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Watch: Deadly Black Mambas Rapidly Coil Each Other in A Duel Captured in Rare Video

May 26, 2016 09:19 AM EDT
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What happens when two of the world's deadliest and fastest snake species engage in a battle to show dominance and skill?

Captured by Kirstie Bower of Johannesbeurg, South Africa, the rare video shows the black mambas rapidly coiling around each other.

In an interview with National Geographic, Kenneth Krysko, the collection manager of the herpetology division at the Florida Museum of Natural History, explained that the snakes are not exactly killing each other, rather they are battling for their right to mate with a female snake.

"It really shows two males in a classic combat behavior, with each trying to make the other one submit," Krysko told the publishing site.

The behavior is called "plaiting combat" wherein the males swiftly tie each other in braids until the other one gives up. Female snakes typically mate with one male a season with male snakes fighting for their affections.

Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis), a species native to South Africa, usually lives in open savannahs and rocky plains. Mambas are good climbers and are always spotted on trees. Like all other reptiles, the black mamba regulates the temperature of its body by relying on natural heat, which is why they are often spotted basking in the sun.

Being the second largest venomous snake in the world, exceeded in length only by the king cobra, this snake's potential danger has been blamed for thousands of human deaths.

According to National Geographic, black mambas can grow up to 14 feet and can slither for as fast as 12.5 miles per hour, faster than most people can run. Despite being characterized as species that are shy and secretive, they are ruthless and aggressive once threatened. Without antivenin, a bite can kill a human within 20 minutes.

The name "black mamba" has a coffin-shaped head and is named not for its skin color but because of its inky black mouth which is seen when it opens its mouth. Since they have no external ears, they track their preys by sensing vibrations. Sudden movements will make them think that they are under threat. So when you encounter black mambas by accident, try not to move or step away from them with the slightest move and noise.

Animaldiversity.org said the black mamba has no special conservation status and they can live up to 11 years in the wild.

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