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The 25 Deadliest Snakes in the World Ranked

Larry Slawson received his Master's Degree from UNC Charlotte. He has a keen interest in reptiles, insects, and arachnids.

The World's Deadliest Snakes

The World's Deadliest Snakes

What Are the World's Most Dangerous Snakes?

Throughout the world, there exist a number of highly-venomous snakes capable of inflicting serious harm (or death) to human beings. From the eastern diamondback rattlesnake to the infamous black mamba, this article examines the 25 deadliest and most dangerous snakes in the world, ranking each specimen according to their potential for inflicting fatal bites.

Selection Criteria

In order to rank the world’s deadliest snakes, a number of basic criteria were necessary to consider. First and foremost, each of the snakes discussed below is ranked according to the overall potency (and toxicity) of their venom in relation to humans. Overall aggression and the number of fatalities produced by these snakes (annually) are also considered. This element is crucial to consider, as some less-venomous snakes (such as the saw-scaled viper) are known to kill more individuals than their highly-venomous counterparts in other parts of the world. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the average amount of time between bite and death is considered with the assumption that no medical treatment or care was taken by an individual. This final criterion is vital for this work, as effective antivenoms exist to counteract most of the world’s snake bites.

While the selection process undertaken for this article leaves room for flaws, the author believes these criteria offer a practical means for ranking the world’s 25 deadliest snakes.

The Deadly Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Deadly Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

25. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

  • Average Size: 3.5 to 5.6 feet (1.1 to 1.7 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Southeastern United States
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is a species of highly venomous snake that is native to the eastern United States. Large and extremely aggressive, the eastern diamondback is widely classified as a terrestrial species as it spends most of its time on the ground hunting its prey. The snake can be easily identified by onlookers due to its large rattle, yellow, brown, and gray coloration, as well as its unique “diamond” pattern seen along its back.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The eastern diamondback possesses an extremely potent venom that is comprised of low-molecular peptides and enzymes known as crotalase. After biting their victims, the venom quickly goes to work resulting in excessive bleeding, muscle pain and weakness, as well as hypotension (a drop in blood pressure). As the venom progresses into the bloodstream, nausea and extreme vomiting are common, followed by severe abdominal cramps. Without treatment, fatality rates for the eastern diamondback’s venomous bite are estimated to be in the vicinity of 30-percent, with cardiac arrest being the primary cause of death within only a few hours.

Bites from an eastern diamondback are considered life-threatening and require immediate hospitalization. Standard treatment involves the use of antivenom alongside palliative care and intravenous fluids. And while this treatment is often successful, experts are quick to point out that long-term complications from an eastern diamondback bite are common among survivors with muscle pain and scarring being among the most cited complaints.

Pictured above is the deadly king cobra.

Pictured above is the deadly king cobra.

24. King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)

  • Average Size: 10.4 to 13.1 feet (3.18 to 4 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Southeast Asia
  • Conservation Status: “Vulnerable” (Population Threatened)

The king cobra is an incredibly deadly species of snake from the Elapidae family. Endemic to the forest regions of India and Southeast Asia, the king cobra is considered the world’s longest venomous snake with an overall length of 10.4 to 13.1 feet (at maturity). And while this species is generally classified as shy and timid, the king cobra can be extremely aggressive when provoked, unleashing painful bites and high venom yields. As with most cobra specimens, the snake can be easily identified by its large size, olive-green complexion, as well as black and white crossbands.

King Cobra Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The king cobra possesses an extremely toxic venom comprised of cytotoxins and neurotoxins. When combined, both of these toxins are known to attack both the central nervous system and heart. Following envenomation, symptoms usually begin suddenly and include vertigo, fatigue, blurred vision, slurred speech, and eventually paralysis of the extremities. As the venom progresses throughout the bloodstream, complete cardiovascular and respiratory collapse are common, leading to coma and eventually death.

Due to the snake’s high venom yield (approximately 420 milligrams per bite), death can occur in as early as 30 minutes. And while many bites are considered “dry” (resulting in no envenomation), it is estimated that nearly 28-percent of all bites are fatal for this species. As such, bites from a king cobra are considered medical emergencies and require immediate treatment to prevent death. Standard treatment involves hospital admittance, antivenom, as well as palliative care for approximately 2 weeks.

The Infamous Red-Bellied Black Snake

The Infamous Red-Bellied Black Snake

23. Red-Bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus)

  • Average Size: 4.1 feet (1.25 meters)
  • Geographical Range: East Coast of Australia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The red-bellied black snake is a deadly species endemic to Eastern Australia. Considered one of the most encountered snakes on the Australian continent, the red-bellied black snake is an incredibly dangerous species capable of inflicting serious harm (and death) on humans. Thankfully, the snake is not known to be aggressive and is known to avoid contact with humans whenever possible. As its name implies, the red-bellied black snake can be easily identified due to its ink-black body that contrasts sharply with a reddish-orange underbelly.

Red-Bellied Black Snake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The red-bellied black snake possesses an extremely powerful venom that is comprised of neurotoxins and myotoxins. Combined, these two toxins produce both a hemolytic and coagulant effect on their victims, resulting in extreme pain, swelling, necrosis of the wound-site, as well as uncontrollable bleeding. As the venom attacks the rest of the body, general symptoms include diarrhea, extreme vomiting, abdominal cramps, and hyperhidrosis (excess sweating).

Bites from the red-bellied black snake are considered life-threatening, and require immediate hospitalization to mitigate the venom’s effects. Nevertheless, fatalities are generally rare and can be easily treated with a dose of black snake-specific antivenom. Long-term complications from the red-bellied black snake’s bite, however, are common among victims, and include muscle pain, weakness, as well as anosmia (a permanent loss of smell).

