Talk:Black mamba/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Fatality duration ???

In the "Venom" section there is a sentence which begins with "The fatality duration". What does "fatality duration" mean? Aren't fatalities permanent? I think that this sentence needs to be reworked for clarity. At first I thought it just needed some punctuation, but on closer examination I'm not sure what the writer was trying to communicate. (talk) 21:52, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

The "Venom" has taken a considerable "pounding" from a variety of editors in recent weeks, some with less regard for precision and accuracy than one would ordinarily hope for. Roger (talk) 10:56, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I have put in a lot of work into the article, especially the "Venom" section as toxicology is actually something which I have been thoroughly schooled in. Venom toxicity is a very complex thing and specimens of the same species and subspecies can have a good range in venom toxicity based on geographical location, diet, and even the weather. Snakes are extremely sensitive and you can't just have an LD50 number, there should always be a range. However, most articles on snakes just give an LD50 value. I put in the range of toxicity you can find in different populations and subpopulations of black mamba's across their range in Africa. Bastian (talk) 20:07, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Nice work Bastian. The section is looking a lot better than a month ago. Roger (talk) 19:09, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Requested move

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 19:27, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Black mambaDendroaspis polylepis – The change is based on the fact that countless snake articles (including common snakes such as Puff adder, Lancehead, Sea snakes, Russell's viper, Death adder, Kraits, Gabon viper, Saw-scaled viper, Tiger rattlesnake, and many, many others) use their scientific name as the title of the article, so I would like the same for the black mamba. It is more appropriate for an encyclopedia, is more scientific, and helps readers learn more about the species. There is a lot of disambiguation pages with the "Black mamba" name, so changing it would also eliminate that. Please support this and help me make this constructive move. Thanks. Bastian (talk) 21:30, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

If it is moved, what will come up when people search Black Mamba? Will they go to a disambiguation page that gives the option of going to Dendroaspis polylepis? HotshotCleaner (talk) 21:58, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Nope, it goes straight to the "Black mamba" (snake) article. So it's not a problem, just like a lot of the other snake titles. So if you are to enter "black mamba" in the search bar, it will take you directly to the snake article. We can put the disambiguation page at the top of the article with its new name if we want. Bastian (talk) 22:04, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

For the sake of having a complete record - tho following is a converstation that took place on my talk page:

Hey, sorry about not discussing it first, but the truth is there aren't any other serious editors but I on that article. I changed the name to it's scientific name, which is what a lot of other snake articles are like (ie. Bitis arietans, Bitis gabonica, Crotalus tigris, and many, many more). It is much more appropriate for an encyclopedia and it is a lot more scientific. You still get to the same page when you type in "black mamba" in the search bar. I don't see why other snake articles can be listed by their scientific name, but not this one. There really is nobody to discuss anything with because I am the only editor of the page. Nobody else really edits it and I have put a TON of work into that article - literally hours and hours of work over an extended period of time. May I please change it back? It's in the benefit of the article. Bastian (talk) 19:49, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Look at the article history - there are plenty other editors, the article has existed YEARS before you even registered on WP. But actually that is of no significance at all, just because you happen to be the most active recent editor does not mean anything - see WP:OWN. Oh and have you actually read WP:NAME yet? Many species articles are at their scientific names particularly if the don't have very well known English names or even don't have an English name at all. However this too is irrelevant - what happens in one article is not a valid reason to do the same on a different article. Roger (talk) 20:09, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Also, the black mamba is very commonly referred to as the "black death" in Africa (this name is even relatively common in Europe and North America, aswell), I agree an expert calling it "death incarnate" does not mean it is a common name, but in Africa there are similar such names that people commonly refer to the black mamba by. Names that would translate into "black demon" (this is a common one, especially in Swaziland, Botswana, and in Mozambique), etc. Bastian (talk) 19:54, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Those names are not English, thus irrelevant. I get the impression that you are not very familiar with many of the policies and rules that govern Wikipedia. Roger (talk) 20:09, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Okay forget the "common names" issue - that's not a problem at all, we will stick with what we have. The name "black mamba" is just a common name for the species Dendroaspis polylepis. I am going to change it back to Dendroaspis polylepis and you can still type in "Black mamba" in the search bar and it will take you to the exact same page. There is no difference. The only difference will be that having it's scientific name as the title of the article is much more appropriate for an encyclopedia, it will be more scientific, and people who don't know will learn the scientific name of the black mamba. I think it is perfectly appropriate, many other snake articles follow the same format, and I don't think the black mamba should be an exception. No matter how "common" black mamba is in the English language. In the end, it's not like we are changing the snakes name - we are just using the scientific name as the title of the article. You seem only interested in changing things, but not discussing anything. You are a fellow Wikipedia editor, just like me. You aren't in any position of authority over me - I want you to get that straight. Second, toxicology and snakes is something I have studied deeply and at length. My knowledge on the subject is far more expansive than yours, which is probably very basic compared to me. I don't see anything in your user page that would indicate you are well versed in the topic of herpetology, toxicology, or even general science and that is why I hold this position (not that I am being arrogant, but only realistic). From what I see in your user page, you are likely much more knowledgeable about the history of South Africa, military technology, and the languages than I am. I don't disrupt your editing on the subjects which you have been schooled in, I would've appreciated it if you had left the mamba article to me to finish. I have put hours and hours of work and research for the article and several others others. Bastian (talk) 20:29, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

You really don't know the rules and policies of WP. If you unilaterally move the article again you could be blocked for disruptive editing. If you really feel strongly about moving the page you are required to follow the procedure prescribed at WP:REQMOVE. Other pages you really need to read are WP:OWN, WP:AGF and WP:CIVIL. I am now going offline for about 10 hours so please regard this discussion as "on hold" while I get some sleep. Roger (talk) 20:42, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Wait, wait a minute - I work hard on an article and you come along changing things around and you are talking to me about "disruptive editing"? You are right in that I am not very familiar with the rules and policies of Wikipedia (I do know some of the rules and policies, but not all), but all I know is that other snake articles use the scientific name rather than their common name (ie. puff adder, Gabon viper, Tiger rattlesnake, krait, Death adder, sea snakes, saw-scaled viper, Russell's viper, lancehead, and countless others). If you click on every link I put before you, you'll go to the article but the title will be the scientific name. These are all very common English words for very well known and common snakes, much like the black mamba. Why is it that it is okay for these articles to have the scientific name as the title head of the article, but I can't do it for the black mamba because of this and that rule and "policy". Don't these rules and policies apply to those articles aswell? You're giving me all these links to "rules" - I'm being civil, I am not claiming to "own" the article, and yes I intend to do whatever it takes to change the name to Dendroaspis polylepis and with all the countless of other snake articles following the same format, I think I will get to change the name. Of course that's unless somebody (not going to be me) goes and changes ALL of the snake articles from their scientific name to their common name. There are about 30-40, if not more such snake articles. The list I put above is just the tip of the iceberg. Bastian (talk) 21:11, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Oppose I agree with User:, this proposal goes against WP:COMMONNAME and WP:JARGON The other scientific name articles that do have English common names should rather be moves to those commonnames. Thank you Bastian for deciding to follow the correct procedure. Roger (talk) 06:35, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose per COMMONNAME. The claim of increased educational value of a move is dubious, as the binomial is given as literally the fourth word of the article. If this discussion is closed as keep, other snake articles should be examined. Danger (talk) 10:48, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

If it is opposed, then I expect all the other snake articles to have their "common name" be the title of the articles. For example, Bitis arietans is the puff adder and another example is the family of Bungarus which is the Krait family of snakes. There are many others including the Saw-scaled viper, Russell's viper, Tiger rattlesnake, Lancehead, and more. Bastian (talk) 16:05, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

