Though some of you might find it a bit distressing to watch, this clip of a black mamba making quick work of its afternoon meal is a pretty incredible sighting! The snakes are among Africa's most feared creatures, but they're also shy and elusive – so to see one feeding is rare.

The snake was caught on camera by visitors to South Africa's Kruger National Park. Nelene Prinsloo and her family were out enjoying the sights when they noticed movement near a palm tree. Upon closer inspection, they spotted the large mamba just beginning to swallow its prey.

“We moved even closer, and on investigation this black mamba had struck several moments before; the [rodent] was going into a state of immediate paralysis,” Prinsloo told Kruger Sightings, who uploaded the video to YouTube. "The mamba proceeded to swallow the [it] whole!"

The fastest land snake in the world, and also one of the deadliest, the black mamba actually get its name from the dark colour of its mouth. While its hollow fangs are perfect for delivering heavy doses of neurotoxic venom, they aren't great for chewing. An extendible windpipe at the base of the mouth allows the eight-foot snakes to breathe while they work through their meal, much like a snorkel.

Birds and small mammals like mice are the staples of the black mamba diet, but these predators are also capable of swallowing meals up to four times the size of their heads. For more on the amazing anatomy of these skilled hunters, check out some of our favourite facts:

Black Mamba Anatomy _related _2015_09_16


Top header image: Ian White/Flickr