Poisonous snakes are everywhere on this planet. However, we should not mistake them for garden snakes who are usually harmless to humans.
Generally speaking, it is always important to recognize the most venomous snakes in the world to protect ourselves from their lethal bites.
The list provided below will illustrate the pictures of poisonous snakes and give some basic facts about them so you could know interesting facts to share with your friends.
Snake bites cause serious issues around the world as the world experiences about 5.4 million snakebites annually, 2.5 million of which end up with envenoming while another 125,000 people die from the snake bites.
The list provided below does not include all of the most poisonous snakes in the world. Because there are over 3000 species of snakes and 600 of them are considered venomous.
Identification: Known by the scientific name Oxyuranus Microlepidotus, Inland Taipans belong to medium to large-sized snakes. Their color varies from pale fawn to darker brown. Especially, their head and neck areas are many times darker than the rest of the body.
Inland Taipans change their color depending on the seasons. In wintertime, they are in a darker color to absorb more heat from the sun. On hot summer days, they change their skin to paler color which allows them to cool off efficiently, reflecting the hot rays of the sun.
Dangers to Humans: Inland Taipans are considered the most venomous snake in the world based on LD50 testing. It can kill a person within 45 minutes unless proper first-aid is provided. Because their venom includes a mix of neurotoxins, procoagulants, myotoxins, and taipoxin.
A combination of these toxins can damage muscle functions, paralyze the body, lead to hemorrhages in blood vessels and tissues, and inhibit breathing, which eventually leads to a lethal outcome.
Location: Geographically, they live in the southern parts of Australia and they are mostly found in crevices, soil cracks, and old burrows dug by other animals. The good news is that they hardly come above the ground, which makes the human encounter less possible.
Diet: Inland Taipans usually eat smaller mammals such as long-haired rats and mice. They use their lethal venom to paralyze their prey.
Dubois’ Sea Snake or reef shallow sea snake.
The most venomous snakes in the world do not live only on the ground but are also found in the water. Dubois sea snake, which lives at the depth of up to 262 feet (80 m) in coral reef flats, can lethally bite its opponents when provoked. It is one of the top three most venomous snakes in the world based on LD50 tests.
Identification: Dubois Sea Snakes have an average length of 2.6 feet (80 cm.); however, their maximum length can reach up to 4.86 feet (148 cm).
In the scientific world, Dubois Sea snakes are known as Aipysurus Dubosii and they have varying colors. Mostly, their chin and throat areas are lighter in color than the rest of their body. They have a long tail and a larger head that is slightly wider than the rest of their body.
Interestingly, Dubois sea snakes do not lay eggs. Instead, they give birth to young ones.
Danger to humans: Dubois Sea Snake is considered to be the one of top three most venomous snakes in the world and cause lethal health complications.
Location: Dubois’ Sea snakes can be found in the coastal areas of New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. More specifically, the Arafura Sea, Indian Ocean, Coral Sea, and the Timor Sea are home to those snakes.
Diet: They feed on moray eels and smaller fish that live on the seafloor, whose average sizes are varying from very small to 3.6 feet (110 cm). They are opportunistic predators. Meaning, they wait for the prey to approach them.
Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja Texitilis)
Regularly knowns as common brown snakes, eastern brown snakes are highly venomous species of snakes. They are listed as one of the top most venomous snake in the world.
Identification: As its name suggests, they mostly have darker brown colors; however, their color can be various depending on their geographic locations.
For instance, eastern brown snakes found in Australia can display pale to darker brown colors with shades of orange in their upper body and creamy, yellow, gray colors in their underbelly regions, while the brown snakes found in New Guinea have tan to the olive-colored upper body.
Eastern brown snakes can also be in darkish grey color and some of them are banded with darker circles.
The average size of eastern brown snakes is 4.9 ft. (1.5 m); however, it is not unusual to find some large ones that have an overall length up to 7 ft. (2 m). Their body structure is varying from slender to average-built.
Danger to humans: Eastern brown snakes can hurt people badly or lead to death unless first-aid is provided immediately. Their venom holds strong neurotoxins that can paralyze the body and lead to death.
According to scientists, their venom developed in response to their needs to kill or paralyze fast-moving prey immediately and to eliminate the risk of getting hurt by its opponents.