I think we should wait for more people to give their input before coming to any conclusions,let this process run it's full course. There's no reason to hurry, WP doesn't have a deadline like a newspaper. Roger (talk) 16:19, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
In some cases the common names are better; in some the scientific names—as when the common name refers to multiple species in a confusing way. —innotata 16:55, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless there's a problem with the common name—it is also used for other species, for example—it should remain, per WP:COMMONNAME and good sense in my opinion. —innotata 16:54, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I am getting my fellow editors from Wikipedia:WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles involved in this. I think it's only fair that people who are well versed and educated on the topic of herpetology and snakes have a say. They were the ones that used the scientific names to begin with, so I think this isn't over by a long shot. Bastian (talk) 17:14, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Other stuff exists is no valid reason to move this topic. WP:COMMONNAME applies and not aware of any reason to override it in this case. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 17:52, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The first person to oppose this request isn't even a registered member of Wikipedia and thus his/her vote should be null and void, in my opinion. If they want to participate in things like this I think they should be members, not some anonymous user using only his/her IP. Another thing is I don't understand why so many people think that the name "Black mamba" is so common and well known?! This is a snake that is well known in Africa, but not commonly known outside of that continent (not as common as many here believe). Hit the streets and ask random people if they know what a black mamba is and at least half will not be able to tell you what it is. We aren't talking about animals like a Tiger, Lion, or Elephant here. Rattlesnakes and Cobras are well known and I wouldn't be in favor of using the scientific names of most of the cobra or rattlesnake species, but the black mamba should have it's scientific name as the title of the article. Bastian (talk) 18:03, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Comment - I'm sorry Bastian but your ignorance of/disregard for Wikipedia's rules and procedures is becoming a problem. The fact that someone is an IP editor does not in any way devalue their opinion and your personal attack against is completely out of line. Similarly the fact that someone is an admin does not give their opinion any extra weight. In any case your "friend" (and admin) EdJohnston has not yet posted here - he can speak for himself if he wishes to. I noticed however, that he said here: "I have no opinion on the wisdom of the move...". Your reasoning about how "Black Mamba" is only known in Africa and thus not deserving to be used as the article name but Rattlesnake is acceptable because Americans know it shows a worrying degree of US-centric thinking. Wikipedia is a global Encyclopedia. BTW "Rattlesnake" as a common name applies to a number of different species while "Black mamba" is the English commonname for just one species. (Yes English is spoken in Africa.) Roger (talk) 18:38, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Comment It's not a vote per WP:NOTVOTE, anyone can contribute to the discussion including IP's. Google scholar has plenty of examples of the use Black mamba outside Africa. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 18:59, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Reply to Roger: Okay I apologize to the IP user for saying his opposition to this request shouldn't be counted. Not all IP users are vandals, many IP users are constructive editors, so my apologies. I also know that administrators aren't automatically more authoritative than other editors when it comes to content disputes. I just wanted to throw it out there, that's all. Roger, I think you are starting to take a very negative and rude tone, while I have been straight-forward and honest in my postings without jumping to conclusions and make quick assumptions like your attempt to make it seem that my thinking is "US-centric". First, I'm Canadian and not American (yes, yes Americans and Canadians speak the same type of English and share a common North American culture and so on...) and second, I also mentioned Cobras not just Rattlesnakes - or did you forget about them? You don't need to "worry" about my "US-centric thinking" because I don't think that way at all. It's true - black mamba's are well known in Africa, but they aren't as commonly known or heard of outside of that continent. I'd estimate 50% of the North American, European, Middle-Eastern, and the far east populations don't know what a black mamba is. Bastian (talk) 19:34, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Request I would like to be shown where my tone has been negative and/or rude - by someone other than Bastian. I am trying my level best to uphold the rules and conventions of Wikipedia here. In the course of doing so I have (unfortunately) had to point out a number of transgressions by Bastian, but I believe I have consistently used neutral language and tone in doing so. Roger (talk) 19:53, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Comment It's properly the worlds most well known snake, second only to anaconda for snakes on Wikiedpia. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 19:55, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Reply to Roger 2.0 Maybe not rude, but a bit condescending (constantly telling me how I don't know the rules or policies of Wikipedia, etc). You also jumped to conclusions and made assumptions (ie. my thinking is "US-centric", when I'm Canadian and you chose to ignore my mention of Cobra's and cherry-picked the Rattlesnake's and made that the basis of your claim that my thinking is "US-centric"). I may not be familiar with ALL the rules and policies, but I do know many of them. I showed you respect and left the page as it is yesterday and went this route (a route you suggested I go). I realize you are trying to uphold the "rules and conventions" of Wikipedia, but like Faendalimas said: "...frankly WP:COMMONNAME is wrong in its usage and understanding of this issue with respect to Zoology." and "The scientific name is recognised in any language, this helps other users from other countries use these pages even when they don't know our common names." There are other benefits to having it changed to the scientific name. User Faendalimas, like me has a science education/background and that is why he understands this. Which one of the editors that "opposed" this request have a science degree or not even a degree, but a strong background in herpetology or toxicology? In anycase Roger, this isn't a war and we aren't fighting - I will be as courteous and understanding as I can be and hope you will too. And to SunCreator, yes the black mamba is a known snake - but the general public are far more familiar with the king cobra, Rattlesnakes, and the true naja Cobra's. Like I said, at the very most only 50% of people will know what a black mamba is. I'm only estimating here (over-estimating), but if I had to put money on it, I would go far lower than 50% of the world's population. Bastian (talk) 20:28, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

I don't know if it's even worthwhile responding to comments like these, Sebastian. The rules that Roger has quite rightly pointed out are simple or even obvious ones—discuss the issue properly, use whatever is agreed to be the most common, appropriate name. As for the editors commenting, who they are isn't relevant or appropriate to discuss in this way—the move should be discussed on the issues. Wikipedia can be edited by and participated in by anyone, and the contributions of experts are great, but experts, and those who put the most work into articles, shouldn't override others. Also, it's not even fair to say editors who prefer the common name are unfamiliar with the subject—there's Petter Bøckman, plus most of the other editors including myself, er, know about zoology, eh, and have contributed to animal articles on Wikipedia.
On the issue, the fact that a large number of people haven't heard the name isn't relevant. The name is the most widely used one—do you dispute that? It isn't problematic in any other way, as a common name. And I entirely don't see how common names are all problematic: there is the rule that you follow common names if possible, in general, to be most recognisable and natural; non-English speakers who will recognise only the scientific name and use the article are only a small part of our readership and not inconvenienced with the scientific name as a redirect and in the first sentence. —innotata 16:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Since I have been quoted I would like to make one statement. I also do not think that the fact I or anyone else does or does not have a degree in zoology has any bearing on this discussion. I stated that I agree with the move, in principal, I acknowledge though that WP:COMMONNAME, wether I agree with it or not, is the current policy. I think that policy is vague, overused and a hindrance to consistency. It also creates more of these type of arguments than it prevents. Policies should create clarity and ease as much as possible, considering how much grief this one causes that makes it a bad policy. However, as editors we have to follow the policies, and if we have issue with them discuss them over at the policy. I have raised my views there. I will add a caveat to my agree below. My one objection to moving this page is that it is already established under the current name and it is not a bad name for the page. In other words, leave well enough alone. WP is not an US and Them between professional scientists and non-professionals. I don't like seeing it being implied or made to seem that it should. I do not, however, agree that a scientific name is Jargon, as is also suggested on occasion. The scientific name of a species is its official name, international recognised and used by all workers in all fields regarding those species, not just zoologists. They are the only correct name for a species. Not jargon. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 02:09, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Agree - Ok I have deliberately remained neutral on this issue until recently. But quite frankly WP:COMMONNAME is wrong in its usage and understanding of this issue with respect to Zoology. Part of my reason is purely structural. The scientific name is a good anchor for all the available common names for a species. One of the common names is not a good anchor for everything else. Standing on the principal that this is an English Encyclopedia is quite frankly a cop out. A poor excuse to sure up a straw man argument. A good article would have a title that can be recognised in any language and every available common name redirecting to it, including the common name at the location of the species. The scientific name is recognised in any language, this helps other users from other countries use these pages even when they don't know our common names. This also helps the other language WP as they have less pages than english and often use our pages, in translation to at least start there's. So for the sake of being of benefit to all readers I support the use of scientific names as titles with common names as redirects. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 18:43, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The name "Black mamba" is well known and refer to a single species. Scientific names for species articles is where a species has uncertain, variable or no common name. Articles on snakes should conform to the Wikipedia standard, thus there is no more reason to move this article to Dendroaspis polylepis, that to move "lion" to Panthero leo or "human" to Homo sapiens. If anything is to be moved, it is the other snake articles with scientific names for well known common names. Petter Bøckman (talk) 18:53, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per WP:COMMON NAME. The argument put forward by User:Faendalimas that A good article would have a title that can be recognised in any language is frankly nonsense. How, for example, could the article at Sea possibly have a title recognisable in any language, not to mention that different languages use different scripts? That is why we have a German language Wikipedia, Japanese language Wikipedia, Hebrew language Wikipedia etc. The average reader is far more likely to look for the common name "Black mamba" than for the scientific name, and would expect to find the article under that heading. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of readers (as opposed to editors, who are more likely to have a certain amount of knowledge of the article's subject) are unlikely to have ever heard of the scientific name. And we write the encyclopedia for the benefit of the reader, not for the benefit of the editor. Skinsmoke (talk) 02:48, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
The Sea is not a species of animal or plant which is the topic here. I have no issue with you opposing, if you read above I also oppose it on grounds other than WP:Commonname. The way I have been suggesting this get done would still permit the term "Black Mamba" to find the page. Anyway, my aim here has been to raise some points get people thinking. For your information, scientific names are always written in the Latin Alphabet, no matter what language the paper is in, so different scripts are not relevant. I have not attacked one person here, not sure why you seem to feel the need. This is just a discussion. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 07:28, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm still pretty new to WP so I'm still learning about all of the policies and everything. I was asked to put in my 2 cents so here it is. If you type in the scientific name (Dendroaspis polylepis), it goes to the Black Mamba page which has a disambiguation for black mamba. So regardless of whether you type the scientific name or the common name, you go to the same place and get the info that you were seeking about Black Mamba/Dendroaspis polylepis. I put oppose, but from my point of view, I don't really see it making much difference either way. I just figure if it works fine the way it is, why change it? HotshotCleaner (talk) 22:34, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Since this was opposed per WP:COMMON NAME, then who here is going to work on getting all the other snake articles that currently use their scientific name and change them so that their "common" English name is used instead? You know, it's policy and all. Bastian (talk) 21:26, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

That wouldn't work. It can only apply to articles where the common name is unambigiously applied to only one species. Only Dendroaspis polylepis is ever called the Black mamba. Black mamba is the only English common name that is widely used for Dendroaspis polylepis. In other words there is never any doubt that when someone says "Black mamba" they are always refering to Dendroaspis polylepis. Other English common names often apply to more than one species. Many species do not have English common names at all. Roger (talk) 09:37, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I looked into doing this as well and it seems like most snake species have numerous "common names", none of which are used obviously more than the others. In the case of more obscure species, English common names are actually less common than the binomial, since the species is rarely mentioned outside the scientific literature. (And even hobbyists, in my admittedly limited experience, will use binomials for these species.) I think Obsidian Soul's comments on the Wikiproject page are a much more complete explanation of the issue though. --Danger High voltage! 14:59, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Comments;
At least one editor commented on being new so some of this is directed at new users. I arrived at this discussion because of comments at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles#Requested move of Black mamba to the scientific name. One editor commented about "getting my fellow editors" involved and improperly advertising can be seen as forum shopping (even indirect notification) as there are proper procedures to follow to avoid canvassing that can be seen as an attempt to stack votes.
I have been in a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles#Article title naming. This was an attempt to feel out changing names that are scientific, to more distinct common names per policy, by consensus decision-making. I realized there were problems after a comment, " Furthermore, it's high time that laymen actually realize that scientific names are very important. ", and this caused me to take a break as I feel it is inappropriate on Wikipedia. I ascribe to not letting emotions be a part of my Wikipedia experience and this was disturbing.
I have direct experience with article names through an article (Claus von Stauffenberg) and learning Wikipedia policies and guidelines. While a scientific name is more correct to the scientific community as well as a correct name, such as a recorded birth name, any name also has to follow other criteria. This would be regardless of the involvement of an editor, the amount of work put into an article, or the stability of a particular title name since consensus can change. A name change can be implemented boldly as long as there is no objections. Any objections would then result in a name arrived at by consensus, still observing policies and guidelines such as WP:Manual of Style and WP:Article titles, and even accepted essays such as WP:Official names that also includes reference to policy, Article titles should be recognizable to readers, unambiguous, and consistent with usage in reliable English-language sources. Ambiguity can be resolved by redirects and the argument that other articles might have similar scientific names may be because they have not been contested. Deciding on an article title is covered and includes, The choice of article titles should put the interests of readers before those of editors, and those of a general audience before those of specialists. The policy concerning common names includes, The term most typically used in reliable sources is preferred to technically correct but rarer forms, whether the official name, the scientific name, the birth name, the original name or the trademarked name. Projects are still obligated to follow policies and guidelines to include the naming of articles. One thing I have learned is that even with policy directives and clear consensus there will usually be an editor that will no want to concede during a discussion. Otr500 (talk) 11:52, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


