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9 of the Worlds Deadliest Snakes

Mozambique spitting cobracredit: Digital Vision/Getty Images


Few animals strike as much fear into people as venomous snakes.
Although the chances of running into a venomous snake, much less being
bitten and dying from the toxin injected into ones body, are miniscule
compared to dying from cancer, heart disease, or an automobile accident,
this seemingly unreasonable fear remains very real for many people. The
snakes described here live primarily in tropical regions, but some might be
living in research centers and zoos near you.
9A dangerous African snake named for its black mouth

black mamba Heiko Kiera/FotoliaThe black, or black-mouthed, mamba


(Dendroaspis polylepis) inhabits rocky savanna and can often be

encountered on the ground, where it seems to be fond of termite mounds.


Ranging in color from gray to dark brown, its name derives from the
blackened inside of its mouth. The black mamba is feared because it is
large and quick, and it possesses an extremely potent venom that kills of
most of its human victims. Despite its aggressive reputation, unprovoked
attacks on humans have not been proved, and it is responsible for only a
small number of deaths annually.
8The barba amarilla (yellow chin) of Latin America

Bothrops asper
Damtraveller/FotoliaThe venom of some species, including the Okinawa
habu (T. flavoviridis), an aggressive snake that often enters human
dwellings in the Ryukyu Islands, is mildly dangerous. On the other hand,
the venom of the terciopelo (B. asper), the fer-de-lance of Central America
is necrotizing, painful, and often deadly. Other dangerous fer-de-lances
include the jaracara (B. jaracara) of Brazil and the wutu (Bothrops
alternatus) of Argentina.

7One of the most dangerous snakes in Africa

boomslangDade ThorntonThe National Audubon Society


Collection/Photo ResearchersThe boomslang (Dispholidus typus) hunts by
extending the forward part of its body motionless from a tree, its form
mimicking a branch. A rear-fanged snake, it delivers its venom by chewing
on its victim until the victim succumbs to the toxins.
6The quintessential Australian cobra

eastern tiger snakeJAWThe eastern


tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) is the most widely distributed type of tiger
snake, which inhabits the southern fringe of Australia and the regions

nearby islands. As it prepares to strike, it flattens its head and neck in a


manner similar to Asian and African cobras.
5The killer of the most people

saw-scaled viperAnton Thau/Bavaria-VerlagThe saw-scaled viper (Echis


carinatus) may be the deadliest of all snakes, since scientists believe it to
be responsible for more human deaths than all other snake species
combined. Its venom, however, is lethal in less than 10 percent of untreated
victims, but the snakes aggressiveness means it bites early and often.
4A dangerous snake with a triangular-shaped cross section

banded kraitage

fotostock/SuperStockThe banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus) is a highly


venomous relative of the cobra. Its venom is essentially a neurotoxin that
induces paralysis.
3The longest venomous snake in the world

king cobra Heiko Kiera/FotoliaThe king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is


the longest venomous snake in the world. Its bite delivers a tremendous
amount of paralysis-inducing neurotoxins. The snakes venom is so strong
and so voluminous that it can kill an elephant in just a few hours. Death
also results in at least 50 to 60 percent of untreated human cases.
2The largest relative of the cobra in Australia
The coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) produces venom that is nearly
identical to that of its inland cousin. Its bite is lethal in more than 80 percent
of untreated cases.
The snake with the worlds deadliest venom

inland taipanRobert Valentic/Nature Picture LibraryThe bite of an inland or


western taipanOxyuranus microlepidotus, also called, appropriately, the
fierce snakedelivers a veritable witchs brew of toxins. The venom
consists of taipoxin, a complex mix of neurotoxins, procoagulants, and
myotoxins that paralyze muscles, inhibit breathing, cause hemorraging in
blood vessels and tissues, and damage muscles.
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The most venomous snake known in the world, a few milligrams is strong enough to
kill 1000 people! Less than 1/4 of bites will contain venom, and they are relatively
docile. Fisherman are usually the victims of these bites, as they encounter the
species when they pull nets from the ocean. Found throughout waters off South East
Asia and Northern Australia.