The most venomous snakes in the world – TOP 10 and TOP 100
Which snake is the most venomous?
Such a question may not have an unambiguous answer. There are numerous criteria to be followed while creating a comparison like this one.
Most frequently mentioned venomous snakes include the black mamba (Dendroaspis polyepis) and her ‘kiss of death‘ – it has a toxin with the most immediate effect, several subspecies of cobra (Naja, Ophiopahagus, Hemchatus, Boulengerina), one of the greatest venomous snakes – king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) or the eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus).
Are those snakes truly most venomous?
Certainly every one of those snakes is extremely dangerous. King cobra (the world`s largest venomous snake – 5.7 m (18ft 8in)), Black mamba (Africa`s longest venomous snake – 4.5 m (14ft 9in) of length), or a Pit viper are sizeable snakes, injecting large portions of venom in one bite. Every one of them can easily kill a man, a single bite injection could in fact provide a lethal dose of toxin for several people.
While preparing this comparison, we decided to focus on the so called Lethal Dose, LD (lat. dosis lethalis, DL). In case of snake venom it determines its toxicity.
The LD value indicates the dose necessary for causing death of a certain percentage of tested animals of a given species -LDx. The X marks the percentage of venomous bites resulting in animals` deaths.
In the analysis of toxic substances, the most commonly used value is LD50 (median lethal dose). It is a dose which resulted in deaths of 50% of tested specimen. The studies are conducted on mice.
To sum up – the recognized LD50 value stands for 50% mortality rate among mice with ca. 20 g body weight. In short – it is the minimum portion of venom necessary to kill a mouse.
One must remember that LD50 indicates the amount of venom needed to kill, which is not equal to the total amount of venom injected by the snake. In fact, snakes inject much more venom. Consequently, the total portion of the most dangerous snakes’ venom could kill more than one person. In case of the world’s most venomous snake – even 289 people!
There are four most popular methods in which the median lethal dose (LD50) test is measured:
- LDSC – Subcutaneous: Venom is injected into the fatty layer beneath the skin
- LDIV – Intravenous: Venom is injected directly into a vein
- LDIM – Intramuscular: Venom is injected into a muscle
- LDIP – Intraperitoneal: Venom is injected into the abdominal cavity
The most commonly tested methods are subcutaneous and intravenous injections of mice.
Which snake is the most venomous snake in the world?
Inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) – the world’s most venomous snake
The title of the world’s most venomous snake belongs to the inland taipan, which inhabits the deserts of Australia.
Mean lethal dose LD50 of the inland taipan’s venom is merely 0.025 mg/kg for mice. This means that a single bite, allowing it to inject up to 100 mg of venom, is enough to kill over 100 adult people. The venom needs 45 minutes to take effect. If we are able to apply a serum by that time, we will live. The problem is that being bit in the middle of an Australian desert one does not always carry the antidote by chance.
The comparison below covers the most venomous snakes in the world. Among others, the table holds the Valakadyn sea snake (Enhydrina schistosa), one of the most venomous sea snakes, plus the most venomous snake of the seas – Dubois` sea snake (Aipysurus duboisii).
Top 10 & Top 100 most venomous snakes
in the world
|No.||Name||Venom [mg]||LD50 SC [mg/kg]||kills 50% of mice|
|2||Eastern brown snake||155||0.0365||212329|
|3||Dubois' sea snake||0.7||0.044||795|
|4||Yellowbelly sea snake||4||0.067||2985|
|7||Beaked sea snake||79||0.1125||35111|
|8||Mainland tiger snake||336||0.12||140000|
|9||Saw scaled viper||72||0.151||23841|
|10||Northern Philippine cobra||250||0.2||62500|
|11||Black banded sea krait||14||0.2||3500|
|15||Indochinese spitting cobra||738||0.25||147600|
|16||Elegant sea snake||24||0.26||4615|
|17||Olive brown sea snake||33||0.264||6250|
|21||Speckled Brown Snake||6||0.36||833|
|26||Annulated sea snake||80||0.464||8621|
|27||Western brown snake||74||0.473||7822|
|32||Western green mamba||100||0.7||7143|
|37||Congo water cobra||300||1.15||13043|
|39||Stephens's banded snake||154||1.36||5662|
|40||Clarence River Snake||84||1.36||3088|
|42||Black necked spitting cobra||362||2||9050|
|43||Blue bellied black snake||213||2.13||5000|
|45||Red bellied black snake||298||2.52||5913|
|46||Mexican west coast rattlesnake||297||2.8||5304|
|48||Eastern green mamba||75||3.05||1230|
|51||Small scaled burrowing asp||10||4||125|
|54||Central African gaboon viper||2400||5||24000|
|56||Wagler's pit viper||90||6.19||727|
|57||Common European adder||18||6.45||140|
|58||Western diamondback rattlesnake||1145||7.8||7340|
|59||Sharp nosed viper||214||9.2||1163|
|60||Red diamond rattlesnake||707||9.92||3564|
|61||Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake||848||11.4||3719|
|63||White lipped pit viper||15||12.75||59|
|65||Common Night Adder||300||15||1000|
|70||Malayan pit viper||60||23.4||128|
|71||Mottled Rock rattlesnake||129||23.95||269|