There are approximately 3,000 species of snakes in the world, according to National Geographic. Of these, about 600 are venomous, and 200 of them are a threat to human safety. Threats include bites that cause illness that can lead to death.
The World Health Organization reports that about 5 million people are bitten by snakes each year. Between 81,000 and 138,000 of those people die. Obviously, those at most risk work outdoors. Children also are at risk for serious effects.
Safaris Africana has compiled a list of the most venomous snakes in the world. The organization says there are several ways to measure lethality. One is the level of venom dose required to kill a human. Another is how many people each species kills each year. Safaris Africana has used both yardsticks to create its list.
The Inland Taipan is the world’s most venomous snake. The analysts who put together the data wrote:
Its paralyzing venom consists of taipoxin, a mix of neurotoxins, procoagulants, and myotoxins, which causes hemorrhaging in blood vessels and muscle tissues, and inhibits breathing. Its bite is lethal in more than 80% untreated cases, and can kill a human in under an hour.
The Inland Taipan is found in central Australia, and sightings are very rare. It was first discovered by western scientists in 1879.
Most of the snakes observed by scientists are about six feet long. The Inland Taipan’s primary diet is small mammals. Oddly, according to one report, no one has ever been killed by this species because those bitten were “treated by taipan antivenom which is produced and manufactured by the Australian Reptile Park and the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Melbourne.”
Even though there are many venomous snakes in North America, none are among the most poisonous in the world.