The King Brown Snake

The King Brown Snake

22. King Brown (Pseudechis australis)

  • Average Size: 6.6 to 8.2 feet (2 to 2.5 meters)
  • Geographical Range: All regions of Australia with the exception of Tasmania and Victoria
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The king brown snake (sometimes referred to as the “Mulga Snake”) is a highly venomous species from the Elapidae family. Considered Australia’s longest venomous snake, the king brown is known to reach a maximum length of approximately 8.2 feet. They can be found throughout the continent with Victoria and Tasmania being exceptions to this rule. Apart from their tremendous size, the king brown can be easily identified by its blackish-brown coloration, reddish eyes, and head that is slightly wider than the rest of its body.

King Brown Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The king brown is an extremely aggressive animal with one of the highest venom yields in the realm of snakes. This venom is comprised of powerful myotoxins and hemotoxins that rapidly attack the muscular-skeletal system, blood, and internal organs of their victims. Following envenomation, some of the most common symptoms reported are abdominal cramps, muscle pain, weakness, and diarrhea. Vomiting is also common, along with hyperhidrosis, and severe swelling of the wound-site. As the venom progresses, severe clotting of the blood as well as kidney failure tend to result in death.

Bites from the king brown are considered life-threatening emergencies and require prompt medical treatment. If medical care is sought immediately, most individuals make full recoveries through the administering of black snake antivenom and tetanus shots (followed by intravenous fluids and pain mitigation therapy). Long-term complications are common, however, and include severe muscle damage and weakness. While most of these issues resolve within months, some may become permanent over time.

The Banded Krait

The Banded Krait

21. Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

  • Average Size: 5.9 feet (1.8 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Indochina, Malay Peninsula, and Indonesia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The deadly banded krait is a highly venomous species of snake from the Elapidae family. Endemic to both Southeast Asia and India, the banded krait is considered one of the largest krait specimens in the world, reaching a maximum of nearly 7-feet at maturity. While considered an extremely dangerous species, the snake is incredibly shy around humans and rarely bites (unless provoked or harassed). Apart from its large size, the banded krait can be easily identified by its triangular-shaped head, black eyes, yellow lips, and alternating crossbands that are yellow and black, respectively.

Banded Krait Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The banded krait possesses a venom that is comprised of powerful neurotoxins (including both presynaptic and postsynaptic toxins). Average venom yields are relatively low for this specimen, with an average dry weight of approximately 114 milligrams. In spite of this, bites are incredibly painful and often result in serious complications (including death). Upon envenomation, some of the most common bite symptoms include dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and excessive vomiting. As the snake’s neurotoxins spread further into its victim’s bloodstream, these symptoms are usually followed by complete respiratory failure, leading to suffocation within minutes.

Due to its remote location in the wild (as well as its shy behavior), bites from the banded krait are relatively rare. Moreover, it is believed that the banded krait is capable of controlling its overall venom output, resulting in smaller venom yields. As a result, fatality rates for this snake are in the vicinity of 10-percent for typical bites. In cases of severe envenomation, however, fatalities are believed to be much higher and require rapid medical treatment to counteract the snake’s venom. Polyvalent Antivenom continues to be the primary treatment pursued by doctors, along with palliative care, and in-patient services (toxinology.com).

The Papuan Black Snake

The Papuan Black Snake

20. Papuan Black Snake (Pseudechis papuanus)

  • Average Size: 3.9 to 5.57 feet (1.2 to 1.7 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Papua New Guinea and Indonesia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The Papuan black snake is a highly venomous species from the Elapidae family, and is endemic to both New Guinea and Indonesia. Considered the deadliest species of black snake in the world, the Papuan black snake is an incredibly dangerous animal capable of inflicting serious harm (and death) to its victims. As their name implies, they can be easily identified by their glossy-black body that is contrasted by a gunmetal grey along its underbelly. They are also quite long, with a maximum length of nearly 7-feet at maturity.

Papuan Black Snake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

Bites from the Papuan black snake are considered life-threatening due to the potent nature of its venom. In contrast to most black snake specimens, the Papuan black snake’s venom consists primarily of neurotoxins known to attack its victim’s central nervous system and lungs. Following envenomation, symptoms appear gradually over a span of 2 to 21 hours (leading many individuals to underestimate the severity of their bite). Once symptoms appear, however, muscle weakness and complete paralysis are common. This is particularly true for the victim’s respiratory system, as the Papuan Black Snake’s venom often delivers a paralyzing effect on the lungs (leading to death by suffocation).

Rapid medical treatment is necessary to prevent long-term complications (or death) from the Papuan black snake’s bite. CSL antivenom (designed specifically for black snake bites) is the standard medical treatment used by doctors in New Guinea, along with palliative care and intravenous fluids. Intubation is often necessary as well, as breathing becomes nearly impossible once the venom advances to the respiratory system. To date, fatality rates for Papuan black snake victims remain unknown due to its remote location and small number of bites recorded each year. In spite of this, fatalities are believed to be extremely high, especially for natives who are incapable of seeking medical treatment at a healthcare facility.

The Deadly Dugite

The Deadly Dugite

19. Dugite (Pseudonaja affinis)

  • Average Size: 4.92 feet (1.5 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Western Australia
  • Conservation Status: “Vulnerable” (Population Threatened)

The dugite is a species of highly-venomous snake from the Elapidae family. Found predominantly in Western Australia, the dugite is considered an incredibly dangerous snake with the ability to kill an adult human with a single bite. This species is easily recognized by its grey, green, or brown coloration that varies between seasons, along with their small heads, and glossy black scales that cover small portions of their body. They are also quite long, reaching approximately 4.92 feet in length.

