The Fastest Snake in the World

Which species of snake is the fastest in the world, traveling on land at more than 19 km per hour, or 12 miles per hour?

And the answer is: The Black Mamba

(Image: © Andre Coetzer | Shutterstock)

Native to parts of Africa, and extremely venomous, the black mamba can travel faster than most humans can run. Thankfully, their speed is normally used to outrun predators, rather than chase prey. Yet despite their lethal capabilities, these serpents tend to be shy and nervous, which makes their speed a perfect defense mechanism from pesky mongoose, jackals, or other predators.

Interestingly, these fierce serpents are named not for the color of their scales, which are brown, but for the blue-black color on the inside of their mouth. When confronted or challenged, the black mamba will flatten their head and show off their black mouth and fangs before attacking. It’s no wonder they are commonly referred to as the great white sharks of the snake world!

Check out this video of two black mambas in action. This behavior is likely what’s known as "plaiting combat," where the two male snakes twist and turn about one another until the other falls. It is usually done in order to secure a female mate.

Watch Two of World’s Deadliest Snakes Fight on a Golf Course
In a rare sighting, two male black mamba snakes entwine in vicious “plaiting combat”—likely battling over a female.

Did you know?
The late Kobe Bryant adopted the nickname "Black Mamba" in an attempt to separate professional from personal life. In a 2015 interview he states: "When I step on that court, I become that. I am that killer snake. I'm stone cold, man."

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