Black Mamba's are awe inspiring creatures. They carry a legendary reputation. I have had many dealings with these gorgeous snakes throughout my career, most have been peaceful sightings but there are a few times that stick out in my memory.
As summer returns to full swing the chance of seeing a Black Mamba greatly increases. It is a relatively common sight to see one crossing the road as the day begins to warm up and contrary to popular belief they are not always trying to kill you. There have however, as I say, been a few situations where these dealings have not been so peaceful. You see they have this incredible ability to stand up with only 25% of their body mass remaining on the floor while the other 75% is held up by a haunting corkscrew action - this is done in order to both look dominating as well as to position their heads in a position that will allow them to strike at your chest or face. They have stood up in front of my vehicle twice in the past, which of course induces a blood chilling feeling, luckily though this is nothing that a swift reverse can't remedy. I am sure I have reversed away from Black Mamba's faster than elephants! Talking about elephants, sure they can be scary, they like us can have a bad day and they like us can take that out on something around them. However it is always pretty easy to know which way to go to safely get away from them BUT when a Black Mamba stands up next to your door, not more than half a meter from your face as you are casually driving along on game drive slowing down to park for your morning coffee your reaction might not be as simple as you think. This happened to me early on in my career and I will forever remember it and it will forever ensure that I have a deep respect for the serpent. I remember crunching gears, I remember my tracker shouting "fugga Boot!", I remember the goose bumps. In that moment I had no idea how to react, should I go forward? Should I reverse? When an animal that can kill you in 45 minutes looks you in the eye you just sort of freeze. I did manage to go a little backwards and luckily the snake did drop from it's height and slither away but my lesson was learnt. Everything in nature deserves respect but never take a peaceful elephant (or Black Mamba) sighting for granted.