”, says Sean, senior guide. “When we came across the young male

 

In the last week, Molori guests witnessed one of the most exciting wildlife interactions – the battle of two black mambas and a young leopard.

“This has to be one of the most exciting interactions I have ever encountered in my 12 years of guiding”, says Sean, senior guide.

“When we came across the young male leopard with a zebra kill that we were tracking, we noticed he was some distance from the tree where he had hidden his kill, which was unusual. When we heard a rustle in the brush, it suddenly dawned on us what had caught the curiosity of the cat.   Within two meters of the leopard were two male black mambas (Dendroaspis polylepis) having a territorial battle.

“We spent about an hour watching the battle of the snakes with a curious leopard that tried frequently to paw the two fighting mambas. Eventually one mamba emerged as a winner and the leopard gave up. Both snakes and leopard returned to their daily business”.

The Black mamba is a highly venomous snake of sub Sahara Africa. Despite its common name, the black mamba takes its name not from the colour of its scales, but from the interior of its mouth, which is inky black. Its venom is chiefly composed of neurotoxins, specifically dendrotoxin. This makes the black mamba extremely dangerous and has been known to cause total collapse in humans after just 45 minutes of a strike. The young curious leopard was extremely lucky!

These two species are rare to find in Madikwe and to have them together, is extremely rare.

Story and photographs by Sean van der Merwe.