Most venomous snakes in the world
Snakes are fascinating yet often feared creatures found all over the world. While most snakes are not venomous, some species can inject highly potent venom that is deadly to humans.
In this blog post, we will examine and explore the most venomous snake species, their key identifying features, geographic distribution, venom composition and effects, and the amount of venom yielded in a single bite.
Most Venomous Snake Species
1. Inland Taipan
Native to Australia, the inland taipan is considered the most venomous snake in the world. Its venom is highly neurotoxic and can kill an adult human in as little as 45 minutes. The inland taipan has tan scales and a somewhat bulky head.
2. Eastern Brown Snake
Also from Australia, the eastern brown snake is the second most venomous snake globally. Its venom attacks the nervous system and can cause cardiac arrest. This species has brown or black scales with a pale belly.
3. Coastal Taipan
The coastal taipan inhabits northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Its venom clots the victim’s blood, stopping circulation. The coastal taipan is typically dark brown or black with a pale head.
4. Many-Banded Krait
Found throughout Southeast Asia, the many-banded krait’s venom attacks the central nervous system, causing paralysis. It has black and white bands down its slender body.
5. Black Mamba
The feared black mamba of southern and eastern Africa can inject large quantities of fast-acting neuro- and cardiotoxin. It has grey scales and a coffin-shaped head.
6. King Cobra
Native to India and Southeast Asia, the king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, growing up to 18 feet long. It preys on other snakes and has highly potent neurotoxin and cardiotoxin in its venom. The king cobra is olive, brown or black with pale yellow cross bands down its body.
7. Death Adder
Found in Australia and New Guinea, the death adder delivers a fast-acting neurotoxin and myotoxin that can cause paralysis and death very quickly after a bite. It has a short, thick body with banding in shades of brown and gray.
8. Saw-Scaled Viper
The saw-scaled viper of dry regions of Africa and Asia inflicts more snakebite fatalities than any other species. Its venom causes hemorrhaging and affects the nervous system, heart, and kidneys. It has a triangular head and characteristic scale markings.
9. Tiger Snake
Native to southern Australia, the tiger snake’s venom contains potent neurotoxins and coagulants. It is highly aggressive when threatened. The tiger snake has olive, brown or black scales with bands down the length of its body.
Widely feared in South America, the aggressive fer-de-lance snake is responsible for most venomous bite fatalities in the region. Its hemotoxic venom causes hemorrhaging, necrosis, and organ failure. It has variable coloration but is noted for its triangular head.
Found in sub-Saharan Africa, the boomslang has highly hemotoxic venom that disables blood clotting and causes extensive internal bleeding. It has large eyes and a greenish-brown coloration.
Effects of Venoms
The venoms of these snakes contain a mixture of toxins such as neurotoxins, hemotoxins, and cardiotoxins. Neurotoxins attack the nervous system, causing paralysis, respiratory failure, and death.
Hemotoxins destroy red blood cells and cause tissue damage, while cardiotoxins damage heart muscles. Even small amounts of venom from these snakes can rapidly kill a human if left untreated.
Amount of Venom Yielded
Remarkably, some of these species can inject large doses of venom in a single bite. The inland taipan, for example, may deliver 110-400 mg in a bite, while a black mamba can yield 100-400 mg of venom. For comparison, an average rattlesnake yields 50-200 mg. The large quantities of toxic venom explain the dangerously rapid effects.
The incredible toxicity of these snake species’ venoms makes them the most perilous to humans globally. Their powerful neurotoxins and cardiotoxins rapidly incapacitate victims.
Prompt medical treatment with antivenom can be lifesaving after a bite. With extreme caution, these snakes can still be safely admired for their evolutionary mastery as apex predators. Check out here more factual lists and data.
What is the most venomous snake in the world?
The inland taipan, found in Australia, is considered the most venomous snake in the world. Its highly toxic venom can kill an adult human in as little as 45 minutes.
Which snake has killed the most people?
The saw-scaled viper, found in dry areas of Africa and Asia, is responsible for more human fatalities each year than any other snake species. Its venom affects the nervous system, heart, and kidneys.
How does snake venom work?
Different snakes have different venoms that contain a cocktail of toxins such as neurotoxins, hemotoxins, cardiotoxins, and cytotoxins. These toxins attack the nervous system, blood circulation, tissues, cells, and organs, leading to paralysis, hemorrhaging, and rapid death in cases of highly venomous snakes.
Is a cobra bite painful?
Yes, cobra bites are extremely painful. The venom causes swelling, blistering, necrosis, numbness, and weakness. Without antivenom treatment, the neurotoxins can paralyze breathing muscles and lead to respiratory failure.
Are black mambas aggressive?
Black mambas tend to be shy and reclusive. However, they are highly aggressive when threatened and can strike repeatedly with large doses of fast-acting venom. Their neurotoxin is rapid-acting and potentially fatal.
What should you NOT do if bitten by a venomous snake?
Don’t panic, don’t try to suck out the venom, don’t apply a tourniquet, don’t cut the wound, and don’t rub it. Seek immediate medical help, remove jewelry and restrictive clothing near the bite, and try to immobilize the bitten area.
How is antivenom made?
Antivenoms contain antibodies created by injecting small amounts of snake venom into animals like horses or sheep. Their immune systems produce the antibodies that can neutralize the venom’s effects. The antibodies are purified from the animal’s blood to make antivenom for humans.
Can snake venom kill instantly?
No, even very potent neurotoxic venoms take at least 5-15 minutes to start causing symptoms like paralysis. However, without swift treatment, the victim can die within minutes to hours after being bitten by snakes like the inland taipan or eastern brown snake.