Snakes slither about eating rodents and minding their own business – until they don’t. The sight of a snake is enough to scare even the bravest of men and women. If the snake rattles or is an aggressive snake with toxic venom, you need to calmly run the other way (flailing your arms in the air).
And if you like to go for a hike in the peacefulness of nature or live in the countryside, you need to know the top 10 most venomous snakes in the world.
These snakes can and do kill humans. We’ll cover some of the more well-known snakes – rattlesnake and vipers – as well as a few you may not have heard of before reading this article.
Be prepared to be a little frightened and mystified by these quick and deadly reptiles.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes in the World
1. Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan
Australia’s inland taipan is one of the most feared snakes on the planet. The beautiful brown or golden color of this snake shouldn’t be admired. If you thought a rattlesnake was deadly, this snake’s venom is 10 times more potent.
The venom of this snake is enough to kill 100 humans with a single bite.
So, to say that the inland taipan is deadly is an understatement. There is some good news though: no fatalities are recorded from an inland taipan.
Why does the most deadliest snake in the world have a zero kill record among humans?
- They’re not aggressive
- Humans rarely see these snakes in the wild
If you’re unlucky enough to come across this snake and feel its bite, you’ll be dead within 45 minutes.
An interesting tidbit is that the first person to see this snake was Frederick McCoy in 1879. Another sighting was recorded in 1882, then for over 90 years, no one saw this snake. Many people believed the snake to be a myth because of the rare sightings.
Rediscovery occurred in 1972.
Since the snake inhabits the rocky savanna, there’s a good chance you’ll never have to worry about encountering an inland taipan.
2. Eastern Brown Snake
An eastern brown snake has a non-threatening name. These snakes come in a variety of species, and they’re most popular in Australia where they have a large population. Even if you plan on going to one of the major centers in Australia, know that the eastern brown snake is around – they like the big city life for some reason.
The bad news is that this is the most venomous snake in the world.
Just 1/14,000 of an ounce of the venom will kill an adult. Talk about scary. But there is some good news: they prefer not to bite. And only half of bites have venom, so you have a 50/50 chance of not dying a slow and painful death if bitten.
What’s odd is that this snake seems to have a temperament all its own.
If you happen to catch an eastern brown snake on a bad day, they will repeatedly strike and may even chase after you.
Even the small, young members of this species have enough venom to kill. While this may seem crazy, if you come across this snake, stay very still. The eastern brown snake will only react to movement, so a person that is very still will have the best chance of survival.
But if you do happen to get bitten by one of these snakes, the venom contains:
- Blood coagulants
What does this mean? The snake’s venom will cause your blood to clot and will also impact your nervous system, causing you to lose function and movement of your limbs.
3. Blue Krait
The Blue Krait’s beautiful appearance is all but ruined since anyone close enough to touch this snake has a high risk of dying. This snake is found in Asia and Indonesia, and it’s a widely distributed type of snake. This snake is also called Malayan.
Nocturnal in nature, these snakes are aggressive at night and have an extremely potent bite.
If you think antivenin will increase your chances of living, think again: 50% of bites, even when antivenom is administered, end in death. You, my good friend, don’t want to be another statistic.
But I have some very good news for you, these snakes are timid.
The blue krait doesn’t want to fight, and they more often than not try to hide away instead of engaging in a confrontation.
These snakes feed on anything, and they’ll hunt and kill their own kind, too. When bitten by this snake, know that they’re sixteen times more toxic than a cobra, and their bite can cause:
- Loss of nerve function
- Muscle paralysis (quick acting)
- Cramps, tremors and muscle spasms
Fatality rates without antivenin are 85%, and even if you do get to the doctor quickly, death can occur in 6 – 12 hours. Many patients will go brain dead and fall into a coma after a bite.
Australia is filled with deadly snakes, but a taipan snake bite is one that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Even the strongest of men and women can’t live from these bites without treatment. In all of recorded history, no one has lived after a Taipan bite without antivenin.
Antivenin may help a person live, but expect a lengthy stay in the hospital afterwards.
These deadly snakes have venom that:
- Clot their victim’s blood
- Cause neurotoxicity
Clotting occurs in the blood, causing blockages to the veins and arteries. It’s a painful and unpleasant death.
And most people die within just one hour of a bite.
If you don’t seek medical attention, you will die. There are three types of coastal taipan, and they’re all deadly and very fast. These snakes have no issues eating small mammals, bandicoots and rats. Yet, the coastal taipan is less deadly than the inland taipan, which was first on our list.
Kevin Budden is the first person to capture a taipan, but he died from a bite the next day.
We owe a lot to Budden because his captured snake is the first in known record and was used to make an antivenom in 1955.
5. Black Mamba
The Black Mamba isn’t the largest venomous snake, but in terms of speed, it’s on top of the list of the top 10 most venomous snakes in the world. If you think you can outrun this snake, think again – it can reach speeds of 20 km per hour.
This is the fastest land snake on the planet.
Found primarily in Africa, this snake is so fierce because it can strike 12 times in a row, injecting up to 400mg or venom. The venom of this deadly snake can kill 10 – 25 adults with a single bite. Talk about an unlucky fate for anyone bitten by a black mamba.
Venom that’s allowed to reach a person’s veins will kill 50% of victims.