IP user, please do not erase an entire section which is well written and well referenced and replace it with unreferenced material, like you did with the "Predators" section. One of the references mentions that Mongoose's are immune to alpha-cobratoxin and says nothing of bungarus toxins, yet you add that the Mongoose is also immune to alpha-bungarus toxin. Checking your IP, it seems like you are the same user that was edit warring in the King cobra article not too long ago and your IP address location shows that you are from the same location as the user Fearingpredators. If it is you, which I highly suspect it is you, I have no choice but to go back to admin EdJohnston and let him deal with you just like he did last time. Bastian (talk) 21:18, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Article headings

Heading titles should be succinct - many articles (and biology books) use "description". I contend that the adjective "physical" adds nothing to the meaning/understanding of the heading at all and makes it needlessly longer.

Similarly, when we use the terms "distribution" or "range", we imply that they are geographical, hence using the adjective "geographical" is redundant and should be removed.

This discussion has pertinence to a whole skew of plant and animal articles, and in the interests of conformity should be sorted out somewhere. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:51, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

I like to see consistency. In most books and publications as well as on WP the titles Description and Distribution suffice. I dont see any justification for changing this and it would be inconsistent to do so. Cheers, Faendalimas talk 03:08, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

A header titled "Description" or "Distribution" are way too simple and are very vague. Description of what? Distribution of what? "Description" can mean anything - the "Description" of its behavior, size, venom, and on and on. The same with "Distribution". It's far more specific and succinct if you were to put "Physical Description" then people go "okay, I guess this is where it explains it's size, colour, etc". This is the same when you are talking put "Geographical range" as opposed to merely placing "Distribution" as the header. Bastian (talk) 19:12, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

That's your interpretation of those nouns. "Distribution" (or "range" for that matter) means where it is found - no need for "geographical", and "description" does not equal "behaviour", it is about its appearance.) I suspect that if you look in most guidebooks, you'll see headings like "Distribution" and "Description" without the adjectives appended to them. Most people understand the context, hence making the adjectives redundant. I'll try to find some examples. Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:28, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Great. You had your "little changes", now please just leave this article be. It is a good article nominee and I don't want the reviewer (who ever it is going to be) to think there is an edit war going on here so I'm going to let this pass because it really makes very little difference. That 206. IP User is a multiple account user, he has had a really bad hard on for trying to make this article look as bad as possible - why? Your guess is as good as mine. This article is very objective, clear, accurate, and over-all well written and well-referenced. Let's leave it in peace. Bastian (talk) 14:54, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

I've semi-protected the article for a week which should prevent IP vandalism. Often animals which are well-known to school children are popular vandalism targets, hence lion has been semi-protected for long periods for the same reason. Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:16, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:Black mamba/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: LittleJerry (talk · contribs) 05:26, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Here are some tasks that need to be done before I pass this for GA.

Done:*Website citations should list the author (if given), accessdate and publisher. Only the title should be hyperlinked to the site.
Done:*The "Environmental encroachment" subsection needs a few more cites.
Done:*Female black mamba's can be especially aggressive if they have an egg nest to protect. This should be moved to the above paragraph where it talks have the snake defending itself.
Done:*The majority of book cites are given isbn's but there are some that aren't. Be consistant on whether books are given isbn's.
Done:*Some claims are sourced to in-text last name citations. Either the whole sources should be cited in Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

or they should be deleted.

Done:*The last sentence in the lede should be split. I don't see why the mamba being deadly would make it surprising that it is featured in myths and stories.
Done:*The indigenous people of Africa that live in the black mamba's range share stories of how this snake has been seen chasing away herds of Cape buffalos, wildebeests, and even chasing away humans. I suggest changing this to Indigenous African have told stories of the mamba chasing herds of Cape buffalos, wildebeests, and even chasing humans.
Done:*It is a shy and secretive snake in general; it always seeks to escape when a confrontation occurs, unless cornered in which case the black mamba can put up a fearsome display of defense and aggression. Since the tone of the section emphasises it's aggressiveness I suggest replacing this sentence with Although it is generally shy and secretive; always seeking to escape when a confrontation occurs, the black mamba can put up a fearsome display of defense and aggression when corned.
Done:*The video of the lion and the mamba does not show the snake killing the cat nor state that this has been recorded. It doesn't belong here.
Done:*These snakes will often avoid confrontation when possible and will retreat to a safe location when a potential predator is seen, but they will defend their territory and aggressively try to ward of any predator which corners it or bothers it long enough, including humans. This sentence essentially repeats what is said in the previous paragraph. It should be deleted.
Done:*The black mamba is a diurnal snake. Although its scientific name seems to be indicative of tree climbing, the black mamba is rarely an arboreal snake. The second "black mamba" should be changed to "it" and the sentences should be move to the start of the "Behavior" section.
Done:*To illustrate this level of fearlessness and aggression, a case where a black mamba bit and killed an adult female elephant in 2006 exists. This sentence is redundant as this incident is already mentioned above and will be again in the "Venom" section in more detail.
Done:*They have been known to prey on bushbabies, bats, and small chickens.[13] The black mamba feeds almost solely on warm-blooded animals, such as birds and small mammals including hyraxes and various rodents. This should be switched to This species feeds almost solely on warm-blooded animals, such as birds and small mammals including hyraxes and various rodents. It has even been known to prey on bushbabies, bats, and small chickens. and the moved up to be the second and third sentences in the sub-section.
Done:*The "Predators" section contains some capitalization of "black mamba" and "mambas". Also "Black necked spitting cobra", "King Cobra", "Cobra" and "Yellow mongoose" should not be captialized.
Done:*Among mambas (Dendroaspis species) toxicity of individual specimens within the same species and subspecies can vary greatly based on several factors including geographical region (there can be great variation in toxicity from one town or village to another) and even weather can impact the toxicity of a particular specimen. The bolded part is redundant.
Done:*Remove the the sentence advertising the Eleanor site. It doesn't add much.

This review came to my attention via (I think?) Casliber's talk page. A couple of comments (although I'm unsure if these relate to WIAGA-- they would relate to WP:WIAFA). The article appears to be overcited-- some text that appears uncontroversial is cited to multiple sources. Is that necessary? Also, the article mixes citation style (there are inline citations as well as ref tags); why is that done? I also see statements like "Presently ... "; please be aware of WP:MOSDATE#Precise language. And some prose redundancy ("very explosive" is the same as "explosive" no?) Good luck, it looks like you're off to a great start! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:08, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Did a lot of the work you asked to be done - especially the switching of sentences around, taking out capitals in the "Predators" section and elsewhere, the web citations I corrected, and I added the ISBN's to the books which I could, I also took out what you told me to take out (ie. the Eleanor site, lion/mamba video, etc). I think there is still some stuff left undone, but I did most of what you asked and I will definitely finish whatever else that's left. Bastian (talk) 22:48, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Can you put a: Done by the ones you have done? I also still see some intext citations and there are still some web citations not corrected (cites 47-53 and cite 61). LittleJerry (talk) 23:11, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Sorry I've been gone for a few days, I've just been really busy and haven't had time to check this out. I will put the check marks next to the items which I completed now and I'll also cross them out. There is still some work to be done and I will have it done, no doubt. The three on top that haven't been crossed out or check marked still got to be done also. Bastian (talk) 18:35, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Takt your time. You're almost there. LittleJerry (talk) 18:47, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

I just spent the last few hours fixing what you asked to be fixed and I think I'm done. However, if you see other issues let me know and I will continue to work hard to bring it up to par. The material is objective and scientifically accurate, the only problem is the formatting of the references/citations (which I think I have taken care of fully, but I'll let you be the judge). The other issue is wording and jumbled up sentences, which I also have taken care of. So I think I am done, but I'll let you judge. Bastian (talk) 22:41, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

1. Well written?:

Prose quality:
Manual of Style compliance:

2. Factually accurate and verifiable?:

References to sources:
Citations to reliable sources, where required:
No original research:

3. Broad in coverage?:

Major aspects:

4. Reflects a neutral point of view?:

Fair representation without bias:

5. Reasonably stable?

No edit wars, etc. (Vandalism does not count against GA):

6. Illustrated by images, when possible and appropriate?:

Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:


Pass or Fail: LittleJerry (talk) 23:03, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

first paragraph is poorly written?

