Snakes evoke a lot of diverse emotions from people, for some its fear and for others, excitement. It is rare to see anyone indifferent about snakes. It’s safe to say they are hated, adored, but never ignored.
Did you know that of about 2500 families of snakes in the world, only about 50 are deadly? So next time you see a snake, don’t be scared, you never know, it might just be harmless. Or it might be the deadliest snake on earth.
Venom is one of the major factors that are considered in deciding how deadly or dangerous a snake is. Here are some of the most venomous snakes in the world.
The inland taipan is famous for its fast-acting venom. Its body can be described as a color palette consisting of just dark hues of brown, grey and black. Widely regarded as the species with one of the most dangerous venoms on earth, the Inland Taipan is native to Australia. The inland taipan is different from most other species of snakes because unlike other snakes, it prefers to hunt mammals as a means of living. Its counterparts would rather stick to reptiles, rodents, and insects for their meals. Its most lethal bite can kill a human in half an hour, if untreated.
Even though the Inland Taipan has one of the deadliest venoms, it rarely strikes or bites. Its general predisposition can be described as “shy” or withdrawn. It only strikes when it senses danger, feels provoked or is trying to get out of danger. There are not a lot of stories of Inland Taipan attacks on humans because the mostly live far from human settlements. Most reports of attacks come from people who handle them directly.
Eastern Brown Snake
Also referred to as the common brown snake, the Eastern brown snake is one of the notorious species in Australia and New Guinea. With an average length of 7 ft, this species is reported to have caused over half of the deaths by snake bite in Australia. The reason for this is not farfetched; they are usually up and about in the day, increasing the likelihood of human contact.
That being said, the Eastern brown snake is more likely to withdraw when it notices any sort of disturbance. It only attacks during a confrontation, or when it feels cornered. The trouble here is this: The Eastern brown snake, on some occasions, only notices human presence when the person is quite close, which startles them and most likely leads to an attack. If the environment is cloudy, or the person is walking slowly, this species will not notice until the person is very close. The only occasions when the Eastern brown snake notices a person from afar is when they are covered in dark clothes or walking briskly.
This snake has an interesting attack pose. It can practically raise the front half of its body to a vertical shape and launch the attack at its victim’s thigh. The Eastern brown snakes have been found to be most aggressive in their mating seasons; especially the males. It takes them about two and a half years to reach maturity, and they have an average lifespan of about 15 years.
The saw-scaled vipers, also known as the carpet vipers are venomous snakes that are very common in regions of North Africa, the Middle East and parts of India. Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of this species is the manner with which they send a warning signal prior to their attack.
The make a sound that closely resembles hissing, but a little more intense. They do this by arranging their body such that they can rub different parts against each other. The sound produced sounds a lot like trickling water on a dry, hot surface. This is the position they strike from. This species is responsible for most snakebite deaths in the world.
The coastal taipan is most commonly found in Australia and New Guinea. It is usually ranked among the top five snake species with the deadliest venoms. They are mostly up and about very early and become very passive afternoon. However, in very hot environmental conditions, they can be quite active at night.
Rather than rely on ground vibrations for or a sense of smell, the Coastal Taipan hunts with its sharp eyesight. When moving and looking for prey, it glides on the ground with its head slightly raised. When the prey is spotted, the Taipan launches itself forward to deliver numerous bites on the victim’s body. The prey typically does not go very far before it collapses. Like other snakes with deadly venom, the Coastal Taipan avoids danger but will attack when confronted in close quarters.
In 1949, an Aborigine survived a Coastal Taipan attack. The blood samples that were taken from him were reportedly pitch black.
Coral snakes are common to the US and other parts of North America. The term “common” is used loosely here because the population of coral snakes in the whole of US per time is less than 30. However, the region is considered the natural home of this species. The Coral Snake’s menu mostly limited to smaller reptiles, birds, and rodents.
More often than not, they run away from perceived danger rather than attack. Incidents of coral snake attacks are very rarely reported. This is partly due to the fact that their natural habitats are generally far from human settlements. They prefer to live beneath the ground, or under the leaves on the forest floor. Some coral snakes are aquatic too, favoring almost-still waters that have lots of plant growth. These particular species seem to lack some of the generally accepted features of venomous snakes worldwide.
Coral snakes are known to poison their victims with short fangs. In fact, the fangs are so short that they cannot effectively penetrate leather clothing. Unlike some other snake species, the coral snake does not give several rapid bites, rather, it bites once and holds on to the victim with its jaws so that the venom can sink in properly. A coral snake’s venom is slow acting, but very lethal—it can rupture the victim’s respiratory system. Also, the fangs have a permanent position in front of the snake’s mouth. They are not retractable.
