There are thousands of species of snakes all across the world, but there are far fewer venomous snakes than people think. The snakes that are dangerous to humans or even deadly may be rare, but the most venomous snakes in the world are nothing to shake a stick at... seriously, don't shake anything at a snake. The deadliest snakes in the world can be found pretty much anywhere, which is why it's important to be able to identify at least some of them.
This list includes the cream of the crop: those snakes considered to be the most poisonous or deadliest anywhere in the world. If you happen to see any of these outside an aquarium, back away slowly and leave it in peace. While they won't consume a person, they will definitely strike and kill one if they feel threatened.
The Inland Taipan is the most venomous terrestrial snake on the planet and is known as the "Fierce Snake" due to its aggressive nature. Drop for drop, it is the most toxic of all snakes with a venom deadlier than any sea snake, which makes it the deadliest snake in the world. As its name suggests, they are found in the semi arid region of Central, East Australia.
Fortunately, for all humanity, these snakes are reclusive and avoid humans whenever possible. They will only strike if mishandled or find themselves in a defensive position. Their temperament is fairly docile, but a bite will kill an adult human in as little as 30 minutes in 100% of cases. Treatment can save a person, but they often strike multiple times, delivering venom with each attack so most victims succumb to their attacks.
- Scientific Name: Oxyuranus microlepidotus
Eastern Brown Snake
The Eastern Brown Snake, sometimes called the Common Brown Snake, is the second-most venomous terrestrial snake in the world. They can be found throughout Eastern and Central Australia as well as Southern New Guinea. They are fairly long and can grow up to 7 feet (2 meters) in length, which increases their strike range considerably compared to smaller venomous snakes.
The venom from these snakes is incredibly toxic, but it rarely delivers enough venom to kill an adult when it strikes. Although it prefers to save its venom for use in acquiring prey animals, it can deliver a fatal dose to a human if it feels threatened. In most cases, mortality rates are between 10 and 20% for untreated victims, which is a relatively low number given the lethality of its venom.
- Scientific Name: Pseudonaja textilis
- Photo: Aloaiza / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
Yellow Bellied Sea Snake
Unlike the old-timey insult for a coward, the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake is far from benign. These snakes endemic to the Atlantic Ocean possess some of the most toxic venom of all sea snakes. They range across the entirety of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and are commonly found on the coasts of North America, South America, Australia, Asia, and Africa.
The Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake has no known predators making it an apex predator in its vast ecosystem. Fortunately, they are considered relatively docile as far as sea snakes go, which is a good thing given the potent nerve toxin they pack in their bites. Often, a bite on a human will result in no transmission of venom, but when they do deliver some, it will result in death without the quick application of antivenom.
- Scientific Name: Hydrophis platurus
The Coastal Taipan calls the northern coast of Australia its home. It is the third-most venomous land snake in the world and is considerably dangerous for anyone who falls victim to one of its bites. Fortunately, they are not confrontational with humans and will avoid them in most cases. They will only strike if they feel threatened or cornered, but when they do strike, their venom is highly lethal.
A bite from one of these snakes will cause internal bleeding, destruction of muscle tissue, kidney damage, and death within 30 minutes in an adult human. Some victims have lingered on for two to three hours, but death will occur in 100% of cases if left untreated.
- Scientific Name: Oxyuranus scutellatus