A list of the most venomous snakes seems a bit useless, right? I mean, it’s not like you love walking bare-feet through the fields and calling out on them. However, we fill that void because it might come in handy, at one point or another; God forbid you encounter any of these snakes. This is probably also a good time to point out that something is venomous when it injects you with venom, and something is poisonous when it harms you through touch or eating.
Now, that that’s all cleared up, check out these 10 venomous snakes!
10. Rattlesnake | Venomous Snakes
The only snake from the Americas on the list, the Rattlesnake is easily identifiable by the tell tale rattle on the end of its tail. They are actually a part of the Pit Viper family, and are capable of striking at up to 2/3rd their body length. The Eastern Diamondback in considered the most venomous species in North America. Surprisingly, juveniles are considered more dangerous than adults, due to their inability to control the amount of venom injected.
9. Death Adder
The appropriately named Death Adder is found in Australia and New Guinea. They actually hunt and kill other snakes, including some on this list, usually via ambush. Death Adders look quite similar to vipers, in that they have triangular shaped heads and short, squat bodies. They typically inject around 40-100mg of venom with an LD of 0.4mg-0.5mg/kg. An untreated Death Adder bite is one of the most dangerous in the world.
Vipers are found throughout most of the world, but arguably the most venomous is the Saw Scaled Viper and the Chain Viper, found primarily in the Middle East and Central Asia, particularly India, China and South East Asia. Vipers are quick tempered and generally nocturnal, often active after rains. Most of these species have venom that cause symptoms that begin with pain at the site of the bite, immediately followed by swelling of the affected extremity. Death from septicaemia, respiratory or cardiac failure may occur 1 to 14 days post-bite, or even later.
7. Philippine Cobra
Most species of Cobra would not make this list; however the Philippine Cobra is the exception. Drop for drop, its venom is the most deadly of all the Cobra species, and they are capable of spitting it up to 3 metres. The venom is a neurotoxin which affects cardiac and respiratory function, and can cause neurotoxicity, respiratory paralysis and death in thirty minutes.
6. Tiger Snake
Found in Australia, the Tiger snake has a very potent neurotoxic venom. Death from a bite can occur within 30 minutes, but usually takes 6-24 hours. Prior to the development of antivenin, the fatality rate from Tiger snakes was 60-70%. Symptoms can include localized pain in the foot and neck region, tingling, numbness and sweating, followed by a fairly rapid onset of breathing difficulties and paralysis.
5. Black Mamba
The feared Black Mamba is found throughout many parts of the African continent. They are known to be highly aggressive, and strike with deadly precision. They are also the fastest land snake in the world, capable of reaching speeds of up to 20km/h. These fearsome snakes can strike up to 12 times in a row. A single bite is capable of killing anywhere from 10-25 adults. Depending on the nature of the bite, death can result at any time between 15 minutes and 3 hours.
4. Taipan | Venomous Snakes
Another entry from Australia, the venom in a Taipan is strong enough to kill up to 12,000 guinea pigs. The venom clots the victim’s blood, blocking arteries or veins. It is also highly neurotoxic. Before the advent of an antivenin, there are no known survivors of a Taipan bite, and death typically occurs within an hour. It has been likened to the African Black Mamba in morphology, ecology and behavior.
3. Blue Krait
The Malayan or Blue Krait is, by far, the most deadly of this species. Found throughout South East Asia and Indonesia, 50% of bites from the deadly Blue Krait are fatal, even with the administration of antivenin. Kraits hunt and kill other snakes, even cannibalizing other Kraits. They are a nocturnal breed, and are more aggressive under the cover of darkness. The venom is a neurotoxin, 16 times more potent than that of a Cobra. Death usually occurs within 6-12 hours of a Krait bite. Even if patients make it to a hospital, permanent coma and even brain death from hypoxia may occur, given potentially long transport times to get medical care.
2. Eastern Brown Snake
Don’t let the innocuous name of this snake fool you, 1/14,000 of an ounce of its venom is enough to kill an adult human. Coming in a variety of species, the Eastern Brown snake is the most venomous. Unfortunately, its preferred habitat is also along the major population centers of Australia. Fortunately for humans, less than half of bites contain venom and they prefer not to bite if at all possible. They react only to movement, so stand very still if you ever encounter one in the wild.
1. Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan
While I did say that I would not include multiple sub-species in this list, the incredible Inland Taipan deserves a spot of its own. It has the most toxic venom of any land snake in the world. The maximum yield recorded for one bite is 110mg, enough to kill about 100 humans, or 250,000 mice! Fortunately, the Inland Taipan is not particularly aggressive and is rarely encountered by humans in the wild. No fatalities have ever been recorded, though it could potentially kill an adult human within 45 minutes.