Top 10 Deadliest snakes

The worlds most venomous snakes

Below you will find what are thought to be the 10 most venomous snakes in the world.  A big thanks to Steven Flynn for this article.

Inland Taipan

Inland Taipan, number 2 in our list, image by kleinmatt66

 

So what does it take for a snake to make it on the top ten deadliest snakes in the World? 

To decide whether or not a snake will make it onto our list, we will be using a tried and tested scale known as Lethal Dose 50 or “LD50”. Whilst these days LD50 tests are often frowned upon, they are a very reliable way of testing for toxicity. The process of testing for the LD50 involves injecting hosts (often a mammal such as a mouse as it makes the data more applicable to people) with the venom until you reach the dose where 50% of subjects die as a result of the venom.

The Lower the LD50 rating the stronger the venom, so therefore the higher a snake will rank on the list.  This is list is judged and ranked based on a scientific method that measures the intensity of individual species venom rather than anecdotal evidence and the recorded number of world wide fatalities etc. LD50 is the most reliable way of looking at venom toxicity, however it is important to remember that there are many other confounding variables which affect how “deadly” a species is. Such variables include how much venom is injected (ie some species which are on paper less potent are able to inject large amounts of venom which actually results in their bites being very toxic). Another key factor in how many fatalities a species causes which is largely linked to how often they come in to contact with humans. More human interactions intuitively tend to result in more fatalities.

As such, this guide should be taken with a pinch of salt, what we are looking at here is purely venom toxicity of snakes, we have chosen to ignore other factors due to the fact they can make working out which snake is more deadly than another. LD50 is a very simple measure which offers great insight.

So, without further ado...

10. Death Adder

Coming in at number 10 is the Death Adder commonly found in Australia and New Guinea. These snakes are often confused with vipers because of the vast similarity in appearance to untrained eyes. Death commonly occurs due to respiratory failure.
What happens when a Death Adder bites?

>muscle paralysis
>Dyspnoea
>Respiratory failure
> Possible death within 6 hours

LD50: 0,4 mg/kg

Death Adder

Death Adder, image by Figaro

9. Black Mamba

The Black Mamba is commonly found in Africa. Averaging around 2.5 metres in length it is an incredibly long snake.  It is extremely hostile in nature and fast moving (one of the fastest snakes on Earth). The amount of deaths caused by the Black Mamba is shocking; it comes second only to The Cobra when it comes to Annual deaths caused by snakes.

What happens when a Black Mamba bites?

>Severe Pain
>Dizziness
>Fever
>Respiratory failure
>Cardiac arrest
>Possible death in under an hour

 

LD50:  0,32mg/kg

Black Mamba

Black Mamba, image by kibuyu

 

8. Saw Scaled Viper

You will find the Saw Scaled Viper in its natural habitat in India and Middle East Asia. A little snake with a big reputation and even bigger bite.

What happens when a Saw Scaled Viper bites?

>Internal bleeding (including bleeding in the brain)
>Possible death within 6-24 hours

LD50: 0,24mg/kg

Saw Scaled Viper

Sindh Saw-Scaled Viper, image by Todd W Pierson

 

7. Malayan Blue Krait

The Malayan Blue Krait lives in Southeast Asia. This snake is known to be more laid back and non-threatening so to speak during the daytime and more threatening and likely to attack during the night.

What happens when a Malayan Blue Krait bites?

>Quick muscle cramp, spasm and paralysis
>Possible death within 6-12 hours

LD50: 0,18

 

6. Coral Snake

The Coral Snake distinguishable by its black, red, white and yellow bands is situated in North America. Despite bite cases being fairly uncommon The Coral Snake is very venomous

What happens when a Coral Snake bites?


>excruciating pain
>slurred speech
>swelling
>muscle paralysis
>respiratory failure
>cardiac arrest
>possible death within 8-24 hours

LD50: 0,12mg/kg

Coral snake

Coral Snake, image by Beaver w/ a Toothbrush

5. Tiger Snake

The Tiger snake can be found in Australia, commonly situated in the southern areas. Although not habitually aggressive Tiger snakes have very concentrated potentially lethal venom, their likely to try and escape from a possible threat but beware, push a Tiger Snake too far and it might just come to back to bite you, literally!
What happens when a Tiger Snake bites?

>Internal and external bleeding
>Muscle Paralysis
>Possible death within 30 minutes

 

LD50: 0,06 mg/kg

Death Adder

Tiger snake, image by JAW

4. Eastern Brown Snake


The Eastern Brown Snake can be found in Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. Not only is it one of the most venomous land snakes in the world, it also has a temper to match. It’s feared by many, and you could argue rightfully so, as most deaths caused by snake bites in Australia are the result of the Notorious Eastern Brown.
What happens when an Eastern Brown Snake Bites?
>Excessive bleeding
>Renal failure
>Muscle paralysis
>Possible death within 15 minutes

LD50: 0,03 mg/kg

Eastern Brown Snake

Eastern Brown Snake, image by Peter Woodard

 

3. Beaked Sea Snake

The Beaked Sea Snake can be found in New Guinea, Middle East, Australia, Madagascar and South Asia. It has fiercely potent venom; the venom from its bite is thought to be so deadly it can cause the death of up to 50 humans.  This being said the Beaked Sea Snake has a very timid and withdrawn nature.

What happens when a Beaked Sea Snake bites?
>Respiratory failure
>Muscle paralysis
>Possible death in less than one hour

LD50: 0,03mg/kg

2. Inland Taipan

This is where it gets interesting; you will find the Inland Taipan in the home of many deadly snakes Australia. The Inland Taipan is the most venomous land snake on Earth. Its bite has the potential to cause of the death of up to 100 people, double that of the Beaked Sea Snake! This being said the Inland Taipan is strangely withdrawn in nature similar to the Beaked Sea Snake.

What happens when an Inland Taipan Snake bites?

>Cardiac arrest
>Respiratory failure
>Muscle parylisis
>potential death in less than one hour

LD50: 0,02 mg/kg

Inland Taipan

Inland Taipan, image by kleinmatt66

 

Deadliest snake in the world


1. The Belcher Sea Snake

Now we come to number one on our list the Belcher Sea Snake, the most venomous snake on the entire planet. Okay, so you remember the Inland Taipan? This is one hundred times more venomous, a bite from this snake is thought to have the potential killing power to end the lives of 1000 thousand people. It is mainly fishermen who get bitten by the Belcher Sea Snake.


LD50: 0,0001 mg/kg

Belcher Sea Snake

Death Adder, image by Andreas Viklund

 

So that concludes our list of the top 10 most venomous snakes. But remember snakes never strike humans for no reason; even the most aggressive of snakes is simply being defensive and is in fear of its life. Most bites whilst completely unintentional, are the result of human fault; generally people invading the habitat of these species.


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