Dugite Bite Symptoms and Treatment

Although the dugite is an incredibly shy species, they are known to actively defend themselves when cornered. Venom from the snake is considered one of the most lethal in the world due to its coagulant properties and presence of both pre- and post-synaptic neurotoxins (toxinology.com). Following envenomation, symptoms usually begin rapidly and include nausea, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, as well as dizziness. As the venom progresses throughout the bloodstream, convulsions are also common, along with extreme bleeding, and eventually cardiac arrest (resulting in death).

Bites from a dugite are considered life-threatening, with nearly 40-percent of victims suffering from severe envenomation. As a result, untreated mortality rates are in the vicinity of 20-percent for this species. Standard treatment for dugite bites is several rounds of brown snake antivenom, along with careful monitoring of the body’s heart and kidney function (toxinology.com). This is generally followed with intravenous fluids, palliative care, and pain mitigation therapy. Although most victims make full recoveries from a dugite bite, long-term complications are common, and include muscle pain, weakness, as well as cardiac and renal issues.

The Common Krait.

The Common Krait.

18. Common Krait (Bungarus caeruleus)

  • Average Size: 3 to 5 feet (0.91 to 1.52 meters)
  • Geographical Range: India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
  • Conservation Status: Unknown (Insufficient Data)

The common krait (also known as the Indian Krait), is a species of highly venomous snake from the Elapidae family. Considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the entire world, the common krait is regularly classified as one of the “Big Four” species, which includes the saw scaled viper, russell’s viper, as well as the Indian cobra. Snakes within this category are responsible for more snake bites (annually) than any other species on the planet.

The common krait is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, and can be found throughout Pakistan, India, as well as Sri Lanka. They can be easily identified by their medium-sized length (in the vicinity of 3 to 5 feet), as well as their flat heads, and cylindrical bodies. In regard to coloration, the common krait is typically blue or black, with white crossbars and underbellies.

Common Krait Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The common krait’s venom consists of extremely powerful presynaptic and postsynaptic neurotoxins. As a nocturnal species, most bites occur at night, and are rarely painful (leaving individuals with a false sense of assurance regarding the severity of the bite). Nevertheless, symptoms usually begin to take effect within an hour, and include tightening of the facial muscles, severe abdominal cramps, blindness, as well as an inability to speak. Deaths generally occur within 4 to 8 hours of the bite, and usually result when the venom causes complete paralysis of the body’s respiratory system, leading to suffocation.

Bites from a common krait are considered life-threatening, with an untreated mortality rate of approximately 70 to 80-percent (toxinology.com). Standard treatment involves several rounds of Polyvalent Antivenom, along with both intubation and ventilation (to aid the victim with breathing). This is followed by close monitoring of the heart and kidneys, along with palliative care, pain mitigation therapy, and intravenous fluids. Although fatalities are common with common krait bites, they are also highly treatable if rapid medical treatment is sought.

The Indian Cobra.

The Indian Cobra.

17. Indian Cobra (Naja naja)

  • Average Size: 3.3 to 4.9 feet (1 to 1.5 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Indian Subcontinent, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal
  • Conservation Status: Unknown (Insufficient Data)

The Indian cobra (also known as the “spectacled cobra,” “Asian cobra,” or “binocellate cobra”) is a species of deadly snake from the Elapidae family. As a member of the “Big Four,” the Indian cobra is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the world due to its potent venom and number of bites inflicted (annually). The snake is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, and can be found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It can be easily identified by its hood, rounded snout, and greyish-yellow (occasionally tan) coloration.

Indian Cobra Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The Indian cobra’s venom is comprised of powerful postsynaptic neurotoxins as well as cardiotoxins. Combined, these toxins inflict a coordinated attack on their victim’s central nervous system, muscular-skeletal system, as well as lungs and heart. An enzyme known as “hyaluronidase” is also present within the venom, and is known to increase the overall spread (and speed) of the Indian cobra’s venom. Following envenomation, symptoms usually begin within 15 minutes and include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, as well as diarrhea. As the venom spreads, convulsions, hallucinations, and paralysis are common. Death usually occurs from complete respiratory failure or cardiac arrest.

Bites from an Indian cobra are considered life-threatening emergencies, with untreated bites yielding a 30-percent fatality rate. As a result, rapid treatment is necessary to stop the spread of the snake’s venom. Standard treatment involves several rounds of Polyvalent Antivenom, along with intubation, ventilation, and palliative care. Intravenous fluids are also used to maintain hydration and electrolyte balance. Most individuals who receive prompt treatment make full recoveries; however, in cases of severe envenomation, death rates still remain a staggering 9-percent for those who receive treatment.

The infamous Forest Cobra.

The infamous Forest Cobra.

16. Forest Cobra (Naja melanoleuca)

  • Average Size: 4.2 to 7.2 feet (1.4 to 2.2 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Western and Central Africa
  • Conservation Status: Unknown (Insufficient Data)

The forest cobra (also known as the “black cobra” or “black and white-lipped cobra) is a species of deadly snake from the Elapidae family. The forest cobra is considered one of the largest cobra species in the world (reaching upwards of 10-feet at maturity). It is also one of the most dangerous snakes on the African continent due to its aggressive behavior and potent venom. As with most cobras, the snake can be easily identified by its hood, large size, and coloration that varies between glossy-black, white, brown, and yellow.

Forest Cobra Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The forest cobra possesses an extremely potent venom that is comprised of postsynaptic neurotoxins. Average venom yield is approximately 571 milligrams, resulting in serious envenomation in nearly all bite cases (toxinology.com). Following envenomation, symptoms generally occur rapidly (in as early as 30 minutes). Signs and symptoms of a forest cobra bite include drowsiness, fatigue, hearing loss, inability to speak, as well as dizziness, hypotension, and shock. Abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and pallor (whitening of the face and skin) are also common among victims, with respiratory failure and cardiac arrest being the most common cause of death for individuals once the venom spreads.

