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).
What kind of snakes do we call venomous snakes?
Snakes that use toxins to hunt prey and defend themselves are called venomous snakes. The venom injected during the bite kills the prey or at least poisons an attacker.
How many venomous snakes are there in the world?
Of the more than 3400 species of snakes known worldwide, significantly more than the often rumored 10% (~ 340 species) are venomous. The complete families of the venomous snakes (Elapidae) and the vipers (Viperidae), as well as mole vipers (Atractaspidinae), are proven to be venomous.
There are currently 351 species of venomous snakes, 321 species of vipers and 22 species of mole vipers known. These families only contain venomous snakes. This means that 694 venomous snakes are known from these three families alone. In addition, there are various other venomous snakes from other families, such as the boomslang from the Colubridae family.
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 the case of snake venom, it determines its toxicity.
The LD value indicates the dose necessary for causing the 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 the 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.
The 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
The most venomous snakes in the world
|Rank||Name||Venom [mg]||LD50 SC [mg/kg]||kills 50% of mice|
|1||Inland taipan||217||0.01||1 085 000|
|2||Eastern brown snake||155||0.0365||212 329|
|3||Dubois’ sea snake||0.7||0.044||795|
|4||Yellowbelly sea snake||4||0.067||2 985|
|5||Taiwanese krait||18.4||0.09||10 222|
|6||Coastal taipan||882||0.106||416 038|
|7||Beaked sea snake||79||0.1125||35 111|
|8||Mainland tiger snake||336||0.12||140 000|
|9||Saw scaled viper||72||0.151||23 841|
|10||Northern Philippine cobra||250||0.20||62 500|
|11||Black banded sea krait||14||0.20||3 500|
|12||Tiger rattlesnake||11||0.21||2 619|
|13||Forest cobra||1 102||0.225||244 889|
|14||Monocled cobra||742||0.24||154 583|
|15||Indochinese spitting cobra||738||0.25||147 600|
|16||Elegant sea snake||24||0.26||4 615|
|17||Olive brown sea snake||33||0.26||6 250|
|18||Chinese cobra||200||0.29||34 483|
|19||Mohave rattlesnake||150||0.31||24 194|
|20||Black mamba||400||0.32||400 000|
|21||Speckled Brown Snake||6||0.36||833|
|22||Indian krait||24.3||0.365||3 329|
|23||Caspian cobra||590||0.40||73 750|
|24||Death adder||236||0.40||29 500|
|25||Spectacled cobra||610||0.45||67 778|
|26||Annulated sea snake||80||0.464||8 621|
|27||Western brown snake||74||0.473||7 822|
|28||Lowlands Copperhead||155||0.50||15 500|
|31||Cape cobra||150||0.70||10 714|
|32||Western green mamba||100||0.70||7 143|
|33||Russell’s viper||250||0.75||16 667|
|35||Jameson’s mamba||120||1.00||6 000|
|36||King cobra||500||1.091||22 915|
|37||Congo water cobra||300||1.15||13 043|
|39||Stephens’s banded snake||154||1.36||5 662|
|40||Clarence River Snake||84||1.36||3 088|
|41||Mulga snake||802||1.94||20 670|
|42||Black necked spitting cobra||362||2.00||9 050|
|43||Blue bellied black snake||213||2.13||5 000|
|44||Collett’s Snake||226||2.38||4 748|
|45||Red bellied black snake||298||2.52||5 913|
|46||Mexican west coast rattlesnake||297||2.80||5 304|
|47||Horned viper||132||3.00||2 200|
|48||Eastern green mamba||75||3.05||1 230|
|49||Timber rattlesnake||229||3.10||3 694|
|50||Banded krait||114||3.60||1 583|
|51||Small scaled burrowing asp||10||4.00||125|
|53||Puff adder||750||4.40||8 523|
|54||Central African gaboon viper||2 400||5.00||24 000|
|56||Wagler’s pit viper||90||6.19||727|
|57||Common European adder||18||6.45||140|
|58||Western diamondback rattlesnake||1 145||7.80||7 340|
|59||Sharp nosed viper||214||9.20||1 163|
|60||Red diamond rattlesnake||707||9.92||3 564|
|61||Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake||848||11.40||3 719|
|63||White lipped pit viper||15||12.75||59|
|65||Common Night Adder||300||15.00||1 000|
|70||Malayan pit viper||60||23.40||128|
|71||Mottled Rock rattlesnake||129||23.95||269|