Every bite is different, but you need to seek medical attention immediately. Even if a doctor across town can help, you may not live because death can occur in as little as 15 minutes or as long (short, really) as 3 hours.
The symptoms that accompany this extremely potent venom are:
- Tunnel vision
- Double vision
- Foaming of the mouth or nose
- Loss of muscle control
And these are just the start of the symptoms. A person may start to go into convulsions, fall into a coma and wind up with respiratory failure prior to death. Paralysis, severe stomach pain and shock will also occur.
If you’re unlucky enough to get up close and personal with the Black Mamba, you’ll notice that it has a black mouth.
6. Tiger Snake
The tiger snake is one of the most unique snakes on our list. A sign that you’re dealing with this Australian snake is their appearance: yellow and black bands. The end of their tail is black in color, and their head is fatter than most other snakes.
Potent neurotoxin venom can kill a person in as little as 30 minutes.
But there is good news: death usually takes 6 – 24 hours after the bite. You’ll be relieved to know that antivenin has greatly increased the odds of survival. Prior to the creation of antivenin, you would only have a 30% – 40% chance of living.
Oh yeah, and you would suffer a lot even if you did live.
This snake’s bite will cause:
- Localized pain in the neck and foot
- Difficulty breathing
If you think you’ll have nightmares about this snake, you’ll be glad to know that the tiger snake will normally flee if you encounter them. While every living thing’s behavior is sporadic, the tiger snake often only strikes if it’s corned.
7. Philippine Cobra
Cobra snakes have a unique head that looks majestic and may remind us of ancient Egypt. While cobra snakes look deadly, most are not. But if you come across the Philippine Cobra, you need to turn and run. You may want to run in a zig zag pattern because these snakes carry venom in their spit.
While most snakes need to bite to release their venom into a victim, the Philippine Cobra needs to only spit to hit its victim.
And with a range of 3 meters, they have a long distance range. It gets worse.
If you’ve been “hit” or bitten by one of these snakes, you have a high chance of death unless you seek medical attention within the next 30 minutes. The potent venom of this deadly snake can cause:
- Respiratory paralysis
- Death in 30 minutes
- Neurotoxicity of the heart
- Abdominal pain
Making matters worse, the neurotoxins in this cobra will cause nerve signal interruption in the body.
It’s nothing less than horrifying.
Vipers are found in most parts of the world, but they’re most common in Central Asia, India and the Middle East. Nocturnal by nature, these snakes are outside after a rain storm when they’re most active. An extremely agile snake, the viper will strike quickly, and their venom starts with pain.
Swelling will follow and bleeding is another common symptom.
A person may notice that their gums begin to bleed, and the person’s heart rate will be sporadic, with a quick drop in blood pressure. Blistering at the site of the bite is possible, too. It’s important to see snake bite specialists if you believe you’ve been bitten by a viper.
The bite of a viper can cause:
- Necrosis of the muscle near the bite
- Facial swelling
- 2 – 4 weeks of severe pain
- Discoloration at the site of the bite
- Cardiac failure 1 – 14 days after the bite
There are over 200 different types of vipers, and this family of snakes can include adders, pit vipers, copperheads, rattlesnakes and some of the most venomous snakes on the planet.
9. Death Adder
Australia and New Guinea are home to the deadly death adder. These fierce killers don’t feed off of the normal rodents and small animals like most other snakes: they often feed on other snakes. Even some of the deadly snakes on our list are on the “kill list” of the death adder.
Even the reflexes of Bruce Lee are no match for this snake.
A death adder can go from a neutral position to a strike and back in a mere 0.13 seconds. Untreated human cases of a death adder bite have a 50% fatality rate. But there is good news: antivenin is extremely successful at treating one of these deadly bites.
If you believe you’ve been bitten by one of these snakes, you need to seek medical attention now.
What many people don’t know is that these snakes have a neurotoxin and are one of the world’s top 10 most venomous snakes. The reason that this snake comes lower on our list is that symptoms often don’t present for 24 – 48 hours, so a person may not realize the severity of their run in with the death adder.
Yet, some unfortunate people will die within 6 hours.
The toxin of these snakes is so potent that it can cause paralysis and respiratory failure.
Each bite injects 40 – 100mg of venom into a person.
These snakes are similar to cobras, although not part of the same genius. There are seven subspecies of these adders, and their name actually comes from their resemblance to the deadly viper snake.
Rattlesnakes are fierce. If you’re from the Americas, you’ll be happy to know that this is the only snake in the Americas to make our list. Deadly and easily identifiable, the telltale sign that you’ve come across a rattlesnake is their rattle.
The rattle comes from the “button,” which is gained every time the snake gains a button.
Keratin makes up these rattling buttons, and it’s the same material that your fingernails are made of – yuck. Each segment of buttons will rattle against each other, making noise. If you hear the noise of a rattlesnake, run.
I know, it’s not always that easy.
Younger rattlesnakes may have only shed once. And if there is only one button, there is nothing to knock against, making the younger snakes very stealthy. Even animals in the wild have evolved to know the sound of a rattlesnake and run the other way.
They’re super deadly.
A female rattlesnake will lay 8 – 10 eggs at once, and the babies are often more aggressive than their adult counterparts.