Special Report

The Deadliest Snake in the World

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, with bites that can lead to illness and death. The deadliest of these is the inland taipan, native to east-central Australia. 

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. Young people and children are particularly at risk, as are agricultural workers, hunters and fishermen, and others who work outdoors. (These are the most dangerous jobs in America.)  

The London-based safari information site Safaris Africana has compiled a list of the most venomous snakes in the world. The company notes that there are several ways to measure lethality, among them the amount of venom dose needed to kill one person, the number of people killed by a species each year, and the percentage of people who die if a bite from a species is left untreated. Safaris Africana has used these and other yardsticks to determine some of the world’s deadliest snakes. (Note that many of these exist in numerous subspecies.)

Of the deadliest, the Inland taipan, the analysts who put together the report wrote “Its paralyzing venom consists of taipoxin, a mix of neurotoxins, procoagulants, and mycotoxins, 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.” (Snakes are hardly the only animals that can be deadly to humans, of course. These are the world’s deadliest animals.)

Click here to see the deadliest snakes in the world

The snake was first discovered by western scientists in 1879, and sightings are rare. Its primary diet is small mammals. Oddly, according to one report, no human has ever been killed by this species because those bitten were immediately “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 deadliest in the world.

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