Bites from a forest cobra are life-threatening emergencies that require prompt medical treatment. Little is known about the fatality rate of treated (and untreated) bites from this species due to the relatively low number of bites that are presented each year. Nevertheless, it is estimated that fatality rates are generally high. Standard treatment for a forest cobra bite includes several rounds of SAIMR Polyvalent Antivenom, along with intubation and ventilation. Pain mitigation therapy along with intravenous fluids are also used in the majority of cases. And while many individuals make full recoveries, long-term complications are common with forest cobra bites due to the large quantities of venom produced by the snake. This includes muscle pain, weakness, and respiratory issues.

The Western Brown Snake.

The Western Brown Snake.

15. Western Brown Snake (Pseudonaja nuchalis)

  • Average Size: 5.8 feet (1.8 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, and Victoria
  • Conservation Status: Unknown (Insufficient Data)

The western brown snake (sometimes referred to as the “gwardar” by locals), is a species of venomous snake from the Elapidae family. The western brown is considered one of the fastest snakes in Australia, and can be found throughout much of the continent’s western and northern territories. As their name implies, they can be easily identified by their brownish-orange appearance that contrasts sharply with an orangish-pink underbelly.

Western Brown Snake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The western brown snake possesses an extremely potent venom that is comprised of procoagulants, nephrotoxins, and neurotoxins. Bites are usually painless due to the snake’s relatively small fangs; however, symptoms from envenomation tend to begin rapidly and involve migraine headaches, nausea, extreme vomiting, as well as abdominal pain (cramps). Similar to the king brown, the western brown’s venom tends to coagulate the blood as it progresses into the victim’s body, resulting in bleeding issues and finally, organ failure.

Bites from this species are considered life-threatening, and require immediate medical attention. Generally speaking, however, most bites are able to be treated through several rounds of antivenom therapy. This is usually followed by pain-mitigation therapy, as well as intravenous fluids which aim to restore electrolyte balance in the body.

The Saw-Scaled Viper.

The Saw-Scaled Viper.

14. Saw-Scaled Viper (Echis carinatus)

  • Average Size: 1 to 3 feet (0.30 to 0.91 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Africa, the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The saw-scaled viper is a species of highly-venomous snake from the Viperidae family. Found throughout the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, the saw-scaled viper is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world due to its potent venom and aggressive behavior. As a member of the “Big Four,” this species is responsible for more snake bite cases (and deaths) than any other snake in the world. The saw-scaled viper can be easily identified by its relatively small size (1 to 3 feet), short and rounded snout, as well as its reddish-brown, olive, or grey coloration.

Saw-Scaled Viper Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The saw-scaled viper’s venom is comprised of procoagulants and nephrotoxins that deliver a devastating attack on their victim’s internal organs. Average venom yield is approximately 18 milligrams per bite, with lethal doses for humans being only 5 milligrams. Following envenomation, symptoms usually begin within a few hours (or upwards of 6 days later in extreme cases). This includes swelling, muscle weakness and pain, blistering, as well as hypotension, anuria (low urine output), and gastrointestinal bleeding. As the venom progresses into the bloodstream, coagulation of the body’s small blood vessels is common, leading to acute kidney failure and cardiac arrest.

Mortality rates for a saw-scaled viper are in the vicinity of 10 to 20-percent, and require immediate medical treatment for survival. Standard treatment involves several rounds of Polyvalent Antivenom, along with intravenous fluids, and pain mitigation therapy. In severe cases, dialysis may also be used to protect the victim’s kidneys from damage (toxinology.com). Unfortunately for many individuals, bites from a saw-scaled viper often prove fatal due to the remote nature of the snake’s habitat. And while local medical facilities exist within these areas, few are equipped with appropriate antivenom to combat the snake’s deadly venom. It is for these reasons that the saw-scaled viper is often considered one of the deadliest snakes on the planet.

The deadly Mojave Rattlesnake.

The deadly Mojave Rattlesnake.

13. Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

  • Average Size: 3.3 to 4.5 feet (1 to 1.37 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Southwestern United States and Central Mexico
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The Mojave rattlesnake (also referred to as the “Mojave green”) is a species of highly-venomous pit viper from the Viperidae family of snakes. Considered the deadliest snake in the United States, the Mojave rattlesnake is an incredibly large and aggressive species reaching upwards of 4.5 feet in the wild. Due to their potent venom, they are an animal that should be avoided by humans at all costs. For onlookers, the Mojave green can be easily identified by its brownish-green coloration (hence its name) that is accentuated by a large rattle with white bands.

Mojave Rattlesnake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The Mojave rattlesnake possesses an extremely lethal venom that is more powerful than some cobras. Their venom, which contains a powerful mixture of neurotoxins, is considered life-threatening in 100-percent of bites and requires immediate hospitalization. Upon envenomating their victims, symptoms from the Mojave green’s bite are usually unnoticeable for several hours. However, once the venom begins to attack the body, symptoms come on suddenly and involve blurry vision, difficulties with breathing and swallowing, as well as muscle pain and weakness. As the venom attacks the central nervous system, convulsions and loss of motor skills (including speech) are extremely common. In its final stages, cardiac arrest and respiratory failure are common, leading to death (owlcation.com).

Standard treatment for a Mojave rattlesnake bite is the administration of CroFab (a powerful antivenom). This is followed by intravenous fluids, palliative care, and pain mitigation therapy. Fatalities from this species is estimated to be 25 to 30-percent, with long-term complications being common for survivors (including heart and respiratory issues).

The deadly Philippine Cobra.