Eastern brown snakes are responsible for 60% of all snake-bite deaths in Australia. Firstly, it is because they can come close to urban and farming areas. And secondly, they are not shy to use their lethal venom when they are provoked or concerned.
Location: Eastern brown snakes are pretty common in the dry areas of Australia and parts of New Guinea. They usually live in hollow trees, rock crevices, under the rubbish around the buildings, and deserted burrows dug by other animals.
They are also adapted well to semi-urban, farmed, and grazed environments. Therefore, snake specialists suggest cutting lawns shorter and removing unnecessary woodpiles from the property to avoid an encounter with them.
Diet: Eastern brown snakes have an appetite for a variety of smaller vertebrates and reptiles. They usually feed on rats, mice, frogs, etc.…
Once they capture their prey, they coil around it until they squeeze them to death. If their prey is large they can dislocate their jaw and stretch their skin to fit the whole thing.
Once the prey gets into their stomach, strong venom and heat from the sun help them to digest it easily.
Coastal Taipans are other types of taipan snakes that are known to be the most venomous in the world. They are also considered to be the most dangerous snakes given the fact they are inclined to attacking humans when they felt threatened or cornered.
Identification: Coastal Taipans are usually mistaken for other brown snakes such as Eastern Brown Snakes, Mulga Snakes, and Western Brown Snakes.
One can easily distinguish them from the rest of the brown snakes by looking at their head. Coastal taipans have pale faces and snout, large rectangular heads, and slender necks.
Their body color usually displays shades of reddish-brown, yellowish, dark brown colors that almost looks black.
Their color changes seasonally. Their color turns darker in winter and fades during the summer, which helps them to regulate their body temperature.
Coastal taipans are large snakes, whose overall length can reach up to 9.5 ft. (2.9 m) and weigh up to 14 lbs. (6.5 kg.). However, their average size usually around 6.6 ft. (2 m) in length and 6.6 lbs. (3 kg.) in weight.
Danger to Humans: Coastal Taipans are considered the most dangerous snake in Australia. Because slightest movement at a close distance can aggravate them and trigger an attack.
Their venom accompanied by their outstanding striking ability puts human lives at risk. They can strike at high speed without warning and make several bites in a matter of seconds.
However, like any other snakes, they can slip away if a comfortable distance is kept. Also, they have the longest venom apparatus which is measured to be about 0.5 inch (12 mm) in length. That organ allows coastal taipans to inject a large volume of venom deep into the flesh. Interestingly, they can inject about the same amount of venom at second and third bites as well.
Once the venom gets into the human body, it impacts the nervous system and leads to the formation of blood clots, the impact of which causes a strong headache, vomiting/nausea, internal bleeding, paralysis, kidney dysfunction, and other health complications.
Location: Coastal Taipans can be found only in Australia and the island of New Guinea. They prefer warmer tropical areas such as monsoon forests, artificial and natural grasslands, cane fields, dry sclerophyll forests, and other areas that have a larger rat population.
They mostly live in deserted burrows, hallow woods, and under the pile of vegetation. So, not invite them to a property, specialists recommend keeping the lawn shorter and removing a pile of junk off the property.
Diet: Coastal Taipans mostly feed on warm-blooded prey such as rats, mice, birds, and bandicoots. They have exceptionally well-developed eyes which allow them to detect their prey at a longer distance. And that is the main reason why they move raising their heads above the ground.
Once they find prey, they freeze and wait to position themselves for striking. After several bites, the prey gets paralyzed; But the snake waits until the prey is dead before consuming it wholly. That process helps coastal taipans to avoids the risk of getting hurt in retaliation.
King Cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah)
King Cobra is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Once its venom gets into the human system, the human body starts to fade almost immediately and the effect of venom leads to death within 45 minutes unless medical attention is provided.
Identification: Due to its large size, King Cobra is also the world’s longest venomous snake. Its overall length can reach up to 18 ft. (5.5m.) and weighs over 20 lbs. (9 kg.).
One can recognize them from their iconic hood which flares out when they feel threatened. Also, people can know its presence just by hearing its notorious hissing sound.
Did you know that King Cobras are the only venomous snakes that build a nest for their eggs and ferociously protect it until all eggs are hatched?
Danger to humans: King cobras are very dangerous for humans as they can kill a human with a single bite. In terms of venom potency, King cobra is not in the top three. However, its venom is so powerful that a single bite can deliver venom that is enough to kill 20 people or a large elephant.
