Special Report

The 11 Deadliest Snakes in the World

There are about 3,000 species of snakes worldwide, with roughly 600 being venomous. Of those, around 200 pose a major threat to humans and can cause illness or death if their bite is untreated.

According to experts, the most lethal of all snakes is the inland taipan found in Australia. Its venom can kill a person in under an hour.

The World Health Organization estimates that snakes bite about 5 million people globally each year, resulting in between 81,000 to 138,000 deaths. Those most at risk of snakebites are young people, children, outdoor workers like farmers and hunters, and others who spend time outside. (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.)

A recent report identified the inland taipan as the most venomous snake, with a bite that can be lethal in over 80% of untreated cases. The taipan’s venom contains toxins that damage blood vessels, muscles, and breathing. (Snakes are hardly the only animals that can be deadly to humans, of course. These are the world’s deadliest animals.)

While North America has many venomous snakes, none rank among the world’s deadliest.

Click here to see the deadliest snakes in the world

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