The deadly Philippine Cobra.

12. Philippine Cobra (Naja philippinensis)

  • Average Size: 3.3 to 5.2 feet (1 to 1.58 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Northern Philippines
  • Conservation Status: “Threatened” (Population in Decline)

The Philippine cobra (also known as the “Northern Philippine cobra”) is a species of venomous snake from the Elapidae family. Found throughout the northern regions of the Philippines (as its name implies), the Philippine cobra is widely regarded as the most dangerous cobra species in the world. Reaching approximately 3.3 feet at maturity, the snake can often be found in the region’s low-lying plains or forested areas near freshwater sources. They can be easily identified by their thick hood, stocky appearance, and brownish coloration.

Philippine Cobra Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The Philippine cobra possesses a venom that is comprised of powerful postsynaptic neurotoxins. These toxins are known to actively attack their victim’s neuromuscular and respiratory systems. Following envenomation, symptoms usually begin rapidly (in the vicinity of 30 minutes) and involve migraine headaches, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Dizziness, diarrhea, difficulty speaking, and breathing difficulties are also common before the venom finally suppresses the lungs (leading to respiratory paralysis and death through suffocation). Making matters worse is the fact that the Philippine cobra can also “spit” its venom at onlookers, leading to permanent blindness if the venom comes into contact with the eyes.

Bites from a Philippine cobra are extremely dangerous and require immediate medical treatment. This is due to the snake’s high venom yield, which is approximately 90 to 100 milligrams per bite. As a result, untreated bites are nearly 100-percent fatal (Brown, 184). Standard treatment involves cobra-specific antivenom to combat the venom’s spread, along with palliative care (involving pain mitigation therapy and intravenous fluids). Intubation and ventilation are also common for bite victims, as the snake’s venom can have a devastating effect on the lungs. In spite of these treatment options, deaths remain common, with long-term complications being present in nearly all victims following recovery.

The Death Adder (also known as the Common Death Adder).

The Death Adder (also known as the Common Death Adder).

11. Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus)

  • Average Size: 1.3 to 3.3 feet (0.39 to 1 meter)
  • Geographical Range: Eastern and Southern Australia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The death adder (sometimes referred to as the “common death adder”) is a highly-venomous species from the Elapidae family of snakes. The snake’s ominous name is highly suitable for this species as they are incredibly dangerous to humans and animals alike. The death adder can usually be found in Eastern and Southern Australia, and can be easily identified by is small size, triangular head, and thick body that takes on a black, red, and brown coloration.

Death Adder Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The death adder possesses an incredibly potent venom that is comprised of numerous neurotoxins. Following envenomation, victims usually experience a rapid onset of symptoms that include: drooping eyelids, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty with breathing. As the venom attacks the respiratory and central nervous systems, difficulties with speech along with complete paralysis of the lungs are among the final stages of the venom’s progression. Nearly 100-percent of bites are fatal (without treatment), with death occurring within 6 hours (owlcation.com).

Bites from the death adder are medical emergencies, as nearly 60-percent of all cases involve severe envenomation. As with most venomous snakebites, antivenom is the primary treatment of choice, and is usually followed by pressure-immobilization of the wound-site (to prevent further spread of the venom). Victims generally recover from the bite if medical treatment is sought rapidly. However, long-term complications involving muscle pain and weakness are common.

The Tiger Snake.

The Tiger Snake.

10. Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus)

  • Average Size: 3.94 feet (1.2 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Southern and Western Australia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The infamous tiger snake is a highly-venomous species from the Elapidae family of snakes. Considered one of Australia’s deadliest species, the snake is renowned for its aggressive behavior, potent venom, and danger posed to humans. The tiger snake can be found throughout much of Southern and Western Australia. It can be easily identified by its orangish-black coloration, small body, and yellowish-orange underbelly.

Tiger Snake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The tiger snake is an incredibly dangerous species, accounting for nearly 17-percent of Australia’s snake bites (annually). Their venom is comprised of powerful neurotoxins, hemolysins, coagulants, and myotoxins. Following envenomation, these toxins unleash a powerful attack on the victim’s neuromuscular and respiratory systems. Symptoms usually begin rapidly, and include pain and weakness at the wound site, localized swelling, as well as numbness and tingling throughout the body. Once the venom spreads to other areas of the body, breathing difficulties are common with paralysis of the lungs being the primary cause of death for individuals (i.e. suffocation).

Bites from a tiger snake are incredibly dangerous, with an untreated mortality rate of approximately 60-percent. As such, rapid medical treatment is necessary to avoid lifelong complications or death. Pressure immobilization is one of the primary treatment options as it inhibits the flow of venom throughout the body’s lymphatic system (toxinology.com). This is followed by Polyvalent Antivenom, along with palliative care and intravenous fluids. In severe cases, intubation and ventilation may also be required.

Russell's Viper (also known as the "Chain Viper").

Russell's Viper (also known as the "Chain Viper").

9. Russell's Viper (Daboia russelii)

  • Average Size: 4 to 5.5 feet (1.21 to 1.67 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Indian Subcontinent, China, Taiwan, and Indonesia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The russell’s viper (occasionally referred to as the “chain viper”) is a species of highly-venomous snake from the Viperidae family. Endemic to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the russell’s viper is one of the region’s most dangerous snakes due to its potent venom and tendency to inhabit areas close to human settlements. The snake can be easily identified by onlookers due to its large size, triangular-shaped head, rounded snout, and yellowish-tan (occasionally brown) coloration.

