Black mamba kills the man’s wife, daughter and nephew in a single attack

A black mamba snake has killed the wife, daughter and nephew of a Zimbabwean man in a single attack.

The man, identified as Tapiwa Musiiwa from Hurungwe district according to a local report, says he and his family are still dealing with the tragedy.

The black mamba inhabits a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa and is found in several countries across the continent including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and many more.

The snake has a fearsome reputation, being dubbed “the deadliest and fastest snake in Africa” by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

Black mamba snake
A stock photo shows a black mamba snake – one of the most feared snakes in the world. A black mamba reportedly bit and killed three members of the same family in Zimbabwe in September 2022.

Black mambas are known for their extremely potent neurotoxic venom. The African Snakebite Institute states that if left untreated, the venom can cause death within three to 16 hours.

Black mambas can grow up to 14 feet long, although the average size is about half that. The snakes live in savannas, rocky hills, and open forests, and like to roost in hollow trees, crevices, and burrows.

SANBI describes the snakes as “nervous animals” who prefer to stay away from humans, but the potential for human conflict is still there.

Zimbabwean news agency Newsday reports that the deadly snake attack on Musiiwa’s family members occurred while they were collecting firewood in the village of Murimbika, some 37 miles north of the town of Karoi.

He told the news outlet that his daughter Nyarai, 21, was the first to be bitten on her leg. Her mother tried to help her, after which she was bitten on the chest. Musiiwa’s nephew Tawanda, 15, was then bitten on the ankle as he tried to escape.

Locals tried to help the three get access to medicine, but it took time as the mountainous terrain made it difficult to reach the area by car.

Musiiwa’s wife and daughter died on Friday, September 23, at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital and his nephew at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, Newsday reports.

Now Musiiwa asks for help to bring their bodies to his family’s home where they will be laid to rest. “This is a family tragedy and we are yet to come to terms with it,” he told Newsday.

So far, three coffins have been donated to the family by a funeral home and 80 liters of fuel have been offered by Zimbabwe’s leader, Abel Mbasera Chundu.

There are an estimated 435,000 to 580,000 snakebites requiring treatment in Africa each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which notes that the greatest burden occurs in countries where health systems are weakest and medical resources most sparse.

It is unclear how many of these bites can be attributed to the black mamba.

The African Snakebite Institute notes that an article on snakebites in Zululand examined 879 snakebites over a five-year period, five of which were “most likely black mamba bites”.

At the same time, the institute states that most snakebite deaths in South Africa are due to bites of the black mamba and the Cape cobra. Black mamba kills the man’s wife, daughter and nephew in a single attack

Rick Schindler

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