The opening paragraph is poorly written, and seems slightly off stylistically. Shouldn't the opening of an article of this sort focus on verifiable factual data and not about so called 'expert' opinion on the snakes behaviour? The word 'very' also appears far too often. Agreement on this before suggested changes?— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 20:33, December 13, 2011

It seems like you don't know how to write an article or an essay. The opening paragraph is not supposed to immediately delve into "factual data" - that is what the rest of the article is for. The opening paragraph is merely a summary of what the article will be about. It has to be impressive and most importantly, it has to engage the reader so that they continue to read on. The opening paragraph of the black mamba does that very well, without going into exaggerations. It talks of the snake's other "common names", it mentions the fact that it is Africa's longest venomous snake (fact; verified and cited), it talks a little more of it's size by stating it's average size (fact; verified and cited) and its maximum size (fact; verified and cited). Then it briefly talks about the colouration of the snake and how fast it moves, given the fact that it is the fastest snake on earth (fact; verified and cited). Then it talks of its behavior and its reputation - which isn't exactly angelic. It also makes mention of how venomous the snake is (fact; verified and cited). It mentions that many snake experts have cited the species as the world's deadliest and most aggressive (fact; verified and cited) and it mentions the fact that many myths, legends, and stories about this snake abound (again, fact; verified and cited). There is absolutely nothing wrong with the opening - it is well-written, well cited, the word "very" appears only three times, and it is not "slightly off stylistically". Bastian (talk) 21:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Unnecessary personal attack - The first paragraph needs some work. Plenty of it is fine, but the following is poorly written.
It's also a very "notorious" snake that's feared throughout the world and it generally has a very bad reputation for being very aggressive, explosive, and highly venomous, and many snake experts have cited this species as both the world's deadliest and most aggressive species, noting tendency to actively attack without provocation.
Very notorious - a tautology.
generally has a very bad reputation for being very aggressive, - poorly written, Should be 'has a reputation for being very aggressive.'
noting tendency missing word. Should be 'noting a tendency'
actively attack. - a tautology.
Whole section is 1 sentence. Needs better punctuation.
Should be changed to:
It is a notorious snake that is feared throughout the world. It has a reputation for being very agressive, explosive and highly venomous. Many snake experts have cited this species as both the world's deadliest and most aggressive, noting a tendency to attack without provocation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
  • I think the IP editor has a point. Drmies (talk) 19:47, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

I've changed the first paragraph to the above. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:34, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

You cannot change the opening paragraph as there is no consensus. This article achieved "GA status" (Good Article status) with that introduction. However, after looking at it and reading it over and over, I do think it needs a minor tweak (mainly because it is a run on sentence) and I basically kept your edit, but corrected some spelling mistakes (ie. aggressive was spelled agressive) and added "actively" back in. Next time, you cannot make any changes, especially to "Good Articles" without consensus. I didn't see any consensus here, did you? Bastian (talk) 00:53, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Um, Sebastian80, your comment above is entirely incorrect-- achieving "GA status" does not mean this article is set in stone, and in fact, the prose is not up to snuff and the article should not be a GA. Working with other editors will help improve the article's prose, and will go a long way towards assuring that the article isn't delisted from GA (which as it now stands, should be what happens). Any reviewer can pass an article GA-- one person's opinion does not consensus make, and this article's prose still needs work. Please do not warn other editors not to edit GA articles-- there is no foundation in policy or guideline for such a statement, since GA status is basically one person's opinion (in this case, not a valid one, IMO). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:04, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

very notorious is a rhetorical tautology. It is bad English, so is actively attack. I am not sure why you wish to preserve poor writing. Likewise notorious does not need to be in inverted commas. The wikipedia guidance says correct errors, especially small ones; boldly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:56, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't have an issue with taking out the "very" out of "very notorious", but I am going to keep notorious in inverted commas because the word is subjective. Either way, I do agree to take out "very" from "very notorious" as the word notorious itself is sufficient. But there is nothing wrong with "... noting a tendency to actively attack without provocation." Bastian (talk) 15:31, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
If It is a notorious snake that is feared throughout the world is sufficiently subjective that it needs inverted commas it shoiuldn't be in the article in the first place. Either, there is consensus that it is feared throughout the world, in which case notorious isn't subjective, and doesn't need inverted commas, or there isn't, in which case it shouldn't be in the article.
I would suspect the former is true, given the citations that follow it.
As explained above, actively attack is bad English. Should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Drmies and the IP that these kinds of prose issues occur throughout the article, the prose is not up to GA standards, and collaborating with other editors to improve the prose will be the best route forward, to help avoid a WP:GAR and delisting of the GA. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:05, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

GA Reassessment

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Black mamba/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

As SandyGeorgia pointed out a month ago, the prose is not up to GA standard.

  1. The lead is too short for an article of this length.
  2. Redundancy is sprinkled throughout. Examples: "thoroughly inspect" "It will actively defend its territory very aggressively." "cornered with no escape"
  3. The tone is too informal for an encyclopedia. Contractions are used throughout and there is frequent editorializing. ("but of course none of these are confirmed or verified by scientists using scientific methods" "Another problem which this species faces is human persecution", etc.)

Additionally, the images need to be reassessed for placement and copyright status (at least two are not free). Danger High voltage! 09:32, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

I just read this (very informative) article and agree that repetition and redundancy is rampant. I would tackle it, but it would probably be better done by someone more familiar with the field. Rich Farmbrough, 04:30, 29 January 2012 (UTC).
  • The lead talks about the snake being most venmous and in the top ten - this should be simplified to only make one claim
It is not the most venomous snake in the world (that title belongs to inland taipan) but may be in the top 10 according to Venomous snake its up there with the best (its got some good references). ZooPro 12:28, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • The lead talks about "unprovoked attacks" and "attacks when cornered" - a difference of view that is repeated throughout the article.
  • The ref link to Amazon and the ASIN should be replaced with World Cat/OCLC entities if possible.
  • Description "The species is the second longest venomous snake in the world, exceeded in length only by the king cobra." - yet hte lead says longest.
  • Predators "Very large specimens of this species (10 feet and up) have only humans to fear as even many birds of prey won't go after such specimens, preferring smaller sized snakes." - units, clarity "Black mambas larger than about 10 feet (3.0 m) have only humans to fear as the birds of prey will not attack them."
Rich Farmbrough, 04:50, 29 January 2012 (UTC).
I'll help out if I can, I have experience in this fieldnd was mentoringBas, until he was blocked for being a sock. Frankly, the entire predator section should go. Mambas are at the top of the food chain where they live. Neonates may fall prey to mongoose, meerkat or eagle, but their only real enemy is man, and that is usually out of fear of being bitten and is covered elsewhere in the article. All that section really goes into is the mongoose and other snakes.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 05:55, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
It is a shame about the nominator being blocked, and some of the concerns about the previous editor VeronicaPR suggests the whole page needs close checking. I am becoming more interested in snake articles recently but my knowledge is not great either. My free time is highly unpredictable and I will check and help out if I can, but can't promise. Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:56, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

This is a decent article but it just needs a little tweeking. It would be a shame if it was delisted. It's well sourced, contains no original research. It's broad in its coverage, it's neutral and unbiased. Images are relevant to the topic and all are tagged with proper licenses. The prose is the biggest issue and I believe a little group effort put in and we'll have this article in shape in no time. There are some other issues with the article but nothing that can't be corrected or re-written. Rich, the lead claims that it is the "longest venomous snake in Africa" and in the body it specifies that "it is the second longest in the world, after the king cobra". RedGKS talk contribs. 23:56, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

IMHO there are far too many photos. The article only really needs one photo that shows "this is what a BM looks like". Additional photos should be used to illustrate specific features, otherwise they are simply redundant "hey look one of my pics is on WP" ego trips. Roger (talk) 12:59, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

::I don't think there are too many pics. Look at some other snake GA status articles and they have tons of pics (ie. Vipera berus, Russell's viper, Agkistrodon piscivorus, etc). The lead photo is absolutely perfect. Under "Description" there is one photo of a black mamba which shows its body and coloration - appropriate IMO. There's a photo under the section "Distribution, habitat, and status" which I think is appropriate for the section. Then there's a photo of a black mamba feeding under "Hunting and prey" which is also appropriate. The last picture is under the "Venom" section showing a black mamba striking and again I think that photo is appropriate. The gallery shows other pictures of the snake in different postures and these different photos also show the variation in the coloration of the black mamba. What we have now as far as pics go is okay, anymore pics and it just becomes redundant. RedGKS talk contribs. 15:41, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

In general we discourage galleries unless for a very specific use (that's what commons is for and we should be promoting that). The gallery here looks a little indiscriminate and I'd lose it. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:37, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I think we can now go ahead and discard images that don't add anything meaningful to the article. If anyone has substantive objections please make them known. Roger (talk) 14:37, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I've just done it. Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:29, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Okay, comprehensiveness issues....

  • check taxonomy, possibly more to go in here on relationships, geographic variation etc.
  • description looks ok at first glance - maybe need to find info on moulting?
  • probably needs a section on folklore. I have no idea whether there is a significant body of material on this.

Not sure about sourcing etc. Will check as I go. Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:01, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

How goes the reassessment? AIRcorn (talk) 23:46, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Some confusing claims on the article

Hi! I’ve few questions concerning about some statements on the venom and behavior section.

Two websites were cited to support the sentences “To illustrate how toxic the venom of this species …This is the only scientifically verified case of an adult elephant dying of a snakebite.” But it seems that no such information is given on these citations: this website only has a statement “…who lies dying from a snake bite.”(3rd paragraph). I think a more sound and exhaustive reference is needed.

Moreover, it is claimed that "black mambas have been witnessed confronting, biting, and subsequently killing lions and other large predators" (on the behavior section) and a book was cited. Yet,can someone give more details for reference (like a scan of the book or e-book)?

I think verifiable references are needed to support statements on a scientific article and if no exhaustive source can be given, the sentences should be removed in order to improve the quality of the article.

I've added the contents above on the discussion page of the article. You can refer to that page for details.


Toxic Walker (talk) 14:02, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Oh dear. Look, I have no time to help out here, and the GA promoter is currently not allowed to edit, so I think we need to delist this GA. Casliber (talk · contribs) 07:53, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
A book is a perfectly acceptable source. The Verifiability policy does not require the source to be online or even freely accessible. You could try your local library if you wish to read the cited book. Roger (talk) 15:55, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Delisted Apologies that this took so long; I found the instructions at GAR somewhat confusing. Danger! High voltage! 18:34, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Certain mammals got killed by mambas?

Hi! I’ve few questions concerning about some statements on the sections of venom and behavior.

Two websites were cited to support the sentences “To illustrate how toxic the venom of this species …This is the only scientifically verified case of an adult elephant dying of a snakebite.” But it seems that no such information is given on these citations when this website only has a statement “…who lies dying from a snake bite.”(3rd paragraph). I think more sound and exhaustive references are needed.

Moreover, it is claimed that "black mambas have been witnessed confronting, biting, and subsequently killing lions and other large predators" (in the behavior section) and a book was cited. Yet,can someone give more details for reference (like a scan of the book or e-book)?

