Most venomous snakes in the world

Posted on Mar 24, 2013 in Skills

Most venomous snakes in the world

 

Agile, silent and often deadly, these snake through their venom can disable their prey or kill a threat in an instant. Thankfully this isn’t usually us, although when they do interact with humans the consequences can often be agonising and occasionally fatal.

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Fast and aggressive- The Black Mamba

Named for the inside of its mouth, the Black Mamba is both the world’s fastest at speeds of up to 14 mph, and the second longest venomous snake, averaging over 8 feet. It also has very potent, and fast acting venom, enough to kill between 10 and 25 men with a single bite. The Mamba is also very aggressive and unpredictable, and as humans share living and working space with these snakes, bites are frequent. Victims often lack access to, or the time to get to the suitable anitivenom, and since an untreated bite is a universal death sentence, fatalities are common – making it a prime candidate for Africa’s, most feared snake.

Lives- Southern and Eastern Africa
Deadly rating- 4 out of 5
Danger rating- 5 out of 5  

 

Camouflaged killer- The Puff Adder

Not the most venomous snake in Africa, the Puff Adder nevertheless causes the most human deaths there, and as such could arguably stake the claim to be Africa’s deadliest. Its bite yields on average 100-300 mg of cytotoxic venom, with as little as 100mg being potentially fatal to humans. The Puff Adder relies on camouflage and a quick strike to ambush its prey, and will not hesitate to attack if threatened. The reputation of this snake is somewhat inflated though, as victims often survive and the high overall fatalities are due to the widespread prevalence of the snake in Africa and close proximity to humans.

Lives- Sub-Saharan Africa
Deadly Rating- 3 out of 5
Danger Rating- 4 out of 5

 

Lazy but lethal- The Gaboon Viper

Another of Africa’s deadly snakes, the Gaboon Viper is the largest and heaviest venomous viper, averaging 122-152 cm (4-5 feet) in length. It also has the longest fangs of any snake, which enable it to produce the largest amount of venom with its bite, up to 1000 mg. While the potency of its venom is subject to speculation, it certainly has enough to kill several men. Fatalities are rare though, both because of its habitat and its mild temperament. Specimens can be handled and are even kept as pets due to their docile nature, at their owner’s risk of course!

Lives- Sub-Saharan Africa
Deadly Rating- 3 out of 5
Danger Rating- 2 out of 5

 

Beautiful and timid- The Boomslang

The long and slender Boomslang makes its home in the trees of Sub-Saharan Africa, and is notable for its comparatively long fangs located in the rear of its jaw, and its attractive appearance. While the Boomslang only has 4-8 mg of venom, as little as 5mg can reportedly be enough to kill a human, and deaths have been known to occur. Luckily its character is shy and reclusive, and it will usually flee rather than attack and only bite when provoked. Like any other femme-fatale the Boomslang should preferably be admired from a safe distance!

Lives- Sub-Saharan Africa
Deadly Rating- 4 out of 5
Danger Rating- 2 out of 5

 

Small but deadly- The Saw-Scaled Viper

Despite its small size, a combination of factors including its widespread distribution, strong venom and aggressive nature make the Saw-Scaled viper probably the most dangerous of the big four, and in contention for the title of world’s most dangerous snake. It can inject as much as 12mg of venom in its bite, with as little as 5mg enough to kill a person in some cases. Mortality rates from its bite stand at around 20%, with its inconspicuous appearance and lightning fast reflexes contributing to the large number of incidents, and lack of medical facilities heightening its threat. A small snake with a point to prove, this short-tempered viper can count itself among the world’s most dangerous.

Lives- Africa, Central and Southern Asia
Deadly Rating- 4 out of 5
Danger Rating- 5 out of 5

 

Iconic killer- The King Cobra

One of the most recognisable species due to its characteristic hood, and one of the most physically imposing, the King Cobra lives up to its reputation with a combination of size and venom. It is the world’s largest venomous snake, averaging 3-4 m (9.8-13 feet) in length, and while its venom is not the strongest on this list, it is still potent enough to kill 20 men, or even an elephant! Luckily it rarely comes into contact with humans because of its forest and jungle habitat, and prefers to avoid confrontation. If provoked though, it will attack, as some brave, or foolhardy snake charmers have discovered.

Lives- South and East Asia
Deadly Rating- 3 out of 5
Danger Rating- 3 out of 5

 

Widespread threat- The Indian Cobra

Not as physically intimidating as its cousin the King Cobra, averaging just under 2 metres (6 feet) in length,  this snake nevertheless is every bit as dangerous, and is responsible for around 10 000 human deaths each year. Its neurotoxic venom can cause respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, though a relatively small proportion of human victims die due to the snake controlling the amount of venom released. It is probably the most famous of the ‘big four’ venomous snakes in Southern Asia, mostly due to living in rice fields and other habitats in close proximity to humans, and as such is a constant threat. Certainly one of Asia’s most dangerous snakes.

Lives- Southern Asia
Deadly Rating- 3 out of 5
Danger Rating- 4 out of 5

 

Asia’s most feared – The Russell’s Viper                                              

Another member of the ‘big four’, the Russell’s Viper is extremely deadly and one of the world’s most dangerous snakes. This is due to a combination of very potent venom, of which 40-70 mg is enough to kill a human, and its hunting of prey frequently leading it into highly populated areas. Its venom has a range of unpleasant effects, including kidney, respiratory or cardiac failure and coagulation of the blood. On a positive note this clotting mechanism is used as a test in hospital laboratories! This snake’s abundance and propensity for living near people make it rightly feared in India and surrounding countries.