Cobra’s venom directly impacts the human brain, which in turn, leads to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.
Location: Geographically, areas in India to southeast Asia are home to King Cobras. They are well-adapted to living in rainforests, swamps, grasslands, and even in rivers.
According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, King Cobras are vulnerable to extinction due to climate change and human activities.
For instance, deforestation disrupts their natural habitats, while medical, food, and fashion industries use their skin, venom, and flesh to produce food, clothes, and medical substances.
Diet: King Cobras primarily feed on other snakes, both venomous and non-venomous. However, they also eat smaller mammals, eggs, and lizards.
Side note: Snake Charming shows use king cobras because of their aggressive look. During the show, a magician supposedly hypnotizes a cobra playing flute.
Snake Charming, however, was debunked by many specialists, simply because the snakes cannot hear any sound. They just sway from side to side charging at the flute’s movement.
Russell’s Viper (Daboia russelii)
Russell’s Viper is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in Asia as it produces thousands of fatalities around the world. For instance, according to a World Health Organization article, more than 1 million Indians have died from snakebites in the last two decades, and three venomous snakes, Russell’s vipers, cobras, and kraits are responsible for the biggest portion of those fatalities.
Identification: Russel’s viper can be in various colors. Mostly, they are found in brown, tan, and yellow, patterned with dark spots all over the length of the body.
The average size of Russell’s Viper is around 4 ft. (120 cm.); however, their length can reach up to 5.5 ft. (166 cm).
Dangers to humans: Russell’s Viper is especially dangerous for residents of rural communities in Asia. Because these snakes live in agricultural fields, hide inside the grass, and they bite unsuspecting farmers.
Russell’s Viper is especially dangerous in countries such as India and Sri Lanka. For instance, according to a report, about 37,000 patients with snakebites are admitted to hospitals in Sri Lanka every year, and 30 to 40% of those cases are caused by Russell’s Viper.
Russell’s Viper delivers about 112 mg. of venom in each bite. Once bitten, a victim starts experiencing heavy pain after 10 minutes. If left untreated, a victim can die in as little as 2.5 hours.
Primary symptoms include blistering, swelling, kidney failure, internal bleeding, and other health disorders. The worst of symptoms come when the viper’s venom causes blood clotting in the human body, which leads to organ dysfunction.
Location: Russel’s vipers are pretty common in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Myanmar.
They prefer to live in grasslands and rural areas. This complicates the whole situation for two reasons. Firstly, rice farmers in rural areas become the victim of Russell’s viper, especially during the planting and harvesting seasons. Secondly, given the long distance between rural farms and medical facilities, most victims can’t seek immediate medical attention, which eventually leads to fatalities.
Diet: Russell’s Viper feeds on rodents such as rats and mice, smaller reptiles, scorpions, land crabs, arthropods.
Juveniles usually scavenge for their food and look for smaller lizards. Also, juveniles sometimes can engage in cannibalistic actions, where they consume the smaller members of their family.
Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)
Black mama is a notorious snake for its powerful venom. Its color is brown; however, people call it black mamba because it displays the black interior of its mouth when it feels threatened.
Most people are tremble when they see a black mamba and they have a good reason to do so. Because they are super-fast, nervous, and highly aggressive if good distance is not kept.
Identification: Black Mamba are the longest venomous snakes in the African continent. Although its average length is usually around 8.2 feet (2.5 m.), it can reach up to 14 feet (4.3 m) in length.
They are fast movers who can accelerate their speed up to 12.5 miles per hour (1.6 km/h).
Danger to humans: Although they cause numerous fatalities in the African continent, their name was associated with evil mostly due to the exaggerated stories. They won’t attack without a reason and they will slip away unless they are cornered.
When threatened, they raise about a third of their body off the ground, spread their neck-flap, faces directly toward an opponent, and open their black mouse, making a hissing sound. That sound is a good warning sign not come any closer.
Black Mamba venom can kill a person within 20 minutes. Fortunately, life-saving antivenin was developed against it.
Location: Black Mambas live in rocky hills and savannah of eastern and southern Africa.
Diet: Black Mambas prefer warm-blooded prey although they also consume other snakes. They mostly feed on birds (especially young birds that are unable to fly such as nestlings and fledglings), rodents, bats, bush babies, and hyraxes.