oa Journal of East African Natural History - Hood-spreading by the Mambas of the African Genus Dendroaspis Schlegel

Volume 1965, Issue 111
  • ISSN : 0012-8317



Hood-spreading by the Cobras of the Asian and African genus Naja Laurenti is a well-known characteristic, but it is only those accustomed to handling Mambas or familiar with these relatively large snakes in the wild state who realise that all species of Mambas are capable of demonstrating what compared with Cobras can be descriptionbed as a modified hood. A variety of reasons, such as excitement, alarm, annoyance, anger, intimidation, contemplated aggression or to deter have been suggested and it is unquestionable that at times this behaviour constitutes a threat, but C.J.P. Ionides who has handled more Mambas (mainly Green Mambas) - thousands - than anyone else is of the opinion that this demonstration, which certainly seems often in the nature of a threat, does not necessarily signify impending attack. Much depends on circumstances and on the temperament of the individual.

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