Russell’s Viper Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The russell’s viper possesses a venom that is comprised of various myotoxins, coagulants, and neurotoxins. Severe envenomation occurs in 80-percent of bites due to the snake’s high venom yield (in the vicinity of 130 to 250 milligrams). Following envenomation, symptoms usually begin within 20 minutes and include bleeding in the gums and urine, hypotension, and a rapid drop in the victim’s heart rate. Blistering around the wound site is also common, along with necrosis of the skin. As the venom continues to spread throughout the body, vomiting and facial swelling are common, with acute kidney failure occurring in approximately 30-percent of bites. Death can occur between 1 to 14 days of a bite, and usually results from sepsis, complete kidney failure, or cardiac arrest.

Bites from a russell’s viper are extremely dangerous and require immediate medical treatment. Standard treatment involves Polyvalent Antivenom followed by intubation, palliative care, and intravenous fluids (to maintain electrolyte balance). And while treatment is often highly effective for most patients, fatalities are relatively common for this species due to the remote nature of their habitat (and absence of medical facilities with adequate antivenom supply). Furthermore, long-term complications from the russell’s viper are also common in approximately 29-percent of survivors, as the snake’s venom is known to cause severe damage to muscles, skin tissue, and the pituitary glands (owlcation.com). As a result, the russell’s viper is a snake that should be avoided at all costs.

The Black Mamba.

The Black Mamba.

8. Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

  • Average Size: 6.6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Eastern and Southern Africa
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The black mamba is a highly-venomous species of snake from the Elapidae family. Reaching an incredible length of nearly 6.6 feet (on average), the black mamba is one of the longest venomous snakes in the world. Classified as both an arboreal and terrestrial species, the snake is incredibly fast with the ability to take down nearly any animal (or human) with ease. The black mamba can be easily identified by observers due to its greyish-brown skin, and ink-black mouth (owlcation.com).

Black Mamba Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The black mamba possesses a highly toxic venom that is comprised mostly of neurotoxins. Upon striking their individuals, the snake is known to deliver multiple bites in succession, ensuring that maximum venom yields are achieved. As a result, symptoms of a black mamba bite begin rapidly (usually within 10 minutes). General symptoms involve drooping eyelids, dizziness and confusion, blurred vision, tingling, and a metallic taste in the mouth. As the venom continues to sweep the body, drowsiness, nausea, and extreme sweating follow, and are accompanied by complete paralysis of the respiratory system within minutes (leading to death).

Bites from a black mamba are considered fatal nearly 100-percent of the time (if medical attention is not sought). Deaths usually occur within 3 hours, with some fatalities reported in as early as 20 minutes. And while antivenom exists to counter the venom’s potency, most of the areas around the black mamba’s habitat are so remote that antivenom is unavailable for many victims. As a result, deaths from the snake are extremely common in Africa. Survival is not always guaranteed with the administration of antivenom either, as the venom rapidly subdues the body’s internal organs leading to multi-system failures for many patients.

The infamous Coastal Taipan.

The infamous Coastal Taipan.

7. Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)

  • Average Size: 3.9 to 6.6 feet (1.2 to 2 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Northern and Eastern Australia
  • Conservation Status: Unknown (Insufficient Data)

The coastal taipan is an extremely venomous species from the Elapidae family of snakes. Considered a close relative of the infamous inland taipan, the coastal taipan is an extremely deadly species known for their highly-potent venom. The snake is typically classified as a diurnal species and is active predominantly during the morning hours. It can be easily identified by onlookers due to its slim build and reddish-brown coloration (or olive complexion in the spring). This coloration contrasts sharply with its underbelly which is typically yellowish-white.

Coastal Taipan Bite Symptoms and Treatment

As a relatively calm and docile snake, the coastal taipan is not particularly aggressive towards humans and will attempt to avoid confrontation whenever possible. In spite of this, onlookers should note that the coastal taipan will actively strike when provoked (or cornered) and is capable of inflicting serious harm through its venom that is comprised of a neurotoxin known as taicatoxin.

Taicatoxin rapidly attacks an individual’s nervous system and goes to work within minutes of an attack. Symptoms are known to begin rapidly with nausea, extreme vomiting, muscle pain, and weakness being among the first signs of envenomation. This is followed by involuntary muscle movement, convulsions, and internal bleeding that can result in paralysis, myolysis, and multi-system organ failure (owlcation.com).

According to the University of Adelaide, bites from the coastal taipan are 100-percent fatal unless rapid medical treatment is sought (toxinology.com). Death can occur within two hours, though some deaths have been reported in as little as half an hour. Primary treatment is the rapid administering of antivenom, followed by palliative care, and intravenous fluids to maintain hydration. Lifelong complications after a bite from the coastal taipan are common.

The Beaked Sea Snake.

The Beaked Sea Snake.

6. Beaked Sea Snake (Enhydrina schistosa)

  • Average Size: 2.62 to 5.18 feet (0.8 to 1.58 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Southeast Asia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The beaked sea snake (also known as the “common sea snake” or “hook-nosed sea snake”) is a species of deadly snake from the Elapidae family. Considered one of the world’s most venomous sea snakes, the beaked sea snake is an extremely dangerous species responsible for numerous bites and fatalities each year. Found throughout the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and the waters surrounding Southeast Asia, the snake can be easily identified by its relatively long length, dark grey coloration, and white underbelly.

Beaked Sea Snake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The beaked sea snake’s venom possesses a potent array of neurotoxins and myotoxins. Average venom yield for this species is relatively low at only 7.9 to 9.0 milligrams; however, the toxins are lethal to humans at only 1.5 milligrams (making this an incredibly dangerous snake to humans). Following envenomation, symptoms usually begin rapidly and involve headache, nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Diarrhea and dizziness are also common, and are typically followed by severe convulsions. This is followed by kidney failure, cardiac arrest, or respiratory paralysis (leading to death). Little is known about the overall mortality rate of this species. Nevertheless, beaked sea snake is responsible for nearly 50-percent of all sea snake bites (annually), as well as 90-percent of sea snake bite fatalities (toxinology.com).