With an average lifespan of 6-7 years, the coral snake is quite placid and withdrawn. It rarely attacks except when cornered; which explains why it is only responsible for only 10 snake bite incidents in every one thousand.
The name “boomslang” finds its origin from Afrikaans and Dutch. It literally means a tree snake. As that name implies, the boomslang feels most comfortable in trees; so much that some people categories it as an arboreal. It’s menu consists of things that can be found readily in trees: bird eggs, birds and reptiles found in the trees.
Boomslang’s venom has a characteristic way of working. When a boomslang bits its victim, it releases hemotoxins into their body system. This prevents the blood from clotting. Hence, there is continuous bleeding, internally and externally.
Because it takes a considerable amount of time for the venom ‘s effect to be felt, it is possible that if a person is bitten, they may think that the bite is not so serious and therefore fail to seek medical help. As a matter of fact, not all venomous snakes deliver their poison every time they bite. Sometimes, they merely bite without releasing any toxin into the bloodstream. It can be easy to group a boomslang bite with one of these.
It rarely attacks without provocation. In fact, most snakebite scenarios with the boomslang occur when people are trying to kill or capture it, or when it’s mishandled. When it is about to attack, the boomslang shapes itself like an ”S” and swells in the neck region.
Beaked Sea Snake
One of the most notorious sea snake families known, the Beaked Sea snake is reported as being responsible for more than half of sea snake bite incidents. The beaked sea snake is native to India and the areas along the sea in that region.
The beaked sea snake is not equipped to stay in the water for very long periods at a stretch, so it comes to the surface once in about 5 hours. Even though their venoms are deadly, the beaked sea snake is an aggressive species and can launch an attack unprovoked. They feed on fish mainly.
The Mojave rattlesnake, sometimes called the Mojave green is native to parts of US and Mexico. Its venom is widely regarded as the most dangerous of all rattlesnakes. Its menu consists mainly of small animals; rodents, small reptiles, and others. This rattlesnake species are active for half the year and go into a passive mode for the other half. Another interesting fact is that the Mojave green fives birth to its young one live; they don’t lay eggs.
Like all rattlesnakes, they make a rattle-like sound when agitated. This sound can be heard in a quiet environment. They also make this sound when they are about to launch an attack at a victim or defend themselves against a threat.
The venom is slow-acting, therefore initial symptoms may not show up fast. This makes it imperative to seek medical help immediately in the event of a snakebite.
However, deaths from Mojave bites are quite rare. Not that they don’t bite; only that the antivenoms are readily available when needed. Its venom attacks the skeletal muscles and can also affect eyesight.
Tiger snakes are native to Southern Australia. They are so called because of the color pattern on their bodies. There are different species of Tiger snakes, and they exhibit different characteristics. The attributes common to the whole family will be noted here.
The Tiger snake is a bit notorious in Australia, being responsible for roughly 15% of snakebites in Australia.
The venom secreted by Tiger snakes in untreated cases causes respiratory difficulties and paralysis, while initial effects of the bite include feet and neck pain and some feeling of numbness. If a Tiger snakebite is left untreated, the victim’s chances of survival are about 40%.
This a well-known species all over Africa as it is seen to be one of the largest around the African region. There is a slight distinction between the head and the neck. The neck has ribs that are able to expand. The snout of the Egyptian cobra is moderately
One of the biggest cobra families in Africa, the Egyptian cobra is notable for its long tail and stout body. There are different lengths depending on the species, but the general total length ranges from 3.5 ft to 9.8 ft; that’s the whole body length, including the tail. The Egyptian Cobra has a flat head, very distinguishable from the neck. The neck is quite wide, having the ability to expand to form a hood, with the help of the cobra’s cervical ribs. Another notable feature of the Egyptian Cobra is its round snout, with a broad shape and its round eyes. It is native to parts of North Africa.
IT IS A NOCTURNAL REPTILE
Though the Egyptian Cobra at times may fancy being in the sun, it is largely a nocturnal reptile. It prefers to live in habitats created by other animals, such as holes and mounds. At times, it ventures into human habitats. It typically feeds on birds, smaller reptiles and small mammals. As is common with most cobra species, the Egyptian cobra seeks to avoid trouble or confrontation. It normally moves away from disturbing situations, at least for some distance. If it feels cornered or repeatedly threatened, it then turns around to strike. Hen attacking, the cobra firsCobrases its head and expends it hood with the help of its long cervical ribs, the launches to inflict damage on its victim.