Toxic Walker (talk) 00:04, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Why is it difficult to believe that a venomous snake can bite and kill larger predatory mammals? If a black mamba can kill an elephant, horses and cows then I'd be stupid to doubt that they can kill lions or hyenas with a single bite. I've heard of this happening, anyways. Lion expert Craig Packer has claimed that a collared adult female lion was found dead in Kruger National Park due to a bite sustained from a puff adder. Packer further claims that anywhere from 100-200 lions are killed by snakebites annually across Africa. Here is a link to a youtube video of a black mamba and a lion. In this interaction the mamba ended up biting and killing the lion. You can see that in the next video of the series. SpacedOut84 (talk) 19:46, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

I see your point. But concerning about the elephant dying from mamba bites,there is no detail on the source cited (as I mentioned above) since only a single sentence (who lies dying from a snake bite) is given. I've watched the video and I think you're talking about this one which shows a dead lion and a mamba.Yet, it only says that a mamba came across a dead lion and tried to swallow it due to hunger but soon found that it was really too hard to do so. It doesn't claim that the lion was dead of mamba bites and even the uploader of the video said that it wasn't dead of snake bites (you can check the comments below the video).

I think a verifiable reference is needed to support statements on a scientific article.

Thank you! Toxic Walker (talk) 13:46, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Irrelevant sources and unnecessary content ?

Hi! I have some suggestions here.

There is a piece of news mentioned on the venom section that a wildlife enthusiast Mr.Layton was bitten by a black mamba and died "within minutes".But I think it is unnecessary here as

1.Similar snakebite cases happen all the time around the world and we surely cannot include all of them;

2. It is said that the victim died within 30 min. but I cannot find such information from the source (the website only mentions that his aunt said "Within minutes he was dead..." in which I think it is not scientific enough to support such statement as no true medical report is provided.)

Next,I would like to suggest removing the statements about the elephant which is said to be killed by mamba bites as no detail is given on the reference cited (I have mentioned this repeatedly above). I think the reference is irrelevant to support the claim.

Finally,I removed 3 sources cited to support the mortality rate caused by mamba bites as they, which merely have a passing sentence mentioning the datum, are not true medical literature. I think we can find a lot of websites which do mention that bites from this species can result in a 100% fatality rate and thus it is unnecessary to cite all of them but some true medical reports (like the one provided by Dr.Davidson).

So...these are my suggestions.

User:Toxic Walker (talk) 03:25, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

I agree, the article can do with some pruning of extraneous and poorly sourced or even unsourced claims. Roger (talk) 16:34, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

28 lbs?

Maybe on Jupiter but not this planet. Also, though they are proteroglyphs, they have highly moveable front fangs. Like Australia's Death adder, they are unusual in this regard. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


I'm pretty sure I made a topic on this a while ago, but the distribution section is inaccurate. I know Wikipedia isn't a place for original research, but I have quite a few personal observations of black mambas here in the Boé sector of Guinea Bissau (including one killed outside the neighbouring house) that have been informally confirmed by a visiting Brazilian herpetologist.

In the literature, Jean-Philippe Chippaux' Les serpents d'Afrique occidentale et centrale (ISBN: 2-7099-1439-5) refers to several captures in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Ivory coast. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:37, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Natural predators?

Under the "Fear, myths, and killings of black mambas" section, it is stated that they have no natural predators except man. However, this is contradicted under the section "Natural predators", in which it is stated that mongooses and predatory birds are also natural enemies of the mamba. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)


The article says that the bite is "almost always fatal," but I can't seem to find a single recorded instance of survival without antivenom. Isn't it safe to say that it is "always fatal?" Several credible websites claim this, including this one: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:35, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:Black mamba/GA3. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: HueSatLum (talk · contribs) 16:08, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

I'll review this article in the coming days. It's always nice to see a subject I've heard of at GAN. I'll make minor adjustments to the article as I go and post larger issues or things I'm unsure of here. ~HueSatLum 16:08, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Images look good on copyright; however, a view of the entire snake might be better for the description to show its considerable length. ~HueSatLum 16:20, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

I have been doing a lot of work, expansions and improvements on various articles relating to venomous snakes, so I will be making serious adjustments to this article so that it passes and gets GA status. Herpetology is my field of study and my main area of focus is on venomous snake species, particularly elapids such as mambas, kraits, cobras, etc. I hope you work in tandem with me to get this article on one of the most important and probably most famous venomous snake species in the world to GA status. The article obviously requires some serious amount of improvement and the work will take time. I plan on taking the lead here with regards to this article and I will be making major changes and improvements. Science is my thing and I was never all that great with grammar and writing, so I can be hasty and errors may/will likely pop up here and there. I ask that you as the reviewer keep an eye out for issues related to grammar, improper wording, etc. I can be hasty with my writing and I am generally much more comfortable with bullet points, but encyclopedic articles cannot be written like that for obvious reasons. Cheers! --DendroNaja (talk) 17:31, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

A few comments to start off (Feel free to revert my changes if they are incorrrect.): ~HueSatLum 02:58, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Judging from Template:Taxobox, the names after the synonyms in the infobox are not parenthesized; the last one is and should probably be changed, but I'm not sure.
  • The scalation table is probably better presented in a list, as it is now a table with one entry.
  • The level 3 headings in the Distribution, habitat, and status section should probably be removed or changed to level 2 headings; they do not seem very related.
  • "a curious distribution" – What exactly does "curious" mean? Who says it's curious? (It sounds pretty POV.)
  • Are there any examples of "stories and legends that have been passed down from generation to generation"?
  • Just how expensive is antivenom typically?
I have made changes to the Behaviour section and added more references. I will be working on more parts of the article later today. --DendroNaja (talk) 13:26, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

As to the "a curious distribution- curious in this context means "strange, unusual, atypical or even mysterious", so in my opinion the usage of the word to describe the black mamba's distribution west of Ethiopia is appropriate and fitting. It's the exact word that Spawls and Branch used to describe its western distribution. However, if you or anyone else have a better word to use I will change it. --DendroNaja (talk) 21:27, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

No, that's fine if it's backed by a source; I was just, er, curious. ~HueSatLum 22:15, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
According to in 2005 the cost at source of SAIMR Polyvalent Antivenom was US$77 per 10ml vial - 8 to 20 vials is normally required to treat a bite. I could not find a more recent definitively dated price. The cost of delivery from Johannesburg South Africa would have to be added. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:23, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

According to the Global Snakebite Initiative, the cost is USD $160. Thea Litschka-Koen also stated that the cost was over USD $100 per vial. Those prices are circa 2011-2012. Many black mamba bites require more than 20 vials, and the typical initial dose is 10 vials. --DendroNaja (talk) 18:38, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

A few more comments:&#3;~HueSatLum 01:51, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

  • There are two (21 & 26) footnotes that have an |accessdate= set, but no |url=. These generate citation errors and should be removed.
  • The title in FN52 is missing a closing </sup> tag.
  • Does doi:10.1073/pnas.88.6.2437 load for you? It eventually gets a 503 Proxy Error on my end; then it should probably be removed from FN55 (A PMC and PMID should be plenty.)
  • FN1 is better cited with {{IUCN}}. (That's IUCN, not ICUN, as the ref name says.)
  • FN3 should be cited with a {{ITIS}} template like the one above it.
  • There are some dead links you should check out.

I took care of all your recent requests. And yes doi:10.1073/pnas.88.6.2437 does load for me. --DendroNaja (talk) 04:47, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it works for me now too. It must have been temporary website maintenance or something. ~HueSatLum 23:06, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Images look good: all are PD or CC with OTRS.
  • An image like File:Dendroaspis polylepis 01.jpg that shows the mamba's considerable length would be nice for the physical appearance section.
  • FNs 18 and 19 appear to only cover the immediately preceding sentence (unless the rest is in the JSTOR article); the whole Etymology section could probably be reffed up anyways.
  • Physiology: Is there anything about the black mamba that is different from snakes in general in regards to physiology? That section (and the source) deal with all snakes.
  • MOS:ALLCAPS recommends using title case instead of all caps, particularly FNs 4 and 16.

I took care of all your recent requests, anything else you see that I may not see? --DendroNaja (talk) 01:16, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

  • You still haven't addressed the second bullet above.
  • The link on FN37 goes to a form, not the presumably intended page; however, that page uses frames and does not have a unique URL for each result. The page that the frameset calls, [1], returns an error when called on its own. You should either indicate how to get to the desired page, and/or link to this PDF (which AFAICT has Rwanda highlighted).
  • Spotchecks look mostly good (From what I have access to—I'm accepting the paywalled or offline stuff in good faith.)
  • There is some close paraphrasing with FN76 that should be fixed. ~HueSatLum 02:37, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

I did address the second bullet. I replaced the image with the one you suggested. I changed the wording around in the 'Relationship with humans' section as best as I could. --DendroNaja (talk) 01:55, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, I meant the one that says, "The scalation table is probably better presented in a list, as it is now a table with one entry." ~HueSatLum 02:57, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

I replaced the table with a multi-column list, so that takes care of that. I need a little bit of help with grammar, wording, etc. If you happen to come across misspelled words, grammar problems, and the like, please correct them if you can. If not, tell me and I will try to correct all such problems. I think the article is broad in its coverage of the subject matter (covering all major aspects of the black mamba in quite intimate detail - etymology, evolutionary history, biology, distribution, habitat, prey, predators, venom, etc.). There is no evident bias in the article. I have laboured long and hard in search of the most reliable sources in order to present a fair and balanced representation of the subject matter. I dug up old books that I own and gone through countless of them to make sure I can only use sources of the utmost reliability (all my books are advanced and technical type books, written by actual herpetologists or other biologists who specialize in venomous snakes eg. Spawls, S; Branch, Bill, Fitzsimons, Broadley, DG, Ernst, Zug, Marais, J. Engelmann, etc.). --DendroNaja (talk) 06:59, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Now that there is an external links section, consider adding {{Commons category}} and {{Wikispecies}} there.
  • I am concerned that the case studies section in particular is too long; the individual cases should either be shortened and/or some be removed. (The section on venom is almost half of the page's prose size, which gives undue weight to that over the rest of the article. Given, the snake is well-known for its venom, so it should cover that in some detail)
  • References should be formatted with cite templates, especially 23, 50 (and combined with 84), 71

Anything else? --DendroNaja (talk) 08:48, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

  • FNs 39–42, 51, and 84 should be formatted with {{cite AV media}}
  • The first YouTube video in the external links doesn't appear to exist.
  • The second YouTube EL (with Jeff Corwin) is already cited in the article and should be removed from the ELs. ~HueSatLum 16:15, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  • It's not worth putting 0m01s for FNs 40 and 41 to mean the beginning of the video; you should just remove that parameter.