Due to the snake’s remote location, medical treatment is often difficult to acquire as death tends to occur before hospitalization can occur. If a medical facility can be reached, however, standard treatment involves multiple doses of CSL Sea Snake Antivenom, followed by respiratory support (intubation), and intravenous fluids. Dialysis may also be used to protect the kidneys. Assuming rapid treatment is sought by the victim, most individuals recover after several weeks of hospitalization. Long-term complications are believed to be common though.

The deadly Eastern Brown Snake.

The deadly Eastern Brown Snake.

5. Eastern Brown (Pseudonaja textilis)

  • Average Size: 4.9 to 6.6 feet (1.5 to 2.0 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Central and Eastern Australia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The eastern brown (sometimes referred to as the “common brown snake”) is an extremely venomous species from the Elapidae family of snakes. Widely considered the third most-venomous land snake in the world, the eastern brown is an extremely dangerous species that should be avoided at all costs.

The eastern brown is considered a diurnal snake that is active predominantly in the day. They are relatively long, reaching an astounding 6.6 feet at maturity, and are renowned for their slim build, small fangs, and round-like heads. Aside from their build, the eastern brown can be identified by their brownish coloration that occasionally takes on an orange or russet appearance (depending on season).

Eastern Brown Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The eastern brown possesses a highly toxic venom that is comprised of neurotoxins and coagulants. Following envenomation, symptoms begin in as little as 15 minutes. This includes hypotension, excessive bleeding from the wound site, along with migraines, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. Excessive sweating and seizures have also been reported among some victims. As the venom progresses through the bloodstream, clotting begins to occur for many individuals, resulting in suppression of the kidneys and eventually cardiac arrest.

Bites from the eastern brown are considered life-threatening and require immediate hospitalization. Standard treatment involves the administering of antivenom which is usually highly-effective in controlling the spread of venom. This is followed by palliative care, intravenous fluids (for hydration), and bedrest. In spite of advancements in medical care, however, bites from an eastern brown are still fatal in approximately 20-percent of cases (with survivors experiencing long-term complications for much of their life).

The Blue Krait.

The Blue Krait.

4. Blue Krait (Bungarus candidus)

  • Average Size: 3.6 feet (1.09 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Thailand and Southeast Asia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The blue krait (also known as the “Malayan krait”) is a highly-venomous species from the Elapidae family of snakes. This deadly species reaches an overall length of approximately 3.6 feet, and can be found throughout most of Southeast Asia. Considered a nocturnal animal, due to its affinity for nighttime hunting, the blue krait is a dangerous snake capable of inflicting serious injury (and death) to humans. They can be easily identified due to their yellowish-white bodies that are accentuated by bluish-black crossbands.

Blue Krait Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The blue krait possesses a highly potent venom that is comprised of deadly presynaptic and postsynaptic toxins. Upon biting their victims, these powerful neurotoxins rapidly attack the individual’s central nervous system, causing mental dysfunction and an inability to speak within minutes of a bite. As the venom progresses in the bloodstream, other symptoms such as paralysis, abdominal cramps, and complete blindness are also common. This is usually followed by complete respiratory paralysis within four hours of a bite, leading to suffocation.

Bites from a blue krait are considered life-threatening in nearly 80-percent of all cases with deaths occurring in four hours (if medical treatment is not sought). Standard treatment usually involves a combination of antivenoms, including “Banded Krait” and “Bungarus Candidus Antivenom.” This is generally followed by intubation, pain mitigation therapy, and intravenous fluids to maintain electrolyte balance. In spite of these treatment options, however, fatalities and long-term complications remain common for blue krait bite victims. As such, this is an incredibly dangerous species that should be avoided whenever possible.

The Dubois' Sea Snake.

The Dubois' Sea Snake.

3. Dubois' Sea Snake (Aipysurus duboisii)

  • Average Size: 2.6 to 4.86 feet (0.80 to 1.48 meters)
  • Geographical Range: Papua New Guinea, Coral Sea, Arafura Sea, Timor Sea, and the Indian Ocean
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The Dubois’ sea snake is a highly-venomous species of snake from the Elapidae family that includes cobras and the black mamba. Considered one of the deadliest species of snake in the world, the Dubois’ sea snake is an incredibly dangerous animal with the capacity to kill (or seriously harm) individuals with a single bite. Found throughout the coastal regions of Australia and the Indian Ocean, this snake can be easily identified by its relatively long length, wide head, fin-like tail, and tan complexion that contains dark brown crossbands.

Dubois’ Sea Snake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The Dubois’ sea snake possesses a highly potent venom that is comprised of postsynaptic neurotoxins, myotoxins, nephrotoxins, and cardiotoxins. When combined, these toxins unleash a devastating attack on the snake’s victims, with symptoms appearing within minutes of a bite. General symptoms of a Dubois’ sea snake bite include migraine headaches, extreme nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and dizziness. Once the venom progresses throughout the body’s bloodstream, convulsions and paralysis are also common, with kidney failure, cardiac arrest, and respiratory failure being among the three most common causes of death.

Bites from a Dubois’ sea snake are considered life-threatening emergencies, and require immediate treatment to prevent death (as bites are usually considered 100-percent fatal if left untreated). Due to the snake’s remote location (in the middle of the ocean), however, medical treatment is often difficult (if not impossible) to find in a timely manner. As a result, deaths are common. Nevertheless, if hospitalization can be achieved, standard treatment involves several rounds of CSL Sea Snake Antivenom. This is followed by respiratory support, involving intubation and ventilation, as well as dialysis to protect the kidneys from additional harm. Maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance are also crucial for victims, along with palliative care. In spite of advances in medical treatment though, long-term complications are extremely common and include muscle pains, weakness, and organ damage.

