Black Mamba
Video: Full Episode

The black mamba is one of Africa’s most dangerous and feared snakes. Most people would kill it on sight. But in the tiny country of Swaziland, one husband and wife team has taken a different approach to the mamba. They’ve initiated a study that they hope will change perceptions of what they feel is the world’s most misunderstood snake. This film premiered November 8, 2009.

  • Steve

    Wow Fantastic Work Guys :-D Keep Up The Great Work!

  • Diane

    Fascinating documentary. Thea and Clifton are to be greatly admired. Is there an address to which donations for their clinic can be sent?

  • Thandi D.

    How informative. Hopefully the next step will be milking the snakes for the antivenin to help victims like Tengetile.

  • Barb

    The documentary was excellant. Educating the people cannot be stressed strongly enough. God Bless you and keep you.

  • Thea Litschka-Koen

    Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement. If you would like to help us help snakebite victims please visit our web page:

  • Katherine Herzog, USA

    Thank you, Thea, for educating us on these much maligned animals and for your continuting work protecting both humans and snakes from harm.

  • alona

    i was just waching you show. great work . pleas never git rid of this gob. bye.

  • Goody

    Didn’t know much about these snakes until viewing your program. God Bless you & keep you both safe!

  • Caylee

    I couldnt get the video to work but i think snakes are very interesting!

  • casperpython

    I still be less afraid of pythons than elepids and vipers but still use intelligence of handling either, know your limits and theirs.

  • nikki

    i think what you guys are doing is very couragous and outstanding. Keep up the good work and may god be with you when you are handling those dangerous snakes

  • Shane

    How interesting! Although I must say, I am glad that I didn’t run into any of these snakes while I lived in Swaziland…

  • just an admirer

    Amazing u both!just incredibly courageous of you guys to do this !its really a comfort knowing bguys like u are working on this i can only guess how comforting it must be for the locals there just to know you guys are around . you guysrock god bless you and your family !

  • LEON


  • Joyce

    Watching this chapter of Nature brought back memories from my visit to Botswana in the 1990’s. We were in the bush when our jeep rolled into a hole and the engine cut out. At that very moment I saw something move out of the corner of my right eye. Low and behold a black mamba that was sunning reared up and struck the passenger door of our ‘open’ jeep twice. We had accidentally rolled over it as we were driving never seeing it as it was stretched out like a narrow brown log. Upon returning to camp, I made a beeline for the bar and downed a brandy to calm my nerves. With all my travels to Africa, getting into some hairy situations, this one, by far, topped the list.

  • charles

    thank you guys very much. this is really inspiring and i hope God continues to grant you all the help and strength to continue the great work your doing. God bless you

  • Sharon

    Well done! I cannot believe I lived there and did not come to harm, I put it down to Luck, I saw a few, And probably lived with them without knowing! Thank you for doing this !

  • John

    It is amazing to watch Thea and Clifton deftly bagging the deadly Mambas. Anesthetizing them to plant the transmitter was cool. The individuals behind the camera should be credited for producing a fabulous documentary. Very well done.

  • Robert Diggs

    I want to watch it again, but I’m still too scared to look!

  • mohamed-ali

    wow how brave thea and her husband are after watcing bbc natural world this really made me proud of themespecially when she cried in the field where she helped recover the unfortunate girls sandals i myself had a tear just shows how humans can be moved. keep up the good work and please take care and hoping to see more on this subject

  • JL

    Thank you, Thea and Clifton, for saving all these snakes, educating the public about these fascinating and misunderstood animals, and maintaining a refuge for them. Your determination and energy is remarkable, and your work is so incredibly important to the snakes and the people. I will be making a donation on your website in hopes that you continue to successfully rescue as many snakes as you can!



  • Robert Elliott

    Rob Elliott
    As someone who grew up in Big Bend, seeing you guys in action with snakes such as Black Mambas has left me in awe of your work. Growing up these snakes were the most feared creatures along with crocodiles, so to see you go into peoples homes and ridding their living areas of imminent danger is one of the best things that could have happened to the low veld. Your research is also cutting edge and vital to the area. I wish I was as brave as you guys. I wish you the best of luck in making the anti venom more accessible to those who need it. Stay alert and remain carefull, but im sure you don’t need me to tell you that, God bless.

  • Sue

    I am absolutely amazed at your -courage and passion- to save this species of venomous snake and I admire your determination to learn more about its life and habits. You are doing the people of that area a HUGE service. God bless and keep you safe in your pursuits with these snakes.

  • Mike Fatah

    Excellent work!!

  • Jack

    Thank you for enlightening us all. Good luck on your continuing efforts to help the local people.

  • Kenneth Madore

    I wish you and all those people in your village good luck I know it’s not easy. I wish you and your husband all the luck and love the world can offer and keep those beautes and the people safe.

