4 Types of Mambas (with Examples)

Photo: Cormac Price / Shutterstock

Mambas are venomous snakes in Africa, often found climbing trees. Because of the exhaustive number of stories and myths about these snakes, they’re greatly feared. 

In this article, we’ll be clearing some of those misconceptions up as we take a look at 4 types of mambas.

  • Black Mambas
  • Jameson’s Mambas
  • Eastern Green Mambas
  • Western Green Mambas

1. Black Mambas

Photo: Cormac Price / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Dendroaspis polylepis

Black mambas are highly venomous snakes and they’re considered to be one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. 

This relates not only to the potency of their venom but to their aggressiveness and their quick and agile movements.

These types of African snakes can reach speeds of over 10 MPH over short distances, which is much quicker than most other snakes. There are reports of black mambas reaching speeds of almost 20 MPH, but they’re mostly exaggerated.

They’re called black mambas because the inside of their mouth is entirely black. When threatened, they’ll open their mouths in a threat display. 

Conflicts with people are not uncommon, as these snakes aren’t afraid of approaching human habitat while looking for prey.

Unfortunately, this leads to bites, which are often fatal if antivenom isn’t administered. Black mambas will attack when cornered, but they’re also known to attack people even if they’re just close by – they’re very territorial.

They mostly prey on rats, birds, and other small animals, while they’re important prey to many birds of prey, as well as honey badgers.

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2. Jameson’s Mamba

Photo: Heiko Kiera / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Dendroaspis jamesoni

These mambas are also equipped with highly potent venom, but the Eastern Jameson’s mambas are reported to have much more potent venom than the Western Jameson’s mamba subspecies.

This type of snake is found in Central Africa and parts of East and West Africa, usually in rainforests and woodlands. Jameson’s mambas are great climbers, and they spend much of their time in the trees. Because of this, they developed a distinct green color, camouflaging themselves in vegetation.

Unlike the black mamba, they’re not aggressive nor are they quick on the ground. They mostly feed on birds and mammals found on trees, while they’re important prey for birds of prey and mongooses.

3. Eastern Green Mambas

Photo: Cormac Price / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Dendroaspis angusticeps

This type of snake in East Africa is highly venomous, and it’s very similar to Jameson’s mamba. It’s usually green and highly arboreal, hiding in the trees and staying elusive.

They’re sedentary snakes, and this shows in their hunting habits – they’re ambush predators, waiting for prey to pass by. Eastern green mambas mostly feed on birds, small reptiles, small mammals, and bird eggs.

Even though it’s the most often encountered out of the three green mamba species, the eastern green mamba bites people very rarely. Even when it does, death is rare since antivenom is available.

4. Western Green Mamba

Photo: PRILL / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Dendroaspis viridis

The western green mamba inhabits the forests of West Africa, where they usually stay on trees. They’re a highly arboreal species, and just like other green mambas, they developed green scales to blend in with the environment.

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This type of snake in West Africa is highly venomous, but they very rarely bite humans. They mostly feed on birds and small mammals which they catch in the trees. If needed, they’ll hunt on the ground, but they prefer hunting in the trees.


Mambas are highly venomous snakes that are only found in Africa. Out of the four types, the black mamba is by far the most dangerous species, as it’s quick on the ground and unnaturally aggressive towards humans.

The three other species are arboreal and spend most of their time in trees, where they also hunt. Aside from black mambas, encounters with mambas are rare and even when they occur, they rarely end in biting and envenomation.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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