Black Mamba Snake Kills & Swallows a Mouse

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Nelene Prinsloo and her family were about to depart the Letaba Rest Camp, Kruger National Park. When, her husband became aware of movement at a nearby palm tree. “What’s that?”, he questioned. Hurriedly, they scurried closer! And it is then that her daughter Corne realised that the scene which was about to unfold…

Living in Phalaborwa, the family understandably frequent the Kruger Park, and Letaba Rest Camp (river of sand), situated on the Letaba River. And this sandy riverbed serves as a superb backdrop for incredible game viewing. But that particular day the family had no idea just what was in store for them…

 Nelene says, ‘We moved even closer, and on investigation this black mamba had struck several moments before; the mouse going into a state of immedite paralysis!’ Not surprising, considering the toxocity level of the mamba on such a small animal. The venom of a black mamba contains both neurotoxins which attacks the nervous system, and cardio toxins which attack the heart.

 “The mouse was still alive with slight twitches! Regardless, the mamba proceeded to swallow the mouse! Whole!”, exclaims Nelene. Snakes use their quadrate bone and cranial kinesis (the term for significant movement of skull bones relative to each other in addition to movement at the joint between the upper and lower jaw) to swallow their prey whole.

 According to the BBC, when a snake eats a large prey item, its stomach and intestines expand rapidly, its metabolic rate goes up, and it increases the amount of digestive enzymes that are produced. Even with the digestive adaptations that snakes possess, it can take them a very long time to digest their food. During this time, the snake’s midsection often bloats dramatically for several days.

 Once the mouse was completely consumed, the snake proceeded into the thick of the palm trees, and disappeared from their sight. Although it is an incredibly rare sighting, it is not unusual to see black mambas active during the day, and hunting. Nelene concludes that they were awestruck, and for hours afterwards kept repeating, ‘I cannot believe we just saw that! But of course we were sad on part of the mouse that had to die’. But it is true that in the wild, one life has to die in order for another to live!

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Tracy Burrows103 Posts

    If there is one thing that I have learnt, it is the more I see, the more there is to see! My name is Tracy Burrows and I am the managing editor of Out There Global, a community driven travel magazine platform for cost effective, luxury, unusual and extraordinary but mostly immersive travel ideas around the globe. From Jan 2014 - Dec 2016 I managed the blog (a United Nations World Summit Award Winner: Culture & Tourism 2016 & National Geographic partner). I was also consulting editor at MOZambique Magazine, and contributor at Sawubona Magazine (South African Airways inflight magazine). Prior to my career I obtained a tourism marketing degree, and graduated from a 2 year 'Hospitality Management in Development Program' in California. Following this I acquired a journalism diploma and since it's been all about travel and writing! And my nourishment comes from all those who have impacted me: family; friends; and strangers alike. So thank you for inspiring me, and for joining our journey!


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