Done. Anything else? --DendroNaja (talk) 05:51, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

  • |language=English is pretty much given and redundant.
  • FN51 is still unformatted.
  • The format parameter in cite AV media is for actual file formats (like OGG or WMV). ~HueSatLum 13:28, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Now I'm unsure what you mean about the last bullet. Can you lend me a hand, please? --DendroNaja (talk) 14:59, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Basically, it doesn't apply to YouTube videos, and you should remove it. (see Template:Cite AV media/doc#URL for an explanation of when it should and should not be used.) ~HueSatLum 19:59, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm very sorry, but I still don't get it. Do you mean I should convert the youtube video into a format like WMV or OGG? --DendroNaja (talk) 22:13, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

No, you don't need to do anything with the video. The format parameter is for videos in a format that may require a special plugin or program to view, so anything that's on a web page doesn't need that at all. I think I've fixed all the issues with those templates. The review should be in the home stretch now; now I will read through it again. ~HueSatLum 22:31, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Thank you so much. Anything else you see, just tell me. --DendroNaja (talk) 22:36, 28 December 2013 (UTC)


GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)

I will fill this in as I go along

  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose, no copyvios, spelling and grammar): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    I am passing this as a GA as I am satisfied that my concerns have been addressed and it meets/exceeds the criteria. It was an interesting read and nice to see a subject I've even heard of at GAN, which was why I chose to review it. Just a note: if you plan on taking it to FA, make sure the citation fields are filled out correctly; however, I do not believe this is a barrier to GA. ~HueSatLum 01:45, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
How does this article meet the criteria for GA status with a section packed full of rubbish about homeopathy? --Roxy the dog (resonate) 15:07, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Because that section was not present when I promoted the article: Special:PermanentLink/588289096. It was added later and not checked against the criteria. ~HueSatLum 17:00, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I am curious to know if it would have passed with that stuff present. I cannot figure it out myself by looking at the GA criteria. --Roxy the dog (resonate) 17:14, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
In the state it was in, definitely not, and most likely not with just a mention. Going into the same detail for all "alternative" methods of curing the venom clears up the weight issues, but it is definitely not appropriate for the article in its current state. ~HueSatLum 17:27, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for responding to my questions. It was most helpful. --Roxy the dog (resonate) 17:35, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Now that there's a thread on the talk page, please continue this there if you want. ~HueSatLum 17:47, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Grammar Usage

Perhaps the word "Gargantuan" could be worked into this article somehow? Just a suggestion. (talk) 09:50, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Pertaining to what? Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:46, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
AHAHAHAHA. It's a reference to Kill Bill Vol. 2 where Elle uses a Black Mamba to kill Budd. SLEPhoto (talk) 08:14, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

The most "rapid-acting" venom on humans?

I feel very doubtful about this statement, although a book was cited as a reference.

Even though we can obtain data (the death time) from clinical precedents, it isn't a "fair comparison" as the quantity of venom injected was also taken into account.

Yes, we may use human cells to test but the cell types to be affected by the toxins may vary from case to case, depending upon the site of bite, and I can't find any large-scale investigation using such method that involves venom from a large variety of venomous snakes, unlike those of LD50 done on mice. So, I'm afraid that it isn't scientific enough to draw such conclusion.

The snake's venom acts fast depending on where it bites you. A Black Mamba can bite you in the face, which is far more dangerous than an ankle bite. — P

Chippaux et al. stated that black mamba venom (which is predominantly made up of dendrotoxins), is the fastest acting snake venom known (dendrotoxins have a molecular weight of <7 Da; compare that to taipoxin, the main toxin in the coastal taipan venom that has a molecular weight of 35,000 Da). Mamba venom is also rich in hyaluronidases (more so than any other elapids). Hyaluronidases facilitate propagation of venom components throughout tissue (spreading the venom through the body). Besides hyaluronidases, there is Dendroaspin natriuretic peptide (DNP), which is unique to mambas, is a polypeptide analogous to the human atrial natriuretic peptide; it is responsible for causing diuresis through natriuresis and dilating the vessel bloodstream, which results in, among other things, acceleration of venom distribution in the body of the victim. This is why the black mamba has the shortest death time among venomous snakes, both in humans and animal models. The shortest recorded death of a mice that was subcutaneously injected with black mamba venom was 4.5 minutes. The next shortest time for a mice to die was 7-8 minutes, which was caused by the subcutaneous injection of coastal taipan venom. --DendroNaja (talk) 15:08, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Unsubstantiated information in article

1. "The black mamba is the fourth most venomous snake species in the world.[10]"

Only according to one list. the consensus accepted top venomous snakes are listed on both lists.

2. "Many experts regard this as the world's most aggressive and dangerous snake."

This sentence was taken from the Snakebite article and improperly tinkered with. It authentically reads "Many snake experts have cited the black mamba and the coastal taipan as the world's most dangerous snakes (Hunter, 1998).[22][60][61]"

3. "Without rapid and vigorous antivenom therapy, a bite from a black mamba is rapidly fatal 100% of the time.[17][21][22][23]"

Not true. Danie Pienaar, head of South African National Parks Scientific Services survived the bite of a Black mamba without anti-venom. he was even featured on I'm Alive (TV series) (SE1EP8).

4. "Black mamba venom can kill a mouse after 4.5 minutes, the shortest time among all known venomous snakes. The second shortest time to kill a mouse on record was between 7–8 minutes via a coastal taipan envenomation.[20"

No mention of this in reference.

5. "Brown also conducted venom toxicity studies on monkeys, who were given subcutaneous injections of venom. The results indicated that black mamba venom was the most toxic to monkeys (LD50 0.11 mg/kg, ranking first among all snake venoms that were tested. It was more toxic than the Inland taipan (0.47 mg/kg), Eastern brown snake (0.49 mg/kg), and Coastal taipan (0.24 mg/kg). In the same study on monkeys (Macaque monkeys), the Coastal taipan (0.24 mg/kg) and Many-banded krait (0.28 mg/kg) were also elevated above both the Inland taipan and Eastern brown snake in the toxicity of their venoms, ranking second and third behind the black mamba, respectively.[85]"

No mention of this in reference. I also find it to be a highly dubious statement in general , because the first Inland taipans were only captured in September 1972. the cited book was published in 1973. (talk) 22:37, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Right, the anonymous IP user obsessed with (lethality of the fierce snake) who has no idea what he's talking about or how to interpret scientific data, is going to criticize the work here. Because of you, the Inland taipan is locked, and there is talk that you are going to be blocked for continual violation of Wikipedia policies and guidelines. All the copyright violations are being investigated, the citations you had placed were not og high quality standards, most anyway. Now you come here, to try to find "unsubstantiated" information. As to the list, it is the most accurate list availble to due the use of albumin with chromatopography - it produces a precipate that is 98% pure. The other sources use saline (without chromatopgraphy) that produces varying ranges in results. That is why it is not used for lethality of venoms anymore (purity of venom cannot attain more than 60% in the process, which means lots of toxins are lost in the chemical process). In anycase, these lists are just a gauge, nothing anyone in the field takes too seriously. Venom varies based on a lot of factors. I bet, if I tested Inland taipan venom on birds, mamba or boomslang venom would be far more toxic because that is the prey their venom evolved to kill. Well, the difference between you and I is that I have been educated on the subject matter at a post-secondary institution. I am not obsessed with the black mamba, I am nominating and going to expand the many-banded krait article in the same manner. Same with several of the Naja articles. Brown listed two taipans, didn't mention the taipan - he just used the word "taipan". He claimed one was smaller than the other. But I have been debating taking that part of the article myself, due to that fact alone. And to the fact that I didn't add the other species that were subjected to lethality sutdies on the monkeys. However, field observation has shown that primates are particularly susceptible to mamba venom. It seems you don't understand the dendrotoxins at all. They are devastating in their nature in a way that is far more rapid and insidious than other elapid toxins. As to the 100% mortality, that is verified and true. It has been mentioned in scientific publications and technical books by many herpetologists, including Spawls, Branch, Broadley, Pitman, Hunter, FitzSimmons, Austin Stevens, Joe Wasilewski, and numerous others. The bite to the man you talk of could have had various factors attributed to it that lead to his survival, besides the medical attention which he got (mechanical ventilation, intubation, drug therapy, etc). That could save someone with a non-severe bite from a mamba, but it is not the rule. The fact is, and has been published in scientific literature, before antivenom nobody survived a bite. Whether you like that fact or not, is irrelevent. I have access to journals online, I have over 140 technical books on the subject matter and I have probably read more on these topics in my years in schooling than you have in a lifetime. So, please, I am not going to address your petty and vengeful attempts at trying to descredit a good article status page that went through a rigorous verification of information because you are upset that I got Inland taipan page locked and made them aware of all the violations that you were committing. --DendroNaja (talk) 07:25, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
You're whole rant is irrelevant. and nothing but smoke and mirrors to evade the facts i have presented.
Point #1 the AVTD organization and list out weighs your opinion on wikipedia . you trying to kill the other list simply because it doesn't include your favorite snake. pure vandalism. shameful.
Point #2 - not addressed.
Point #3 - we have a documented high profile case of surviving without anti-venom. that sentence should be (as it was in the past) "Almost always 100% without Anti-venom" . and he should be added to the case studies as well.
Point #4 - not addressed
Point #5. - addressed. Good. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:15, 4 January 2014 (UTC)


There's so much that's wrong with this article it's difficult to know where to start. I'll be starting a GAR in a few days if someone else doesn't beat me to it. Sasata (talk) 16:25, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

