The Scariest Types of Snakes in the World

Voting Rules
Vote up the most terrifying species of snake you hope to never encounter in the wild.

One of the most common fears people have is a healthy fear of snakes. We say "healthy" due to the fact that there are some species of snakes dangerous to humans, which require a certain amount of fear should you happen to have one slither across your path. Snake attacks aren't necessarily a common occurrence in most urban areas, but when one of the most dangerous snakes found on this list does strike, it can cause severe damage.

You may not realize it, but there are thousands of species of snakes and the scariest kinds could be lurking in your backyard right now—especially if you happen to be reading this in Australia, India, or pretty much anywhere. A good rule of thumb when dealing with the types of snakes to follow—which are any you don't know very well—is to avoid them.

It's healthy to be afraid of snakes simply due to the fact that many species can be deadly. Some are ugly while others have beautiful scale patterns, but all of them are predators. In most cases, they aren't eating people, but that doesn't mean they won't take a stab at you if you get too close. Snakes that attack humans can end up killing someone and, while most of them take care of our rodent problem, the worst types of snakes found on this list are those you should definitely be afraid of.

Photo: William Warby / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.0

  • Black Mamba
    Photo: Wikipedia
    262 VOTES

    Size: 6.6' to 9.8' (2 to 3 meters), though some specimens have been found to grow to nearly 15' (4.5 meters).

    Location: Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Distinguishing Features: The Black Mamba is the longest species of venomous snake in sub-Saharan Africa. They are not black as the name suggests, but rather grey to dark brown.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Their venom is extremely toxic and can result in death in less than five minutes—making their bites almost always lethal. They are the most feared snakes in all of Africa and given that they dwell in trees, they have been known to drop down on unsuspecting victims and kill with a single strike. Their bite is known across the continent as the "Kiss of death".

    262 votes
  • 2
    270 VOTES

    Inland Taipan

    Size: 5.9' to 8.2' long (1.8 to 2.5 meters).

    Location: Arid, central locations in Australia.

    Distinguishing Features: Most are dark tan in color, but some individuals have been found that are a light-green, which may be due to seasonal changes. It has a round snouted head and has relatively short fangs (3.5 to 6.2 mm long).

    Why You Should Be Scared: When it comes to snake venom lethality, look no further than the Inland Taipan. These snakes are the most venomous in the world. It has the most toxic venom of all reptiles and a single bite's worth of venom can kill up to 100 adult humans. An untreated bite will likely kill someone within as little as 30-45 minutes, so immediate treatment is a must. 

    270 votes
  • 3
    193 VOTES

    Eastern Brown Snake

    Size: 4.9' to 7.9' (1.5 to 2.4 meters).

    Location: Eastern and central Australia and Southern New Guinea.

    Distinguishing Features: Most individuals are brown in color with a cream-yellow underside. Some have been found to be almost jet-black in color.

    Why You Should Be Scared: The Eastern Brown Snake is considered the second-most venomous snake in the world. In Australia, where snake bites aren't too uncommon, its bite accounts for 60% of all snake-bite fatalities.

    193 votes
  • 4
    201 VOTES

    Size: 10.4' to 13.1' long (3.18 to 4 meters).

    Location: Primarily India and Southeast Asia.

    Distinguishing Features: King Cobras have a distinctive hood surrounding their heads, making them look significantly wider than they actually are. Their bodies are typically dark olive or brown in color with black and white crossbands.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Their venom consists of neurotoxins, which can be fatal for humans. The venom targets a victim's central nervous system and typically results in a fatality rate of around 50-60%, making it the deadliest of all the cobras.

    201 votes
  • 5
    176 VOTES

    Saw-Scaled Viper

    Size: Relatively small. Adults range from 1' to 3' (0.3 to 0.9 meters).

    Location: Dry regions and savannas north of the Equator. They can be found throughout Africa, the Middle East, and southwest Asia to India and Sri Lanka.

    Distinguishing Features: They have a pear-shaped head, vertically elliptical pupils, rough scales, and a short, thin tail.

    Why You Should Be Scared: They may look small and innocuous, but their bites make them one of the deadliest snakes in the world. Saw-Scaled Vipers live in densely populated areas, which place them in close proximity to people. Their mortality rate is around 20%, meaning one in five people die from their bites.

    176 votes
  • 6
    147 VOTES

    Size: 4' to 6' (1.2 to 1.8 meters).

    Location: Most of North and South America

    Distinguishing FeaturesTheir most notable feature is their distinctive rattle at the ends of their tales. When threatened or simply to let you know you are about to step on one, they shake it to create a rattling noise.

    Why You Should Be Scared: There are 36 known species of Rattlesnake and every one of them is dangerous. While their bites are rarely fatal due to treatment methods and anti-venom, they do cause severe injury to the site of the bite. Their venom is hematoxic, which causes tissue at the site of the bite to begin to rot due to a process called necrosis. This is the result of blood thickening and failing to properly oxygenate the tissue. Severe bites can result in the need for amputation of the limb where a bite occurred.

    147 votes