The yawn of the infamous black mamba, showing the namesake black inside of the mouth. The fangs are also visible
Check out those fangs!!
The black mamba gets its name not from black skin but from the inside of the mouth being jet black. The body is typically varying gray/olive colors, but when they feel threatened they will raise the first third of their body up, spread a very narrow hood at the neck, and gape an inky black mouth at any would be foe. I’ll tell you from personal experience, it’s pretty darn intimidating! If the threat display doesn’t work, they will readily strike, and with their impressive size this can be at the chest/face height of a man. They often bite multiple times in quick succession as well, with a study claiming that just one bite has the possibility of injecting enough venom to kill 15 men.
All that being said, and the mamba’s infamous reputation as being highly aggressive, I actually sat in a tree over 20ft high with this one for about twenty minutes, snapping many photos like this one while I was perched less than 10ft away. As with all the mambas I encountered, it wasn’t aggressive at all and had no interest in me. Now if you corner one or try to handle it, WOW are they fast and strike with agility! But I went Africa hearing all these stories of mambas chasing people down and being hyper aggressive, meanwhile I hung out up a tree with three different individuals without any signs of aggression and only trying get away.
Photographed with a Sony A7riii with a Metabones mark V adapter and Canon 100-400 telephoto lens.