  • Gary

    Wow…She and her husband are extremely courageous. I applaud her efforts!

  • nicomedia

    On 09.43 the music is really perfect. i wonder who composed it…


    funding can be required at this address.

  • sprky yegger

    show was informited ,enjoyable ,worth the time to learn about mamba

  • Anthony

    All I have to say is WOW. GREAT PEOPLE.

  • Danny

    Very informative… Thank you very much for all the work you have done with the Mamba…

  • jake

    I don’t understand why she says “you can almost see the intelligence in their eyes”. This makes no sense. Snakes have no intelligence whatsoever. Zero. None. They act 100% on instinct and their brains are smaller than a pea. Intelligence and Snake are two words that shouldn’t even appear in the same sentence.

    Great show though – awesome work by these people.

  • jereniah

    Jake you are wrong I think all animals have more intelligence then humans when you think about it!

  • leo

    i have two of these and as yearlings they look so much like the southern black racer- slick and black as midnight but as they get older they get that shell grey color.these are remarkable and beautiful snakes please keep up your work to help with conservation of these wild beauties

  • Ross

    An excellent program. I’ve got a corn and a milk snake myself, and this was a great way to learn more about snakes.

    Thea had commented that “Twiggy” had died. I was wondering how the snaked died. Was it natural causes or something else.

  • KevinW.

    Although the show was interesting, it was also pretty offensive. “Twiggy” and “Bugs”? You make them sound like pet doggies or kittens. These are deadly creatures, as you were at least honest enough to show in your program. I find the claim that these animals are essential to the local ecosystem to be dubious at best. Surely there’s a better way to keep the rodent population down than to allow these dangerous pests to live there. This isn’t something we in the west would allow in our populations, and I find it highly questionable that we would expect people in Swaziland or anywhere else to live with it. Although obviously the two protagonists in the story are people of some talent who apparently care at least somewhat for the local people, I feel they are profundly misguided individuals. If they want to help these people who apparently have no resources whatsoever, how about funding an eradication program so they can be rid of these vermin for good?

  • francois williams

    KevinW…that is moron talk…in China all snakes were wiped out…please come and look how this place is flooded by rats…rats are way more dangerous to wipe out all of the human race my friend…open your little mind…these amazing animals have been here before humans and will be here after us as well…and that is a fact…

  • cdotson

    kevin w is an idiot..we need to fund a eradication program to remove people like that….education is the key to help people understand the importance of these creatures.

  • cdotson

    …..check out my youtube channel…rattlesnakes and cotton mouths….–5hk……

  • KevinW

    I didn’t say wipe out all snakes, I said wipe out these snakes. Somebody there has the resources to grow and cultivate sugarcane. They should put some resources into eradication. Apparently they aren’t too concerned about whether their workers live or die.

    Rattlesnakes and cottonmouths are not as deadly as these snakes, and people are not being bitten by them, except on rare occasions. That’s because people who came before us killed off most of the dangerous snakes in our midst, and left only the number that they, and we, are willing to live with. That means the rare snake bite from a dangerous snake, and still not as deadly as a black mamba. Again, we are not subjecting ourselves to these creatures as they are being subjected to those snakes. The people on this site fawning over these creatures are the ones who need to do some more thinking. Go tell the family of that dead child about the wonder of those snakes!

  • Willoughby Lloyd

    In Louisiana, lots of garlic diluted in water and sprayed around the area one wants to protect has been proven to be effective with rattle snakes and other similar reptiles. I think it should be tried!

  • military

    we know who you are mr.foxx we have been watching you

  • unknown

    we can see you at all times we know every thing even your father , he use to be one of us it will be your time soon B.J

  • d

    your to close moe your head back

  • danny

    shut up danny

  • antonieta

    fabulous. I have watched three times with my grand children. Just love it. keep up the amazing work

  • ty

    Watched it twice and it is very good show. What I do not understand is the sympathy given to Black Mambas. Obviously they are mass murderers indiscriminately silencing humans and animals alike . Can you imagine how many lion cubs, and other smaller animals these evil creatures kill besides humans? In the episode, the captured Mambas are referred to as “rescued”, which is nonsense because they’ll go right back and kill again. Black Mambas are too dangerous for other species. Their numbers must be drastically reduced. Mambas should not be released in the reserves with other animals who are terrified of them either. If we make dogs and pets not breed, we certainly can make the the most dangerous snake, the Black Mamba, not breed.

  • Adele

    Thea and Clifton, God Bless you for your knowledge and compassion! It is gratifying to know there are Human Beings like you in the world. You are a Gift.

  • Dave

    You wouldn’t catch me in Mambaland without a couple of 12 gauge shotguns and several boatloads of birdshot and some kinda body armor geared towards stopping snakebiteS and a shipload of beer. Would be a fine place to visit then!!!!

