NARRATOR: Mercury, the black mamba,
has found the ideal snake nursery.
But this is not a private birthing ward.
This custom-built termite mound is
rigged with surveillance equipment
and delicate lighting.
She will be depositing her precious cargo live
The vigil at Mercury's nest site continues
for four long days and nights.
And then, the true purpose of her mission emerges.
One by one they appear, not hard like a bird's egg,
but soft, pliable and leathery to the touch.
The parchment-like eggshell is permeable,
allowing gases in and out so the embryo can breathe inside.
Over the next 90 days, the eggs will
continue to swell in size and weight
while the embryos develop.
24 hours later, exhausted, Mercury has
deposited all of her 14 eggs.
It's now time for her to restore her depleted energy,
drink fresh water, hunt, and survive.
Safe in their secret chamber, 14 new supersnakes
are coming to life.
Three Moons have waxed and waned since Mercury laid her eggs.
Inside each of the leathery shells,
a miniature mamba has been rapidly developing.
The embryo extracts calcium from the shell and nutrition
from the yolk sac.
And lengthens rapidly, gradually reassembling
a long, slender snake.
Three months later, a new generation of mambas
is ready to enter the world.
The young snakes don't exit immediately,
preferring to move around in the egg
and absorb the remainder of the egg yolk, which will sustain
them until their first kill.
These tiny mambas have fully developed
venom glands, deadly enough to kill a man just
minutes after birth.
One by one, the baby mambas emerge from their nursery.
20 inches long, independent, and already capable of catching
prey the size of a small rat.