Mamba is the common name given to snakes of the genus Dendroaspis. 'Dendroaspis' translates as tree snake (Greek dendron (tree) + aspis (shield); shield in this case also refers to asps, with their neck hood). While most of the Dendroaspis are arboreal, the most well known of the mambas, the black mamba, lives in burrows and crevices (although it can climb quite well when the situation calls for it). Members of genus Dendroaspis are long thin snakes (from 0.5 meters to 3 meters), with thin heads. They are diurnal. They live throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

They are closely related to the cobras, and have small hoods. They can rear up, and may even crawl in an upright position. They are also very poisonous, and will strike repeatedly. They tend to favor small prey, like rodents, hyraxes, and birds. They bite their prey, injecting them with a paralyzing neurotoxic venom, and then stand back and wait for them to die. They can be aggressive when threatened, attacking humans and larger animals, and are quite poisonous enough to kill what they bite.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Dendroaspis

Species -- Dendroaspis angusticeps, Eastern green mamba
Species -- Dendroaspis jamesoni, Jameson's mamba
Species -- Dendroaspis polylepis, Black mamba
Species -- Dendroaspis viridis, Western green mamba