Eastern Green Mamba
Long, slender. Adults 1 500 – 1 800 mm, up to 2 400 mm. Head coffin-shaped; slightly distinct from neck. Eye and pupil round; pupil narrowly edged with bright ochre to golden-yellow; iris yellow-brown to olive-green. Inside of mouth pink to light bluish-white; never blackish like Black Mamba. Colour bright emerald-green to grass-green, or lighter green; may have individual yellow scales; paler below. Smooth, dull dorsal scales in 17 – 21 oblique rows at mid-body; anal divided.
Fixed front fangs on articulating maxillary bones.
Fast-acting neurotoxin causes progressive weakness syndrome, and paralysis of lungs leading to death. The cytotoxin from a full bite causes considerable swelling of bitten limb, without bite-site necrosis. Adult lethal dose: 15 – 20 mg; venom yield: 40 – 80 mg. Does not bite as readily as Black Mamba. Majority of bites mild with small volume injected, but victims should receive medical care as soon as possible. Polyvalent anti-venom is available.
Densely forested, low-lying areas. In SA, restricted to coastal forest. Uses tree-hollows or dense creepers as cover.
Diurnal and mainly arboreal. Seldom found outside forests or dense bush. Emerges in early morning to bask before foraging for birds and their nestlings, squirrels or other rodents. Returns to refuge in late afternoon. Often lives in close proximity to humans, seeking refuge in ceilings where it will remain and forage from for many years if not disturbed. Often confused with Boomslang or Green Snakes of the genus Philothamnus.
Owing to arboreal habit and placid nature, very few bite-records exist; majority incurred by snake catchers and -keepers when hands mistakenly bitten during feeding response, or during rough handling. Does not usually gape mouth or flatten neck like Black Mamba. Vents displeasure by emitting hollow-sounding hisses.
Reproduces by egg-laying.