ABout Elapids


Mambas can slither at speeds up to 12 mph.

The elapid family includes mambas, the cape cobra and red spitting cobra.

Mambas are the longest venomous snake in Africa, growing to lengths up to 14 feet. The black mamba gets its name from the coloring of its mouth. Green mambas are much shyer and more elusive compared to black mambas.

Who’s at the Zoo

Black mamba, eastern green mamba, cape cobra, red spitting cobra

Experience Size, Speed & Venom: Extreme Snakes
Plan Your Visit
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Average Size
8.2-14 ft
Native Region
Eastern and southern Africa
Eating Habits
Frogs, lizards, small mammals, and birds
Conservation Status
Least concern
Distinguishing Charateristics

Black mambas are named for the color inside their mouths. Females grow larger than males and are the longest venomous snake in Africa.

Fun Facts

Revered among the most dangerous snakes in Africa, black mambas are the fastest snake in the world, able to travel up to 12 miles per hour. Haraka pronounced ha-RAH-ka), means “fast” in Swahili.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Green mambas are a beautiful green, perfect for blending into the canopy. They are the smallest of the four species of mamba.

Fun Facts

Mahiri's name was chosen by Zoo fans. His name (prounounced mah-HEE-ree), is a Swahili word that means “vibrant." Their genus "Dendroaspis" derives from Ancient Greek and translates to tree snake, appropriate for this highly arboreal snake.


What can you do?

Everyone has the power to help save wild things and wild places. That power is your individual voice, your awareness and your actions. So in addition to visiting the Zoo and meeting our animal ambassadors, here are a few simple suggestions that will help save their counterparts in the wild.

  • When you’re out in nature, watch out for our scaly friends. Be mindful when you’re stepping off marked trails and pay close attention to areas where snakes like to hide, like fallen trees and stumps. They’re more afraid of us than we are of them.
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Come see for yourself.

Look no further. Connect with our amazing animals and learn about the wild places they come from.

Where are they at the Zoo?
The elapids are located in the Desert Dome.
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