What Is The Most Poisonous Snake In The World?

Last Updated: 22.09.19

 

It’s always a good idea to find out more about pests that can potentially damage your garden. On the other hand, the best snake repellents will do you little good if you don’t pay attention to what kind of snake you’re dealing with so you know how to act.

Since not everybody can be an expert, we made a guide about the most poisonous snake species just so you know what you should stay clear of!

 

Defining Poisonous

When discussing a list of the world’s most venomous snakes, most people will simply regard it as one single criterion and start the conversation from there. If you’re making a countdown, this can severely impact the quality of your choices since, for example, the world’s deadliest snake is not the same as the world’s most venomous snake.

It’s also worth noting that of the more than 600 species of snakes found in the world today, only about 200 are poisonous enough to do any real damage to humans. While that seems like a lot, the sheer size of the world means that the possibilities of you ever encountering one are pretty low.

Also, keep in mind that not all venomous snakes are set on biting humans and most of them would actually prefer to be left alone. With the exception of the Eastern Brown Snake, which can be very aggressive and is known to chase humans out of its territory, the snake population is generally pretty peaceful.

As we said, “poisonous” can have very different connotations than “deadliest” or “most dangerous”. If we take into account the multiple times it can bite during a single attack as well as the sheer aggressiveness and its proximity to cities, the Eastern Brown Snake can be considered the most dangerous snake in the world.

 

 

Dangerous Snakes Out There

Considering how adaptable these reptiles are, there is a snake to be found in every type of environment and terrain. Be it in the water, on land, in humid places or dry places, they can be encountered everywhere.

Belcher’s Sea snake is an extremely poisonous species of elapid sea snake. The ironic part about this is that it has a very shy behavior and would have to be subjected to severe torment before it bites. Even then, the quantity of venom it injects is not very high, so most fishermen and women wrongly regard the Belcher’s Sea snake as not being dangerous.

Drop for drop, it is one of the most venomous snakes in the world and was also wrongly popularized as the most venomous due to Ernst and Zug’s book “Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book”. Since then, many scientists pointed out that the two authors wrongly combined the toxicity tests, regardless of the method of testing, thus resulting in erroneous results.

Since the snake’s venom can be introduced in four ways – subcutaneous, intramuscular, intravenous, and intraperitoneal – comparing results between them will not offer accurate measurements. Since then, properly conducted studies have shown that drop by drop, the Inland Taipan is the most toxic snake, by land or sea.

With a bite that can kill as many as 100 people, we are lucky that this type of snake usually avoids all kind of human contact, making you extremely unlucky should you ever encounter one. Its excellent sense of smell and eyesight are used for localizing the prey, which once bitten will be awarded a swift death.

 

Snakes Closer To Home

If you ask a person to name a poisonous snake, the Rattlesnake will always be among the top choices. They can be found throughout the Americas and they are, at their roots, a type of viper. It’s common knowledge that their name comes from the rattle with which their tail is decorated and which creates a distinctive noise.

Eastern Diamondbacks are the largest and most poisonous rattlesnakes, with the potential to reach up to 8 feet in length and a 4 to 10 pounds weight. Nowadays, antivenom treatments led to a rate of about 4% rattlesnake bites actually proving to be fatalities, but treatment should be administered immediately as any bite from them has the potential to kill.

When it comes to Asia, the snake known as “Russell’s viper” is responsible for thousands of annual deaths there. Its bite causes an array of debilitating symptoms from nausea to swelling and even kidney failure.

 

It’s Always About The Quantity

Another thing we have to keep in mind is that there are snake species out there which have a very potent venom but since their bite does not inject very much, they are not considered to be extremely dangerous. One example of this is the Dubois’s Sea snake, which has one of the deadliest venoms in the world but only injects one-tenth of a milligram, not enough for a kill.

At the other end of the scale, we have the Saw-Scaled viper, which can be found in parts of India and the Middle East. While it does not possess the strongest venom in the world, the fact that it lives in such populated places and very close to humankind makes it responsible for more human deaths than any other snake.

For this reason, if we take the toxicity of the venom out of the equation, we can say that the saw-scaled viper is the deadliest snake in the world, even if not the most poisonous. Another difference here is the time, as a bite from this viper can take two to four weeks to register in your system, perhaps even fooling a victim enough not to seek treatment.

 

 

What’s The Chance Of Meeting Them?

As we said, snakes are usually more than happy to avoid contact and are generally content to not make acquaintance with any human. Since there are exceptions to this – we’re looking at you, Eastern Brown snake – we can’t promise you that you won’t meet any snakes, ever.

Some are relatively easy to avoid, like the rare Blue Krait, which is 16 times more deadly than a cobra but usually only comes out at night. The Eastern Brown, on the other hand, has no problem mingling with humans and you might want to remember that we also protect this species, so killing or capturing one is prohibited by law.

An honorable mention here goes to the Philippine Cobra, which you will only meet if you go to, well, The Philippines. One of the only cobras to make this list, it is special because it does not even have to bite you to poison you. This species can actually spit its venom for up to 3 meters away and it will still hit you. Don’t upset the cobra!

 

So, Which One Is it?

As you can see, it depends on how you choose to interpret this question. If you’re thinking about venom toxicity, then that would be the Inland Taipan. In regards to which one is more prone to actually inject the venom, that would be the Eastern Brown snake. However, kill-for-kill, the saw-scaled viper is responsible for the most human deaths, so it definitely deserves a seat at the table.

 

 

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