The deadly Belcher's Sea Snake.

The deadly Belcher's Sea Snake.

2. Belcher's Sea Snake (Hydrophis belcheri)

  • Average Size: 1.5 to 3.3 feet (0.45 to 1 meter)
  • Geographical Range: Indian Ocean, Gulf of Thailand, and North Coast of Australia
  • Conservation Status: Unknown (Insufficient Data)

The belcher’s sea snake is a highly venomous snake from the Elapidae family. To date, it is considered the deadliest and most venomous sea snake in the world. Originally discovered in the 1800s, the belcher’s sea snake is a relatively small species reaching only 3.3 feet at maturity. Found predominantly in the warmer quadrants of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Thailand, the snake can be easily identified by onlookers due to its slender body, small head, and chrome-like coloration that is highlighted by dark bands.

Belcher’s Sea Snake Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The belcher’s sea snake possesses an extremely potent blend of myotoxins and neurotoxins that are capable of killing a human within 30 minutes of a bite. Fortunately for most, the snake is widely considered a shy and timid species that bites only when provoked.

In cases of envenomation by a belcher’s sea snake, symptoms appear rapidly and include migraine headaches, severe muscle pain, abdominal cramps, vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea. As the venom’s powerful neurotoxins seize control of the central nervous system, paralysis and convulsions are also common. This is followed by uncontrollable bleeding and the onset of hysteria. As the venom enters additional parts of the body, complete kidney and respiratory failure occur, resulting in death.

Bites from the belcher’s sea snake are a medical emergency and require immediate hospitalization to mitigate its effects. This includes antivenom that slows the venom’s progression, along with palliative care and intravenous fluids. Fortunately for most victims, the belcher’s sea snake is capable of controlling its overall output of venom which it releases in only a quarter of bites (owlcation.com). In cases of envenomation, however, bites are almost always 100-percent fatal without medical treatment. As such, the belcher’s sea snake is a species that should be avoided at all costs.

The deadly Inland Taipan (world's deadliest snake).

The deadly Inland Taipan (world's deadliest snake).

1. Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus)

  • Average Size: 5.9 feet (1.8 meters)
  • Geographical Range: All of Queensland and Southern Australia
  • Conservation Status: “Least Concern” (Population Stable)

The inland taipan is an extremely venomous species of snake from the Elapidae family. Generally classified as a shy and placid species, experts regularly rank the inland taipan as the deadliest land-based snake in the world. The taipan is relatively large with an average length of approximately 5.9 feet (1.8 meters). Similar to their close relative, the coastal taipan, this species can be easily identified by onlookers due to its rounded snout, chevron scales, slim body, and seasonal coloration that varies between olive (summer) and brownish-black (winter).

The inland taipan is found in South Australia and Queensland within the black soil plains. This region provides the snake with excellent concealment from predators (and the region’s climate) due to its abundance of burrows and holes within the area’s clay-like soil. When operating away from their den, the inland taipan is considered an aggressive hunter and preys on a variety of small mammals and birds. This includes mice, birds, as well as the occasional snake or lizard.

Inland Taipan Bite Symptoms and Treatment

The inland taipan’s venom is extremely powerful and contains a potent mixture of neurotoxins, hemotoxins, nephrotoxins, and myotoxins. Taken together, each of these toxins deliver a powerful effect on humans and animals alike. This is due to the fact that each toxin actively attacks the victim’s central nervous system, muscular-skeletal system, and blood in a systematic (almost coordinated) fashion.

After envenomation, the inland taipan’s powerful neurotoxins immediately attack the victim’s central nervous system and produce both convulsions and complete paralysis within only a few minutes. This is followed by coagulation of the blood (from the venom’s hemotoxins) and poor circulation. Headaches (often described as migraines), extreme nausea, vomiting, and dizziness are also common before the venom takes control of the body. In its final stages, complete respiratory paralysis and kidney failure occur, resulting in death. Approximately 100-percent of bites from an inland taipan are considered fatal, with death occurring two to six hours after the bite. In cases of severe envenomation, however, death can occur as early as 30 minutes.

Treatment for an inland taipan bite involves taipan-specific antivenom. Pressure immobilization, palliative care, and intravenous fluids are also provided to victims in order to mitigate pain and to maintain electrolyte balance. Bites from the inland taipan should be considered a medical emergency requiring rapid hospitalization. And while treatment is usually effective when administered rapidly, lifelong complications tend to follow victims. This includes heart, muscle, and kidney problems. For these reasons, the inland taipan is easily the world’s deadliest snake.

What to do if your are bitten by a snake.

What to do if your are bitten by a snake.

Works Cited

Articles / Books:

Images / Photographs:

Wikimedia Commons.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Larry Slawson

Comments

Larry Slawson (author) from North Carolina on September 10, 2020:

@Pamela Thank you! I'm actually really afraid of snakes too! Haha.

Oddly enough though, I find them fascinating for some reason. The Eastern Diamondback is a major concern for my area as well (along with the Eastern Coral Snake).

Larry Slawson (author) from North Carolina on September 10, 2020:

@Cheryl Yes, indeed! I was reading somewhere that there are approximately 600 species of venomous snake in the world. Kind of scary to think about!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 10, 2020:

Where I live the Eastern diamondback is the most frightening snake. I really like you list of dos and donts, Larry. I am very afraid of snakes.

I didn't know about the cobra's "false eyes". Just reading about the Taipan was scary. Some of these snakes have such dangerous venom. Actually, I guess all of them do to some degree.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 09, 2020:

All those pictures are quite intimidating. I did not know there were so many different types of snakes.

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