torsdag 27. mars 2014

BLACK MAMBA !!!


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/6,3, 1/250, ISO 560

På introduksjonsdagen på min 2 uker lange "slange-odyssey" i Sør Afrika & Swaziland hadde jeg først fått en sikkerhets-briefing og en demo på håndtering av giftige slanger i felten og hadde deretter øvd meg med halvtjukke taustumper ("lissomslanger") for å drille teknikken, …før min fagansvarlige guide Mike Perry plutselig skrur lokket av en halvstor plastdunk og tømmer en 3 m lang svart mamba ut i gresset !!!! Jeg trodde ikke mine egne øyne, det var jo denne karen jeg var kommet for, men …. 
Han setter et kaldt blikk rett i mine usikre øyne og sier bestemt : "Catch it Tom". 
Faen !!! (beklager språket mitt, men det var akkurat dèt jeg hørte høyt og tydelig oppi hodet mitt). Jeg nøler !!! …. selvsagt nøler jeg, denne slangen er ansett som verdens farigste og har et skremmende rykte for å være rask, nervøs, uforutsigbar, og aggressiv. Ikke den beste kombinasjonen !! Mike sier så (litt stengere) : "Hurry up Tom, it`s getting away !". Ja, herregud, jeg ser jo dèt, den lange slanke, koksgrå slanger raser jo avgårde i det grønne gresset. 

Skrekkslagen kobler jeg ut alle "følelser & reflekser"og løper etter mambaen utstyrt med bare hender og en 1 m lang slangekrok. Jeg følger innlært prosedyre og … fanger min første svarte mamba !!!  

Open any field guide to African snakes and you will know that the black mamba is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. It is said to be extremely fast (up to 20 km/hour over short distances) and can comfortably move with as much as 1/3 of the body off the ground. With a maximum size of 4,5 m a big snake can strike as high as 1,5 m on a human body. It is known to be shy, agile, alert, nervous, unpredictable and aggressive. If cornered or threatened it will gape exposing the black interior of the mouth (hence the name : black mamba) and spread a narrow hood. Any sudden movement at this stage will be met with a serious of rapid strikes,- often with fatal results. 
Johan Marais says in his book "A complete guide to the snakes in Southern Africa" : "This is one of the deadliest snakes in the world and should be avoided at all costs, if you come across one, retreat slowly and carefully and the snake ill do the same". 

The venom of the black mamba is neurotoxic and will (among a couple of other nice things) cause paralysis to lungs & respiration. The victim will experience increasing difficulties in breathing and will suffocate to death within 45 minutes. It is said to be a horrible way to go !!

Ihave all reasons to believe that all they say about the black mamba is true … except maybe one thing : the extreme aggressiveness. Priority one for any cornered or confronted snake will aways be : 
Slip away & escape.

A warm thankyou to Mike Perry of African Snakes & Venom.


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/8,0, 1/640, ISO 1000


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/8,0, 1/640, ISO 800
Laying flat in the grass shooting a wild black mamba at a distance of only 1,5 m was …. 
overwhelming !!


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/5,6, 1/400, ISO 360
Adult black mamba 


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/5,6, 1/400, ISO 280
Black mambas can often be found climbing in low bush


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/5,6, 1/400, ISO 200
A young black mamba


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/8,0, 1/500, ISO 320
With their long, slender bodies black mambas are excellent swimmers 


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/8,0, 1/800, ISO 500
A baby black mamba, only a couple of weeks old with beautiful greenish coloration.


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/5,6, 1/400, ISO 500
Even beeing a big snake, the black mamba will vanish in the bush and is really hard to detect. When confronted or scared it will open the moth and gape showing the black interior of the mouth, but not hiss. A deadly strike could be the next move. 


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/6,3, 1/500, ISO 3200


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/6,3, 1/250, ISO 560


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/13,0, 1/200, ISO 800, flash


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/8,0, 1/640, ISO 900


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/6,3, 1/250, ISO 560
Black mambas are shy and hard to find. The easiest way to spot one is to join up with a callout service.  Thea Litschka-Koen and her husband in Swaziland offers people help to bring out snakes from homes, cars, buildings etc. She told me they had 670 callout in one year at the most and 13 black mamba callouts in one single day !! The mamba on the picture was found in the Mens Room (!!!) at a holiday resort.


D4, 200 micro 4,0, f/6,3, 1/250, ISO 1000
The deadly mamba fangs !!!


We looked for snakes day & night. At daytime we stumbled around checking roots, stones, dead plants for possible snakes … equipped with snake tong, snake hook, eye protection (for possible spitting cobras) and a snake-bag in the belt.


Yes, I cought this 3 m black mamba with a hook and my bare hands. As you can see the deadly snake is facing me and trying to get at me. I never thought I would get myself in a situation like this !!!!

5 kommentarer:

  1. Nei dæven hainn, koss du kjæm på det her da?!! Beklager trøndersk utbrudd, men dette så hustrig ut! Men fytt i katta så bra bilda du har tatt! Fascinerende! :-)Tror ikke det er mange norske naturfotografer har gjort dette før deg! :-)
    Mvh Lillian

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  2. Fantastisk, Tom! Ikke mer å si...

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  3. Oooops, That was close. Very nice pictures you got of this Mamba Tom.
    Take care / Kenny

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