So as you start our new job or go out and do your old one think about the risks EVERY SITE, EVERY EMPLOYER has risks like H2S which can kill, or GHS Chemicals that can burn or cause Cancer. So always think what are the risks, how are they controlled, what is my knowledge, and what things including TRAINING will I the worker need to do the job! I for one because I hate snakes would say I refuse unsafe work, although I have taken this training and hated every minute of it! But workers in these locations would say no worries and we will go for beers after work! The same death vs speed risks could be applied to grizzly bear that can reach speeds up to 35 mph! Compared to the slow speed of the momba at a mere 12 mph! Never to be confused with he King’s enormous length does not hinder it’s elastic movement though. It is actually a thin snake, with an amazing ability to raise up a third of its entire body and keep on moving forward, attacking and hissing. It will actually stand up and look right into your eyes. Feeling scared?
With out question the Black Mamba is considered to be the longest venomous of all snakes found around Africa. It is also considered to be one of the deadliest. It features a very powerful venom and that has many people running scared from it. They are fast moving snakes and they are know to be aggressive and strike in a moments notice.
And all you have to do is run faster than 12 mph/20 km/hr , Of the venomous snakes of the world, only the King Cobra is longer. The Black Mamba is also the fastest land snake in the world, able to reach speeds in excess of 12 miles per hour (20kph).
It is possible for this snake to be about 14 feet in length. However, it is quite thin with an overall size of about 3 ½ pounds. In spite of being so thin though they are very strong. This is also a very fast moving type of snake so don’t underestimate what you are dealing with.
Why as an employer or worker would you put yourself in such great risk and environment?
Its bite is deadly and commonly known as the “kiss of death.” One mamba has enough venom to kill 8 to 14 adults. The first symptoms are usually felt within 15 minutes — much sooner if the victim is a small child. The bite itself is often relatively painless, with very little or no swelling. Breathing difficulties soon develop, which ultimately leads to respiratory paralysis and death. This often happens within 45 minutes, or if you are lucky, a few short hours. It is a frightening way to die, fighting to breathe whilst slowly becoming totally paralysed. The worst part is your brain remains totally unaffected. The victim is aware of everything and everyone around him but he cannot move, swallow, talk or breathe.
You may be puzzled why they have such a name though as they aren’t black in color. Instead they are gray, olive, or brownish. The color will depend on the natural habitat of the species. They have to be able to blend in if they want the best chance of finding prey. This camouflage also helps them to reduce the chances of being noticed by various predators. The black mamba is one of the fastest and deadliest snakes in the world. Two drops of its venom can kill a person.
So think about the risks in your company like bears or thing that can go boom or moving parts that can take your limbs or life in a heart beat if you are not trained and ask why would I want to do such work, simple good training and tools were made available and I the worker understood those risks and how to use my environment and training and tools to may advantage. Like: Pillstrom Snake Tongs
The late Dr. Larry Pillstrom invented, perfected and patented the Pillstrom snake tongs which has been around since 1954. These tongs have been copied by many, some with minor changes by using a cable instead of a rod to activate the jaws. When handling large venomous snakes like cobras or mambas, the rod mechanism is preferred as is has a more positive feel and is more reliable. African Reptiles and Venom imports and supplies these tongs here in South Africa.
Snake hooks are made from golf clubs with stainless steel hooks. These tools are indispensable in any snake collection or as a tool to remove snakes from around your house or lodge.
Ignoring the risks around like: Black mambas hunt and are active during the day and return to the same place every night to sleep. They are often seen “basking in the branches of a tree in the early morning” before going hunting. Black mambas are sometimes found in pairs or small groups, their fundamental shyness. She said that they are “shy and secretive snakes that prefer to escape confrontation.” Nevertheless, “black mambas can become highly aggressive if threatened. Their defensive behavior is their most distinctive behavioral characteristic.
Even though they are very aggressive they do take the chance to escape when they can. Since this snake is so fast they will often do so. However, if they feel backed into a corner, they have eggs around them, or they are agitated they will strike fast. When they move quickly they are able to remove about 1/3 of the body from the ground. It is really amazing to see!
When they do bite they will do so several times consecutively. This is another reason why they are so dangerous to humans. They can strike faster than human eyes can see them moving the tongue in and out. The amount of venom that can be released with each strike is very high.
Not every risk is in every environment at work but never assume! Because you could become dead on the work site!
Habitat and Distribution
There are several well known places around Africa where the Black Mamba lives. They include Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The largest numbers of them are believed to be around the Republic of Congo. They can live as high up as 5,900 feet but they tend to live lower. However, with their natural habitat continually being depleted and food sources taken they are adapting where they can in order to be able to survive.
They will find just about any location out there a good home as long as their basic needs can be met. They live in the swamps, the woods, the forest, and even along the savannah. They are able to thrive on very little food, where it is hot, where there is humidity, and more. In fact, once this snake makes an environment home it is almost impossible to get them out of there.
Diet and Feeding Habits
You will usually find the Black Mamba living in the trees. They can find plenty of food there. Plus, they have plenty of great camouflage to keep them well hidden in such an environment. They are able to sit around and wait for various sources of food to come along. They can bite and inject strong venom with a single bite or more to their prey. They will release it when they are done as the prey will be immobile.
.Something is always bigger or better and never ignore the other risks because everything in nature or on the job has equal or greater risk!
The Black Mamba doesn’t have to worry too much about predators out there in the wild. The Mongoose though is one that is does have to reckon with. They aren’t going to be bullied into running off. They are most likely to find the eggs that have been deposited or feed on the young snakes that haven’t been out of the eggs for long. It is unusual that they will try their luck with a full grown Black Mamba snake. Cape File Snakes are a common predator in some locations.
Humans tend to be the biggest problem for these snakes though. Due to them being so deadly people will kill them as well as their eggs. They will destroy what they find in the hopes of reducing the population of this snake in the wild.
Knowing more that FIRST AID on any job site! Like toxicology and GHS knowledge
Venomous Bite or Danger to Humans
Humans have to take a great deal of caution around the Black Mamba. It has very strong venom combined with the instinct to strike numerous times. “Like cobras and coral snakes, the venom of a black mamba contains neurotoxins,” The highest number of people bit by them are laborers in plantations. They have to do the work by hand and the colors of this snake blend in too well for them to be noticed on most occasions. “Fatalities from black mamba bites have been documented to occur within as little as 20 minutes after injection,”. “However, most known fatalities have occurred within 30 minutes to 3 hours or longer.”
Anti venom has to be administered quickly to someone who has been bitten by such a snake. The time span is typically no more than 20 minutes. These workers in the field keep the anti venom on hand to give to someone who may have such an incident during a hard day of work. Even though it is dangerous they have to work in order to care for their families.
Never put all your eggs into one risk and ignore the other risks on a job site!
The other mamba species are all smaller and slightly less venomous than the black mamba, though still very poisonous. These snakes are all brilliant green. They are also all arboreal species, residing in trees. They are known to drop from branches onto their prey below. All are solitary snakes.