I am inclined to agree. As a non-herpetologist I have just done a minor revert (having forgotten that I had expressed concern about the article in Jan 2014) and I was shaken by the cub-journalistic tone (allegedly backed up by citations that I have not assessed) along the lines of say:
  • "the fourth-most-venomous snake species in the world"
  • "probably the most-feared and respected snake species in the world"
  • "According to wildlife biologist Dr. Joe Wasilewski, black mambas are the most-advanced of all the snake species in the world"
  • "venom apparatus and method of delivering venom is also the most-effective and most-evolved among all venomous snakes"
and so on every few lines in the lede alone. I haven't checked the rest of the article, but I am willing to contribute some effort if our resident herpetologists would like a hand. If you would rather be left a clear field, no hard feelings. JonRichfield (talk) 12:49, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree, that the article is over-done. I'm leaving it to others to tone down the prose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:13, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
For what it's worth--I'm not one of the resident herpetologists--I agree re: the writing; in fact that's why I initially checked the talkpage, to see how long it had been since the article had been listed. I do have experience in rescuing formerly decent articles that someone with much more enthusiasm than judgement decided to over-write, and this one has all the hallmarks. (I particularly like the assertion here that while mambas don't have predators, "snakes in general have many.") Shoebox2 talk 21:41, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
As a herpetologist who wrote much of the black mamba article (along with the many-banded krait, Snakebite, Chinese cobra, Cape cobra, Pseudohaje goldii, Caspian cobra, Congo water cobra, Banded water cobra, Forest cobra, Eastern green mamba, Jameson's mamba, Western green mamba, Crotalus tigris and basically most other venomous snake articles, I can tell you that snake venom toxicity and composition can vary even within a single species based on numerous factors which can (diet, seasonal changes, age-dependent, etc). Before I start about the LD50 ratings, I would like to mention that I actually wrote the Snakebite article, so I didn't "steal" anything from there - it was my work to begin with. Second, the dentition of the black mamba, and the entire genus of Dendroaspis do have the most advanced venom delivery apparatus. Not only do they have the longest fangs of any elapid, but their fangs are considered semi-hinged (like viper fangs). Other elapids have fangs that are completely immovable.
Now to the toxicity/LD50 issue: the black mamba is the 4th most venomous snake species in the world based on the study by Ernst & Zug (1996). That is unquestionable. The toxicity ratings obtained from this study/experiment is considered to be the most important toxicity study on snake venom in the world. This is due to several factors: first, the data that was obtained was based on snake venom that was collected from hundreds of specimens from some species, while for other other species, venom was collected from thousands of specimens from all different regions of a species' geographic range (which was the case for the black mamba - 1,200+ specimens of wild caught black mambas from all localities had their venom extracted). Zug et al. also used Fraction V (bovine serum albumin). This method is known to produce the highest purity precipitate, usually in the range of 98-99%. This precipitate is the dried venom which is then used to determine toxicity. Basically, this means the most accurate toxicity rating is obtained due to the purity of the precipitate. The study conducted by Ernst & Zug was extensive, costly and the scientific methods used had been proven to produce toxicity ratings that were consistent and although variation was still observed (as expected, it was insignificant). They were meticulous and the study is considered to be nearly flawless within the herpetological community. All other methods of determining snake venom toxicity always result in wildly varying toxicities, which is/was never the case with the 1996 study. In addittion, venom is usually collected from only a handful of specimens from each species (usually such experiments will study the toxicity of a very limited number of snake species, unlike the 1996 study). Up until now, there has been no single study that has been as large in scale as the 1996 study. Another issue is that many LD50 ratings are very old - 1967 (Christian & Anderson). Christian & Anderson conducted venom toxicity experiments based on only a few specimens from different genera and species, methods used are outdated, and they simply were not as reliable. Latifi conducted some experiments, but he stuck to snakes from one region (Middle East/Central Asia), and Dr. Fry had a list that used outdated methods and the results varied wildly, even within a single species. The most reliable, concise and accurate ratings of snake venom toxicity is the study done by Ernst & Zug et al. Another decent study was done by Brown (1973), which gave the black mamba a toxicity rating of 0.12 mg/kg (SC), 0.06 mg/kg (SC), and 0.009 mg/kg (IV). This placed the black mamba above the coastal taipan, the many-banded krait and all other land snakes with the exception of the eastern brown snake and inland taipan. I would also appreciate it if things are first discussed here on the talk page before anything is changed within the article. As you have already mentioned, you are not a herpetologist - but I have studied herpetology (specifically ophiology) at a very high university level.--Dendro†NajaTalk to me! 00:12, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
I am going to revert the article back to the way it was until everything is discussed here. I am the "resident herpetologist" here, so I think it would be appropriate to discuss all issues before changing the article. I am not going to allow this article to fall into an edit war, especially not with an IP user who doesn't seem to know much about venomous snakes other than the basics that most people know. --Dendro†NajaTalk to me! 00:15, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

And another thing, black mambas don't have any predators that regularly prey on them. Only humans are considered predators of the mamba. Juveniles are taken by birds of prey, honey badgers, other snakes, lizards, and older ones are occassionally taken by crocodiles. But even lions, leopards, and other large African predators stear clear. Fully grown adult black mambas (8 ft+) are not prey to anything. --Dendro†NajaTalk to me! 00:47, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

The consensus is to shorten and bring the article to wikipedia standards. do not revert the changes made in this article. (talk) 00:58, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
If making bold edits, do it piece by piece (or by reasonable sections) at a time, so people can follow the changes and agree on the different parts. It may be reverted it for now, but you may reintroduce the same changes with different edits. - Sidelight12 Talk 02:25, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
I restored some of the edits. The deleted section was already moved to snake venom and now has a wikilink. Refs were needlessly altered from shortcuts. The differences now (between the conflict of edits) are in the introduction. - Sidelight12 Talk 03:38, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
Sidelight, you are inventing a rule that is not in wikipedia guidelines the "piece by piece". This article is not a controversial article (iraq war etc), the edits were made after consensus has been explicitly repeated in the talk page. therefore it doesn't qualify as a WP:BB discussion. Further more these edits were in fact done in parts : part 1 edit to the lead and part 2 Venom section. (talk) 04:06, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
Then don't follow it, and continue to wonder why your edits get reverted wholesale. It doesn't have to be a controversial article for it to be a bold move. Consensus was made, but not for particular changes. Besides, I restored some of your edits, and left the intro to be discussed. - Sidelight12 Talk 04:15, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
DendroNaja, the section Determining venom toxicity (LD50) was moved to snake venom, with a wikilink, because it seems to be referring to venomous snakes in general. The section here should be condensed and about black mambas. - Sidelight12 Talk 18:54, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the movement of that particular section to the snake venom article. --Dendro†NajaTalk to me! 03:39, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
The conflict is mostly reduced to the introduction. To the IP editor when comes back, consider using inline tags for the questioned text, and work out agreement for each (set of) change(s). I followed the edits, but they seemed too drastic and raised alarm at first.- Sidelight12 Talk

From the above points.

  • "the fourth-most-venomous snake species in the world" - either opinion or means its venom is the 4th most potent of snakes in the world
  • "probably the most-feared and respected snake species in the world" - looks like opinion
  • points 3 and 4 look like they can be combined.

I'll leave this. - Sidelight12 Talk 05:38, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Snake venom toxicity ratings vary from one experiement conducted by one herpetologist to the next experiment conducted by another herpetologist. The vast majority of LD50 ratings of snake venoms are actually very old (Christian & Anderson, 1967; Brown, 1973; Latifi, 1984 and numerous others). Virtually all of these experiments, which at the time were used to try to get an idea of what snake venom might pose the the highest level of risk to humans, among other reasons. These "experiments", which were really nothing but small scale mini-experiments that were conducted in crude fashion using outdated science (by todays standards). The number of species' venoms that tested for toxicity ratings were limited to those species which frequenty came into conflict with humans, inflicting bites, and on occassion caused fatalities . These species were deemed medically important. Mice were almost always the animal model used in all these sorts of experiments, although on rare occassions rats, rabbits, chickens and even bats were also used as test subjects. These tests on snake venom toxicity were done on a very small scale. Venom was collected from only a handful of specimens from each species that was being subject to testing. The specimens from which the crude venom was extracted were all collected from the same locality. The methods used to determine the toxicity ratings are considered outdated and unpredictable. The toxicity levels obtained from these experiments were never ever stable. Results for a single species would often produce results that were drastically different from one another (ie. Naja naja venom extracted from specimens from the same locality produced values ranging from 0.31 mg/kg to 3.6 mg/kg - the venom of the snakes was very similar in toxicity, but the purification methodology was flawed). Venom of specimens collected from the same locality should never produce results that vary so drastically - even regional variations (ie. eastern to western specimens) do not show such extreme variation. This is why these older toxicity experiments are unreliable and should be taken with a grain of salt, this also includes Dr. Fry's work aswell. Dr. Fry's study tested more species, but he also used only a handful of specimens from each group of species and used the same outdated 0.1% saline solution. The largest, most extensive and comprehensive toxicity rating study ever done was conducted by Ernst & Zug et al (1996). Nearly every venomous snake species was used and venom was collected from hundreds of specimens for some species, while more common species venom was extracted from over a thousand specimens per species. Fraction V or Bovine serum albumin was used in the study which is known to produce the highest purity albumin, up to 100% purity. The results of the 1996 study produced results which were highly stable and dramatic variations in results were non-existent. So based upon these facts, the study by Ernst & Zug are the most accurate and reliable list of toxicity of snake venoms. Based on that, the black mamba ranked 4th most venomous snake in the world with a subcutaneous toxcitity of 0.05 mg/kg. This is not even a matter for debate, which is why I am surprised as to why this would even come up as an issue. The herpetological community uses the the work of Ernst & Zug when it comes to matters of venom toxicity. It doesn't matter what "lists" you find on the internet or whom it was compiled by, none of those are used as a reference within the herpetological and zoological communities. So for the IP user to even bring this up for debate brings into question his/her understanding (or lack thereof) of this subject.
  • That the black mamba is the most feared snake species in Africa and probably in the world is not simply a matter of opinion. It is technically an opinion, but it is the opinion of most snake experts and herpetologists. Scientists do not make statements, especially in their works through technical/acadenic books or peer-reviewed journalistic work if it was not backed either by solid irrefutable evidence (which in this case there is evidence - due to fear, black mambas are almost always killed on spot whenever physically possible throughout their entire geographical range within Africa; this specific type of behaviour by humans towards another a species has not been observed ever - at least not towards any other snake species; not only by Africans on other African snake species nor is it seen among any other people towards any toehr snake species int the world). In addition, consensus among experts in the field is that the black mamba is the snake which causes the highest levels of self-reported anxiety by most herpetologists when having to work with the species. The "respect" issue goes hand in hand with the fear issue here. This may be an opinion, but it is one that is shared by most experts and laymen alike. --Dendro†NajaTalk to me! 01:16, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree. This article is littered with trivia and off-topic anecdotes. It needs re-writing — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:53, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Black mamba LD50 quote is incorrect

