Things You Should Never Google: Snake Bites

Venomous snakes are some of the most deadly creatures on the planet, and a quick Google image search for snake bites will show you just how unpleasant their venom can be. Swelling, necrosis, and death are all common symptoms when you're dealing with the world's most venomous snakes. 

But which snake bites are the most awful? This is the question you should be asking yourself right before you hit that search button. Who knows, maybe you're brave and morbid enough to handle the search results. Snake bite images are gruesome, but the facts behind them can be even more terrifying.

  • Saw-Scaled Vipers Will Cause A Person's Body To Hemorrhage

    Saw-Scaled Vipers Will Cause A Person's Body To Hemorrhage
    Photo: Saleem Hameed / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

    Found in an extensive range between Senegal and Bengal, saw-scaled vipers are extremely aggressive, highly inconspicuous, and are directly responsible for the most human snake bites every year. Their bites always result in swelling and is sometimes accompanied by boils and tissue rot around the affected area. The saw-scaled viper's venom affects blood coagulation and often causes hemorrhaging. 

  • The Indian Cobra Will Shut Down The Body's Muscles, Including The Heart

    The Indian cobra is one of the deadliest snakes in South Asia. They have a powerful venom that is fatal to humans, and it works by inflicting paralysis throughout the victim's body. Slowly, all of the person's muscles relax and stop working. Without antivenom, there's a good chance the victim's heart will stop and they will go into cardiac arrest. 

    More incredibly, however - and possibly more or at least as problematic as the effects of the venom - is the fact that they produce and distribute far more venom than they would need to finish off their regular prey. Studies have shown that average Indian cobras administer between 170 to 250 mg of venom per bite, but it's possible to for a single bite have as much as 610 mg. To put that into perspective, the average mouse will perish by only .50 mg of Indian cobra venom. 

  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Venom Kills Blood Cells

    Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Venom Kills Blood Cells
    Photo: FinneJager / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0

    One of the most deadly snakes in the United States, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake is not to be trifled with. Bites are reportedly incredibly painful and can be fatal without antivenom. The diamondback's fangs are filled with a type of venom known as a hemotoxin, which kills red blood cells and can cause healthy tissue to rot. Luckily, antivenom is readily available throughout its range.

  • Common Krait Bites Are Difficult To See But The Affects On The Body Are Obvious

    Found throughout India and Sri Lanka the common krait is one of the world's most venomous land snakes and can often be found in people's home. Though they are relatively docile during the day and often reluctant to bite, they are incredibly dangerous when agitated. When the common krait bites, it will momentarily hold onto its victim, allowing it to distribute a considerable amount of venom. There bites are reportedly painless  and there have been cases, however, of kraits biting people in their sleep who as a result never wake up.

    Krait bites are often unseen having only left behind to small fang punctures. The venom doesn't often cause inflammation, but it is known to cause many problems with the body's autonomic functions resulting in muscular hypertension, a rapid heart beat, a pupil dilation. There have been cases where those bitten will go into a coma.

  • Fer-De-Lance Venom Will Rot Flesh

    The fer-de-lance is a species of pit viper with a reputation for being wildly aggressive and highly venomous. In Costa Rica alone, they are responsible for nearly 50 percent of venomous snake bites. The venom contains an anti-coagulant that causes hemorrhaging and affected body tissue to turn black. 

    Steve Rankin, a producer on Bear Gryll's Man vs. Wild and Discovery's Naked and Afraid, was bitten by one while scouting a location in Costa Rica. Despite being administered antivenom and antibiotics, the flesh in his foot “started to rot” five days later. Rankin required surgery to remove chunks of his foot and skin grafts.

  • The Common Death Adder Ambushes With A Paralyzing Bite

    The Common Death Adder Ambushes With A Paralyzing Bite
    Photo: John Wombey, CSIRO / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0

    Among many other venomous snakes in Australia is the common death adder, but unlike its counterparts who actively hunt and forage, the death adder waits unseen before ambushing its prey with a quick and extremely venomous bite. Before the development of antivemon in the 1950s, it was estimated over half of those who were bitten by this breed of snake died. 

    With fangs larger than any other Australian snake and the ability to deliver anywhere between 42.4 mg and a whopping 235.6 mg of venom, common death adders are perhaps the most deadly snake in Australia, but regularly deliver dry bites, which act more as a warning and do not administer any venom. When they inject their venom, however, it is extremely potent. The venom consists primarily of a neurotoxin that causes its victim's voluntary muscle system to shut down and eventually respiratory failure. Some other symptoms of a death adder bites include muscle paralysis and enlargement of regional lymph nodes.