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Mamba vs Puff Adder – Poisonous Pick-up?

Mamba vs Puff Adder – A Look at These Dangerous Pick-ups!

We’ve all heard the old cliché “never pick up a snake”. But what happens when that snake is a mamba or a puff adder? These two venomous snakes have different characteristics and come with different consequences if you should make the unfortunate decision to pick one up. So, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two and why it’s best to avoid both!

What is a Mamba?

A Mamba is a venomous snake that’s native to Africa and can range from 3 to 4.5 meters in length, with the African Black Mamba being the largest of its kind. Its venom is neurotoxic, which means it affects the victim’s nervous system and can cause respiratory failure and death if left untreated. It’s generally dark greenish-grey in colour, with the white underside of its mouth giving it its namesake. It’s typically a shy snake, but when provoked, it can strike with lightning speed and precision, which is why it’s been nicknamed the ‘snake with the golden tongue’.

What is a Puff Adder?

The Puff Adder is another highly venomous snake and is the most widespread venomous snake in Africa, ranging from Morocco all the way east to India. It typically grows between 60 and 100 cm in length, is thick-bodied with a thick tail that tapers down, and ranges in colour from light green, brown, grey, yellow, orange and even black. It’s known for striking with lightning speed and accuracy, but can be unpredictable and can even strike multiple times in succession if provoked. It tends to be less shy than mambas and is able to hide itself very well in its environment, making it particularly dangerous for unsuspecting victims.

Mamba vs Puff Adder – Poisonous Pick-up? two

Do Mambas & Puff Adders Have Anything In Common?

Both mambas and puff adders possess highly toxic venom that can cause serious injury or even death if left untreated. They are both highly adaptive and can survive in a variety of habitats, both urban and rural. They’ve also adapted to the presence of humans and can often be found near houses and villages. Finally, both snakes have the ability to strike with deadly accuracy and considerable speed.

What Are The Key Differences Between The Two?

The biggest difference between mambas and puff adders is their size. Mambas can grow to as much as 4.5 meters while puff adders only reach a maximum of 1 meter. This has a major impact on their threatening ability as well as how easy they are to spot. Puff adders are also much less shy than mambas and are much easier to stumble upon, even in populated areas.

Which Is More Dangerous?

The answer to this question depends largely on the situation at hand. If confronted with an agitated mamba, the chances of its lightning-fast strike being fatal are much higher than with a puff adder. However, puff adders can strike multiple times in quick succession, so even though they’re smaller and less aggressive, they can still pose a significant risk.


At the end of the day, it’s best to avoid both mambas and puff adders as both can be extremely deadly. Better to take a wide berth and give these two snakes their space. And don’t forget the old adage – never pick up a snake, no matter how tempting it may seem!

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