The Egyptian cobra is not a spitting cobra, like most others. They rely on biting to transmit their venom and inflict damage to their victims. The venom causes a wide range of symptoms. In mild cases the symptoms may be limited to dizziness, abdominal pain, and headache; while in more serious cases, the victim n=may experience paralysis of the nervous system and respiratory failure.
Scientifically speaking, the King Cobra does not really belong to the cobra family. It’s basically in a class of its own. Native to parts of India and Southeast Asia, the King Cobra has been declared a vulnerable species. This is mainly due to the deforestation practices that pose real threats to the snake’s natural habitat. One of the chief distinctive characteristics of the King Cobra is its length. It is regarded as the longest of all venomous snakes in the world. The length of a fully developed king cobra is between 10 ft 19 ft. This specie has managed to maintain a royal-esque reputation among snakes. Highly feared, and sometimes revered. It is very dangerous, and will prefer not to confront humans when possible.
VERY SENSITIVE SNAKE
The King Cobra is a very sensitive snake, which makes it a very keen hunter. It is able to spot prey and track movement up to 100m away. The combination of some organs makes these possible. The king cobra has sharp eyesight. It also has a forked tongue, which acts as a sense of smell and can track the prey’s direction. The information got through this forked tongue is massive—the snake only needs to flick its tongue to know the precise direction of the prey. Lastly, its body is highly sensitive to ground vibrations. These factors combined to give a heightened sensitivity.
As is common in snakes, the king cobra’s jaws are very flexible. The lower jaws have the ability and freedom to move independent of the upper jaw. The lower jaw is made up of several individual bones, which makes it possible for the king cobra to open its mouth so wide. This makes it easy for it to swallow its prey; even those bigger than its head. The king cobra swallows its snake whole after transferring its venom.
King cobras are most active during the day. At night they withdraw to their abode. Reports of snakebites from king cobras are very few and far between. Most reports come from snake handlers. This species does not transfer venom in every single bit, but in the event of a snakebite, it is advised that you do not wait to find out whether or not you were envenomated. Seek medical help immediately. Untreated king cobra bites have about 60% fatality rates.
As far as length is concerned, the black mamba is right behind the king cobra. Sub-Saharan Africa is home for most of the world’s black mamba population. This species is said to get darker as it matures. Younger black mambas are usually brown or grey in color while the older ones are mostly pitch black. The length ranges from 10 ft to 15 ft.
Black mambas live on both the ground and the trees. In fact, they seem to like both equally. They are found across different kinds of vegetations and regions; from tropic forests to rocky areas to Sudan and Sahel savannahs. Speed in movement is another standout characteristic of the black mamba. It can move as fast as 10mph on flat surfaces, provided the distance is not long. Also, very few animals hunt black mambas for food. Their speed makes them a difficult target during a chase.
IT HAS THE ABILITY TO STRIKE SEVERAL TIMES
When a black mamba wants to attack, it hisses while opening its mouth and spreading its neck. It has the ability to bite several times within a few seconds, delivering considerable damage to the victim. It can also launch over a considerable distance, so it does not necessarily need to be so close to biting its victim. A black mamba attack, if untreated has a very high chance of eventually killing the victim, because its venom is fast-acting, with symptoms showing up in 15 minutes or less. The Black Mamba is deadly, but it does not attack humans arbitrarily, only if it feels there is a considerable danger.
When on the ground the black mamba moves with its head slightly raised. It prefers holes, mounds, and crevices in rock as habitat. It tends to bask in the sun for hours in afternoons, usually using the same location repeatedly.
It typically senses danger and feels threatened when the intruder is about 40m away. Normally, it would try to retreat or move away, but if its path is blocked, it will strike. When a mamba preps for an attack, it raises its head such almost half of its whole body length is above the ground. If an attack is launched from this position, it most likely will be targeted at the upper body of the victim, if it’s a human. This would make it a little difficult to prevent the venom from spreading.
ONLY ATTACK WHEN AGITATED
The black mamba Is usually portrayed as ever ready to attack and extremely aggressive, which is not true. It only attacks when agitated or cornered.
As you may have noticed, all the snakes listed are deadly, but their first instinct when they come in contact with humans is flight, not fight. This is to say that the snakes would prefer to move out of the way and avoid contact or disturbance. However, sometimes, humans inadvertently encroach on their space and knowingly or unknowingly pose a threat to them, leading to the snakes being agitated, then biting the human. We can say they snakes would prefer to reserve their venoms for food, but when they feel threatened, they’ll also use it to get out of difficult situations.
Point is, they’re mostly not trying to kill you, but if they think you’re trying to kill them, they’ll try to kill you. You will do well to generally avoid snakes when they are mating or in birthing season, they can be very irritable in those periods.