The following statement from the Black_mamba#Venom.2C_envenomation_and_antivenom (and subsequent lead) is incorrect:

Using 0.1% bovine serum albumin chromatography, the final precipitate (98% of the solidified crude venom) is 98% purified albumin, the median lethal dose results for the black mamba were 0.01 mg/kg IP, 0.02 mg/kg IV and 0.05 mg/kg SC. Due to the 98% purity of the dried crude venom produced in this process (compare to 40-60% purity of dried crude venom when 0.1 saline solution is used), the toxicity (LD50) values of the venom is nearly exactly accurate and represents the true lethality of the venom. The black mamba is the fourth-most-venomous snake in the world,[8]

The source cited is "Zug, GR. (1996). Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book."

  • 0.02 mg/kg IV - have no clue where this is coming from . it's not from the book, and i couldn't find citation for it.

I have been looking at the list in whole, that Ernst and Zug published in their book "Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book" from 1996. and it simply didn't make sense. These are not their own lab study results. there is no peer reviewed paper published by them. something Broad, Sutherland et al did in 1979.

This is the full list in the book, you can verify it in google books (see the first 3).

As you can see , this list is very strange. it is widely known and published that the inland taipan has the highest LD50 in mice. so what's with the Hook-nosed sea snake (Enhydrina schistosa) and even Russel's Viper (Vipera russelii) doing above it? with very high LD50? and other snakes don't belong there too. I was scratching my head about this.

I found the answer from Associate Professor Bryan Grieg Fry the venom expert. he answered somebody on his blog regarding that exact list in the book :

Question: " ...I was talking to another herpatolagist and he said the hook nosed sea snake was the most venomous of all"

Fry Answers: "The hook nosed myth was due to a fundamental error in a book called 'Snakes in question'. In there, all the toxicity testing results were lumped in together, regardless of the mode of testing (e.g. subcutaneous vs. intramuscular vs intravenous vs intraperitoneal). As the mode can influence the relative number, venoms can only be compared within a mode. Otherwise, its apples and rocks."

I will give few examples you'll get the picture:

  • Tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) , 'Snakes in question' quotes it LD50 of 0.06. if you go to a peer reviewed paper you see what they did : "This is based upon its venom’s high lethality, rated the highest of all rattlesnake venoms (LD50 value for mice is 0.07 mg/kg intraperitoneal, 0.056 mg/kg intravenous, and 0.21 mg/kg subcutaneous)7–9."
  • Inland taipan (small scaled snake), 'Snakes in question' quotes it 0.03. published peer review paper 0.01 (bovine serum albumin) and 0.025 (saline) both subcutaneous.
  • Hook-nosed sea snake/Beaked sea snake (Enhydrina schistosa), 'Snakes in question' quotes it 0.02. published peer review paper 0.173 (bovine serum albumin) 0.164 (saline) both subcutaneous. another peer review here is the same. Another scholarly paper 0.1.

The same with the Black mamba:

I have no clue where they came with, with that 0.05.

The best place to see the difference quotes between subcutaneous/intramuscular/intravenous/intraperitoneal is Dr. Fry List put in categories

The most accurate LD50 to 'real life' is when tested using bovine serum albumin. This peer reviewed paper indeed says this as well and gives a good list, mostly are australian snakes:

So unless it is possible to produce a peer reviewed article citing black mamba subcutaneous LD50 using bovine serum albumin, the closest will be SC in Saline which is 0.28/0.32 mg/kg, 0.25 intravenous and 0.941 intraperitoneal .

I have also added this notice regarding Zug list misconception in the Snakebite article talk page79.177.59.154 (talk) 03:43, 8 April 2014 (UTC)


Clearly, the IP editor is not interested in discussion. He/she has disappeared since the page was protected and now it cannot be butchered by him/her. This is not an editor interested in solutions. This is the same editor which I proved to be a plagiarist (he/she had wrecked the Inland taipan article). I also proved this IP editor had absolutely no regard for ANY Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Admins at the time took all measures to try to minimize his participation in editing anything on Wikipedia, but they weren't able to block him/her due to the type of IP address he/she was using. This IP editor is not here to promote or make sure that WP policies and guidelines are being followed, he is here because he has an agenda with me for exposing his countless Wikipedia policy violations, plagiarism, and other problems he/she was causing. --Dendro†NajaTalk to me! 18:24, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

I have contributed a legitimate critic to your editing which have been well accepted and are in the article:
1) Talk:Black_mamba#Unsubstantiated_information_in_article ✔
2) transfer of the excessive (7,467 word)‎ "‎Determining venom toxicity (LD50)" section, to the right article Snake venom
3) My edit to the lead has been made after 3 editors have complained about your style of writing. not yet been resolved.
Speaking of "no regard to wikipedia guidelines": Wikipedia is not a forum WP:FORUM. this whole "discussion" section should be erased. (talk) 09:26, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Disruptive IP user. Made one good edit, but disrupting the lead misrepresenting a claim of consensus. States and misrepresents policies, then ignores them when its his own actions. Misrepresents edit summaries. Territorial editing. I think the ip uses other ips from near the same geographical location and also has a username. - Sidelight12 Talk 04:12, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Although I am trying to be civil to this IP editor now, I know that he is a true troll and a vandal. He's an amateur on this subject and his knowledge and understanding of the concepts surrounding snake venom, toxicity, variation, and snakes in general is very, very limited and poor. I can't even believe he's being allowed to continue trying to "dispute resolve". --Dendro†NajaTalk to me! 05:40, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Homeopathy section

This section is inappropriate, perpetuates quack science and should be deleted. Even if a justification is under "relationship to humans" or similar lines, it does not justify a section of the current length, and could be replaced along the lines of "Homeopaths have used Black Mamba Venom in their traditional cures [citations]." or at most a paragraph in length. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hoggy41 (talkcontribs) 13:24, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Totally agree, the sections about homeopathy should be deleted, they don't warrant even a sentence in this article. How has this article achieved GA status while still containing such rubbish? Something is wrong somewhere. --Roxy the dog (resonate) 15:12, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
I have removed the section again as per the concerns above. Rather worryingly the article was reviewed for GA and just a few days later the nominator added this section. Samwalton9 (talk) 15:39, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
I was just coming back to do that. The editor concerned has asked to be granted roll-back status. I'm not sure he should be allowed out with a pencil!! --Roxy the dog (resonate) 16:23, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
I've elaborated here. Samwalton9 (talk) 16:25, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I was unaware of a debate here and chopped the entire section myself independently per WP:BOLD. That's a huge chunk (undue in length) of fringe twaddle — it implies, wrongly, that there is a way to create immunity to a black mamba bite through the dilution, and redilution, and redilution, ad infinitim until it's water of black mamba venom. Which is tin hat crazy. Every single allergen and toxin known to man could have a similar "historical trivia section" on the homeopathic "proving" of this or that. Which is entirely irrelevant to the various topics at hand, as is this section here. If the section is now gone it should stay gone and if it's not gone it should go. Carrite (talk) 17:28, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
    • As the GA reviewer, I too agree with the above. ~HueSatLum 17:34, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
      • That section is utterly inappropriate and I commend the editors who have removed it. Can you imagine similar sections in hundreds of other articles about various things that homeopathy quacks use in their potions? I've got the article on my talk page now. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:48, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
It goes. Virtually everything is believed by homeopaths to cure something, albeit there is no actual evidence to support their doctrines of similars and infinitesimals. To single it out in this article gives undue weight to a fringe idea. Guy (Help!) 10:28, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I think the intent was good, but it's way, way too much, and requires going far off topic, just to include something that, from a quick look over, doesn't even appear to be that commonly used in homeopathy. If it was a major homeopathic remedy, then, with appropriate caveats making it clear homeopathy is very fringe, one might give a short paragraph on it, but not nearly a page. Adam Cuerden (talk) 13:58, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Is the LD50 of the black mamba venom in the article incorrect ?

Is the LD50 of the black mamba venom in the article based on unreliable data which is conflicting with all major WP:RS sources ? (talk) 06:13, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

The above talk page section goes into detail why the current data is incorrect (talk) 06:14, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
  • If I could phrase the question differently hopefully to help any other commenters: Should a RS Tertiary Source with an estimated venom lethality for the black mamba be included if it is significantly different from most RS estimated venom lethality? That for me is the real question, and as I noted below, Wikipedia should strive for the best facts and not the average of all reported facts. I took a few days to work through the sources and this is a good example of how not to use RfCs (takeover of the debate by two editors, skewed question, blocks of text, etc.). However, the answer to my question is No. Not in the lead. Maybe in the text or as a footnote depending upon the issue. For this page, the usage of a venom range near .30 appears the most appropriate. (Note: although one editor has been banned as a result of this dispute, the issue introduced is important to decide regardless of these side issues). AbstractIllusions (talk) 08:49, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Question Is this RfC still relevant? I've been invited to participate but I see a great deal of discussion below indicating that events may have moved on. Balaenoptera musculus (talk) 10:59, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
thats a fair point in light of the issues below. Maybe put it aside for the time being allow for the necessary rewrite to occur and then take another look at it if necessary? Otherwise we may be wasting peoples time. Cheers Faendalimas talk 17:45, 18 May 2014 (UTC)