Lives- India, Southeast Asia
Deadly rating- 3 out of 5
Danger rating- 4 out of 5

 

Don’t provoke – The Yellow Bellied Sea Snake

The Yellow Bellied Sea Snake is arguably the most venomous snake in the world, however due to its aquatic habitat and docile nature it is not usually a threat to humans. However if  handled roughly it will defend itself and can deliver a potentially fatal bite . Such incidents are very rare though, and while this Sea Snake has the potential to be deadly, it poses relatively little danger on a daily basis.

Lives- Indian and Pacific Oceans, Tropical waters
Deadly Rating- 5 out of 5
Danger Rating- 2 out of 5

 

Death from a distance- The Phillipine Cobra

Smaller than most cobra species, yet with a bite that can be the most toxic out of them all, yielding around 100mg of venom. the Phillipine Cobra has an array of weapons at its disposal including the ability to spit its venom up to lengths of around 3 metres. The neurotoxins within the venom can lead to respiratory failure, paralysis and on occasion, death within 30 minutes. While not as well documented or understood as many of the other snakes on this list, the Phillipine Cobra’s combination of lethal venom and its varying methods of deploying it make it an extremely dangerous snake, and its geographical isolation is perhaps a relief!

Lives – The Phillipines
Deadly Rating- 4 out of 5
Danger Rating- 3 out of 5

 

Docile but deadly – The inland taipan

The inland taipan, or fierce snake as it often otherwise known, is the most venomous land snake in the world. Its toxin is more than 50 times as potent as an Indian cobra’s and despite carrying just 0.1 grams of venom in its poison glands, this is enough venom to kill 100 people or, more desirably for the snake, 200,000 mice. But fear not, your chances of being attacked by this rather docile snake are low. It lives in the remote parts of Australia and poses little threat to humans on a daily basis. However if you were unlucky enough to alarm one then watch out – it has long fangs over 1cm in length that are quite capable of penetrating a leather boot.

Lives: Central and North East Australia
Deadly rating: 5 out of 5
Danger rating: 2 out of 5

 

Australia’s most feared – The Eastern Brown Snake

The Eastern Brown Snake is the second most venomous land snake in the world, behind only the Inland Taipan. It is found throughout the east coast of Australia as the name would suggest, and is attracted to houses and farms due to their connection with the rodents it preys upon. Unlike the ‘fierce snake’, though, the eastern brown has been known to be aggressive and has been responsible for a number of fatalities. The family of snakes it belongs to are responsible for more deaths in Australia every year than any other, and being more aggressive than its close relative the western brown snake, this species is likely Australia’s most dangerous.

Lives- Australia, Papua New Guinea
Deadly Rating- 5 out of 5
Danger Rating- 4 out of 5

 

Nocturnal threat- The Tiger Snake

Named for its distinctive stripes, the various different species of Tiger Snake are responsible for the second most snake bites each year in Australia, the results of which can be breathing difficulties, paralysis and, if left untreated, a mortality rate of between 40 and 60 %. They too are attracted to human dwellings, moving closer to people in their search of prey, and unwitting victims run the risk of stepping on the snake as it hunts nocturnally. As anti-venom has become more readily available the number of deaths has greatly reduced, and while still very dangerous the brown snake is now responsible for more deaths.

Lives- Australia
Deadly Rating- 4 out of 5
Danger Rating- 4 out of 5

 

Aquatic savage – The Beaked Sea Snake

While its venom is less potent than the other sea snake on this list, the Beaked Sea Snake is still very venomous and by far the more dangerous. It is responsible for over half of all sea snake bites, and as much as 90% of all fatalities. This is due to a combination of having enough venom in its bite to kill 50 people, and its particularly aggressive nature. It has been described as “cantankerous and savage” by experts! All in all we should probably be thankful that this snake is restricted to the oceans, and think twice before having a swim in its habitat!

Lives- Indian Ocean, Western Pacific
Deadly Rating- 4 out of 5
Danger Rating- 4 out of 5

 

Silent Death- The South American Bushmaster

The Bushmaster is the largest species of viper and longest venomous snake in the Western Hemisphere, often measuring between 2-3 metres (6 1/2-10 feet). Its latin name refers to one of the fates of Greek mythology, which is apt considering this snake’s potential to end lives. Its venom isn’t the strongest but it can deliver huge amounts. If threatened it will vibrate its tail like a rattlesnake, and if this warning is not heeded it can use its long fangs to deliver a potentially fatal bite. Known to be aggressive and rightly feared by locals, the number of attacks is nevertheless small due to its nocturnal nature and tropical jungle habitat.

Lives- South America
Deadly Rating- 3 out of 5
Danger Rating- 4 out of 5

 

Timid yet potent- The Coral Snake

There are a wide variety of different coral snakes inhabiting the Americas, though a characteristic they share is their neurotoxic venom and distinctive banded pattern. They only have small fangs but can grip onto their prey and inject small, yet potentially lethal amounts of venom as it is so potent. Despite this they do not pose a huge threat to humans usually, and indeed are difficult to find due to making their homes in burrows, or spending a lot of time in water in the case of some species. Thanks to this, and their moderate temperament, few bites are recorded.

Lives- Latin America
Deadly Rating- 4 out of 5
Danger Rating- 2 out of 5

 

You’ve  been warned- The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

One of the most distinctive and well-known species, due to the ‘rattle’ that gives the family of snakes its name, the Eastern Diamondback is probably North America’s most dangerous, and the world’s heaviest venomous snake. An ambush predator, it will only use its iconic rattle if threatened. Bites can cause severe pain and haemorrhaging, and while if left untreated can be fatal, the availability of antivenom in the developed world has reduced casualties significantly. It is not usually aggressive though, and will avoid confrontation if possible. If given the benefit of the warning rattle, one should thank their luck and make a hasty retreat!

Lives- North America, Mexico
Deadly Rating- 4 out of 5
Danger Rating- 3 out of 5

 

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