  • dave

    I’m thinking some kinda get up like the Tin Man costume from the Wizard of Oz backed up with a flame thrower for backup. Too bad those people will have to get bitten and die or be maimed before arriving at the wisodm of OZ.

  • michael

    wow!!!!!!!! great work was very entertaining yet very educational plz keep up the great work

  • Patricia A. Haythorne

    Could you tell me where I can order a DVD of Thea and her husband’s work with the black mamba. I’ve looked all over the Nature series. Thank you.

  • Tuan

    this educational program has wiped out my silly thought of eradicating snakes. However, it puts more fear to me on the deadly bites of venomous snakes, especially this black mouth.

  • maria

    Nature always hypnotizes me until the show is finished and i have to watch it again because I just love nature I hope this show never comes to an end

  • madhulika


  • colton

    im 12 years old and i would love people to message me about snake problems at

  • warren in c.c.

    thank you for your

  • Rob in Sacramento

    Excellent work, continue with anti venom ffor the Lord has provided.

  • Jo Anne Moore

    What is the name of the bird who builds their nest away from the tree (hanging down from the branches) to avoid the mamba.

    I love your programs.

  • Lou

    Jo Anne, those are the ‘Weaver Birds’ because they actually weave their nests together. They are not just trying to escape the mambas and other snakes but other predators that live in the area. Light branches over water make for a really good, safe location! About made me homesick to watch the video~ we lived in Manzini ‘87-’91[middle veld] and the cane is in the low veld, looking toward the Mozambique Escarpment. the families in the rural areas~ the fear of the snakes coming back is palpable in the video and I can testify that it is as presented!!

  • bella

    cool thanks for the great video!!!!

  • Bongani

    I was born in Swaziland I remember killing snakes in the garden and near the house. We are taught how from age seven on.

  • ERIN

    I find it absolutely fascinating that she is the aggressor when it comes to the snakes and he is passive. It’s so odd in human nature. I’m am frightened of snakes, but I do believe that knowledge is power. Keep up the good work and my God bless you and keep you.

  • jfs

    Why risk human life. Just termanate the snakes.

  • Claire

    Black Mambas are NOT vicious killers that seek humans and baby animals to murder. Nor are they a reproduction of Satan in a physical form. When they kill, they kill because they are defending themselves or looking for food, no worse than when we kill chickens and pigs for our food. And as for defense, what would you do if a huge strange beast came charging down on you and looked as if it intended to kill you? Try everything in your power to stop it or get away, right? That’s what snakes do. They can’t suddenly change into vegetarians either; they just aren’t made for that. Animals are incapable of sinning or doing anything that is not instinct. They just do what they’re supposed to do. I say that ALL animals deserve our protection and sympathy, since they aren’t trying to corrupt the earth or anything.

  • banking online a

    I love the girl with the bag, perhaps it’s a carpet bag! Hugs, Heidi

  • Mildred Press

    Bill O’Rielly’s show was discussing the body scanners and one lady in the discussion said,”I would just walk right through those scanners, I have nothing to hide!”And Bill O’Rielly said,”That’s right, you have absolutely nothing to hide.”

  • sarah

    Black mambas are creepy. my teacher encountered one on her visit to Africa. she just backed away slole not to trigger it.

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  • Reiko Shomer

    Your article talks about the route *from* AT&T’s network *to* Facebook, and your diagram’s arrow shows that. But the text in the diagram mentions the opposite direction.

  • elle

    oh joy, like this world needs a poisonous snake savior. People seriously need to use their time better. This isn’t noble to me it’s STUPID.

  • Yancy

    Fascinating video! I knew very little about the Black Mamba before this. Very informative and quite entertaining! :)

  • Hal

    I’m under-informed about this, but it seems to me that educating Swazilanders (?) as chemists and venom specialists to produce antivenin for native species would be the surest and most economical way to insure a reliable supply. As someone who was raised in 1960’s America, it’s difficult to grasp a situation where people die for a lack of a medicine. My hat’s off to you for your work in the face of such difficult conditions. I’m sure your Clifton knows what a lucky guy he is to have such a humane and feisty life partner. Where can I send a contribution to Clifton and Thea’s work?

  • Jeannine Smith

    Thea and Clifton are you still out there in Swaziland? I lived in your beautiful country in 1990. I have been writing about my African experience (1987-2012) during the many visits in and out….. always longing to return.

    One of my stories is about my fear of black mambas. Your program taught me a lot. Never saw a mamba,
    but always afraid I would. I would love to have email contact with you if possible.

    Hopefully I will hear from you. Wanting to contact with SOMEONE in Swaziland, to help explain several of my incredible adventures. Thank you for your work, courage and vision! Jeannine Smith

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