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Most venomous snakes – TOP 10 & TOP 100

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).

King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)
Cobra

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.

Lethal dose

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.

Speckled brown snake (Pseudonaja guttata)
Speckled brown snake (Pseudonaja guttata)

LD50

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
  • LDIVIntravenous: Venom is injected directly into a vein
  • LDIMIntramuscular: Venom is injected into a muscle
  • LDIPIntraperitoneal: Venom is injected into the abdominal cavity

The most commonly tested methods are subcutaneous and intravenous injections of mice.

Inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus)
Inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus)

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).

Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)
Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

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Top 10 & Top 100

The most venomous snakes in the world

RankNameVenom [mg]LD50 SC [mg/kg]kills 50% of mice
1Inland taipan         217               0.01      1 085 000
2Eastern brown snake         155           0.0365         212 329
3Dubois’ sea snake          0.7             0.044                795
4Yellowbelly sea snake             4             0.067             2 985
5Taiwanese krait        18.4               0.09           10 222
6Coastal taipan         882             0.106         416 038
7Beaked sea snake           79           0.1125           35 111
8Mainland tiger snake         336               0.12         140 000
9Saw scaled viper           72             0.151           23 841
10Northern Philippine cobra         250               0.20           62 500
11Black banded sea krait           14               0.20             3 500
12Tiger rattlesnake           11               0.21             2 619
13Forest cobra      1 102             0.225         244 889
14Monocled cobra         742               0.24         154 583
15Indochinese spitting cobra         738               0.25         147 600
16Elegant sea snake           24               0.26             4 615
17Olive brown sea snake           33               0.26             6 250
18Chinese cobra         200               0.29           34 483
19Mohave rattlesnake         150               0.31           24 194
20Black mamba         400               0.32         400 000
21Speckled Brown Snake             6               0.36                833
22Indian krait        24.3             0.365             3 329
23Caspian cobra         590               0.40           73 750
24Death adder         236               0.40           29 500
25Spectacled cobra         610               0.45           67 778
26Annulated sea snake           80             0.464             8 621
27Western brown snake           74             0.473             7 822
28Lowlands Copperhead         155               0.50           15 500
29Fea’s viper        1.75               0.50                175
30Dugite         143               0.66           10 833
31Cape cobra         150               0.70           10 714
32Western green mamba         100               0.70             7 143
33Russell’s viper         250               0.75           16 667
34Rinkhals         120               1.00             6 000
35Jameson’s mamba         120               1.00             6 000
36King cobra         500             1.091           22 915
37Congo water cobra         300               1.15           13 043
38Eastern coralsnake             5               1.30                192
39Stephens’s banded snake         154               1.36             5 662
40Clarence River Snake           84               1.36             3 088
41Mulga snake         802               1.94           20 670
42Black necked spitting cobra         362               2.00             9 050
43Blue bellied black snake         213               2.13             5 000
44Collett’s Snake         226               2.38             4 748
45Red bellied black snake         298               2.52             5 913
46Mexican west coast rattlesnake         297               2.80             5 304
47Horned viper         132               3.00             2 200
48Eastern green mamba           75               3.05             1 230
49Timber rattlesnake         229               3.10             3 694
50Banded krait         114               3.60             1 583
51Small scaled burrowing asp           10               4.00                125
52Jararaca           70               4.32                810
53Puff adder         750               4.40             8 523
54Central African gaboon viper      2 400               5.00           24 000
55Sidewinder rattlesnake           80               5.50                727
56Wagler’s pit viper           90               6.19                727
57Common European adder           18               6.45                140
58Western diamondback rattlesnake      1 145               7.80             7 340
59Sharp nosed viper         214               9.20             1 163
60Red diamond rattlesnake         707               9.92             3 564
61Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake         848             11.40             3 719
62Boomslang             8             12.50                 32
63White lipped pit viper           15             12.75                 59
64Jararacussu         321             13.00             1 235
65Common Night Adder         300             15.00             1 000
66Urutu         100             15.80                316
67Levantine viper         150             16.00                469
68Mamushi             7             20.00                 18
69Common lancehead         200             22.00                455
70Malayan pit viper           60             23.40                128
71Mottled Rock rattlesnake         129             23.95                269
72Pigmy Rattlesnake           35             24.30                 72
73Copperhead           75             25.60                146
74Cottonmouth         170             25.80                329
75Eyelash viper           20             33.20                 30
76Atlantic bushmaster         500             36.90                678

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9 Comments

  1. Boomslang should be much higher on the list easily top 20 a lot of ppl say black mamba is Africa’s deadliest snake but it’s not boomslang is.. And as someone already stated belchers sea snake isn’t even on the list and its a contender for number 2 overall and eastern diamondback should be the first rattler listed.

    1. Belcher’s sea snake has only 0.24 mg/kg when delivered intramuscularly and it is not such venomous like you claim. The most venomous sea snake is actually Dubois’ seasnake(Aipysurus duboisii ). On what basis do you claim that boomslang should be higher, since the ld50 of this snake is lower.

      1. According to many experts, the Belcher’s sea snake’s venom is about a hundred times more toxic than any other snake in the world. Just to give you an idea how toxic, one drop of venom from a King Cobra is powerful enough to kill well over 150 people, while only a few milligrams of the Belcher’s sea snake’s venom can kill over 1,000 people. The good thing is that this snake is considered to be very timid and would take a lot of provoking for it to bite you.

    2. Sorry Jimmy, must disagree. The Boomslang like the Mangrove snake (which I kept) is a back-fanged snake, so has to chew the poison into its prey. This makes it less effective than any viperine varieties. Mambas are just faster. Maybe the toxicity of their venom is comparable, but if given the opportunity to choose, I’d take my chances with the boomslang any day.

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