Via Latin aspis, it is the source of the English word "asp".In ancient texts, aspis or asp often referred to the Egyptian cobra (Naja haje), in reference to its shield-like hood.
Not being proximal to humans, bites from the black mamba are not frequent.
but also denotes "cobra" or simply "snake", in particular "snake with hood (shield)".
It is the longest species of venomous snake indigenous to the African continent; mature specimens generally exceed 2 meters (6.6 ft) and commonly attain 3 meters (9.8 ft).
Specimens of 4.3 to 4.5 meters (14.1 to 14.8 ft) have been reported.
It is diurnal and chiefly an ambush predator, known to prey on hyrax, bushbabies and other small mammals as well as birds.