Throughout the world, it is estimated there are a minimum of 1 to 2 million annual snakebite “incidences”. This number includes bites by non-venomous species. Of that number, roughly 50,000 to 100,000 bites result in fatalities worldwide. People often create lists based on the toxicity of snake venom but generally do not to take into account other factors like clinical ability to treat, or inability to treat. Many of the world’s most venomous snakes have venom that are very straightforward and ‘easy’ to treat effectively with the proper anti venom. However, other species that might fall far below the so-called ‘Top 10’ cause a clinical explosion of problems for which anti venom are not very effective. There are still other people who derive their deadly snake lists from deaths in the countries they live in, study in, or that they are just fond of. All these points of view make for tremendous confusion in Top 10 lists. We feel it is far more interesting and important to list the most dangerous and deadly snakes in the world by taking into the criteria the amount and potency of snake’s venom, caused fatalities, personality and aggressiveness into account.
1. Black Mamba – (Dendroaspis Polylepis)
The Black Mamba is found throughout most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and is incredibly fast, traveling at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour. It’s also large; the second largest snake in Africa, averaging 8.2′ (2.5m) and getting as long as 14′ (4.5m). The Black Mamba is aggressive and territorial, characteristics not usually attributed to snakes. This snake is usually found in an olive green color – it’s the inside of its mouth that is black!
African villagers and experts alike fear the intense pain and suffering the mamba inflicts on its victims. Its poison is neuro-toxic. Unlike most poisonous snakes where the venom travels slowly through the blood stream, allowing a victim time to get treatment and to isolate the poison using a tourniquet, the black mamba’s poison goes straight for the nerves, attacking the central nervous system and shutting down major organs. Twenty minutes after being bitten you may lose the ability to talk. After one hour you’re probably comatose, and by six hours, without an antidote, you are dead.
When feeling very threatened, the Black Mamba usually delivers multiple strikes, injecting its potent neuro- and cardiotoxin with each strike, often attacking the body or head, unlike most other snakes. It can strike up to 12 times in a row. A single bite from a Black Mamba can inject enough venom to kill up to 10-25 grown men, easily killing one unless the appropriate anti-venom is administered in time. When cornered, it will readily attack. When in the striking position, the mamba flattens its neck, hisses very loudly and displays its inky black mouth and fangs. It can rear up around one-third of its body from the ground, which allows it to reach heights of approximately four feet.
In the past, the mortality rate for a Black Mamba bite was nearly 100%, the highest among venomous snakes. Now, because of the development of effective antivenin in Africa, the rate has been decreased to 75% (25% of bite victims now receive antivenin in time to be effective). Depending on the nature of a bite, death can result in as little as 30 minutes or it may take up to 120-180 minutes.
2. Russel Viper
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D. russelii, which is found in Asia throughout the Indian subcontinent, much of Southeast Asia, southern China and Taiwan. Due largest to its irritable nature, it is responsible for more human fatalities than any other venomous snake. Within much of its range, this species is easily the most dangerous viper snake and a major cause of snakebite injury and mortality. It is a member of the big four venomous snakes in India, which are together responsible for nearly all Indian snakebite fatalities.
This snake grows to a maximum length of 166 cm (5.5 ft). The average length is about 120 cm (4 ft) on the mainland, although island populations do not attain this size.
The amount of venom produced by individual specimens is considerable. Reported venom yields for adult specimens range from 130–250 mg to 150–250 mg to 21–268 mg. For 13 juveniles with an average length of 79 cm, the average venom yield was 8–79 mg (mean 45 mg). For most humans a lethal dose is 40–70 mg.
Envenomation symptoms begin with pain at the site of the bite, immediately followed by swelling of the affected extremity. Bleeding is a common symptom, especially from the gums, and sputum may show signs of blood within 20 minutes post-bite. There is a drop in blood pressure and the heart rate falls. Blistering occurs at the site of the bite, developing along the affected limb in severe cases. Necrosis is usually superficial and limited to the muscles near the bite, but may be severe in extreme cases. Vomiting and facial swelling occurs in about one-third of all cases.
Severe pain may last for 2–4 weeks. Locally, it may persist depending on the level of tissue damage. Often, local swelling peaks within 48–72 hours, involving both the affected limb and the trunk. If swelling up to the trunk occurs within 1–2 hours, massive envenomation is likely. Discoloration may occur throughout the swollen area as red blood cells and plasma leak into muscle tissue. Death from septicaemia, respiratory or cardiac failure may occur 1 to 14 days post-bite or even later.
3. Egyptian Cobra – (Naja haje)
The Egyptian Cobra is the most common cobra in Africa and is responsible for many deaths there. It typically makes its home in dry to moist savanna and semi-desert regions, with at least some water and vegetation (never in desert regions). The Egyptian Cobra may also be found in oases, agricultural grounds, hills with sparse vegetation, and grasslands. They frequent human habitat areas and often enter villages and houses, searching for prey such as rats and chickens, which feed on human garbage.
The average adult cobra is 5′ to 6.75′ (1.5-2m) in length, and some have grown to 8′. This snake preys on small mammals, lizards, toads, and other snakes, including other venomous snakes, such as the puff adder.
The average venom quantity typically reaches 175 to 200 mg in a single bite. It has the third most toxic venom of any cobra, after the Philippine Cobra (Naja philippinensis) and the Cape Cobra. However, the Egyptian cobra is considered to be much deadlier than the Northern Philippine Cobra or Cape cobra because it is much larger, more aggressive, and can inject more venom in a single bite. It has neurotoxic venom which affects the nervous system, stopping the nerve signals from being transmitted to the muscles and at later stages stopping those transmitted to the heart and lungs as well, causing death due to complete respiratory failure.
4.The Mozambique Spitting Cobra
Image Courtesy: Britanica
(Naja mossambica) is a type of cobra, native to Africa. In color the snake is slate to olive grey, olive or tawny brown above, with some or all scales black-edging. Below, salmon pink to purple yellowish, with black bars across the neck and ventrals speckled or edged with brown or black; young specimens sometimes have pink or yellow bars on the throat.
It is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa, second only to the Mamba. Like the Rinkhals, it can spit its venom. Its bite causes severe local tissue destruction (similar to that of the puff adder). Venom to the eyes can also cause impaired vision or blindness.
This snake is a nervous and highly strung snake. When confronted at close quarters this snake can rear up to as much as two-thirds of its length, spread its long narrow hood and will readily “spit” in defense, usually from a reared-up position. By doing this the venom can be ejected at a distance of 2-3 meters (5½ – 8¼ feet), with remarkable accuracy. The spitting cobra does not often actually bite despite its aggressive behavior, and also shares the same habit of feigning death to avoid further molestation.
The average length of adults is between 900mm – 1,050mm (2½-3 feet), but largest specimen actually measured was a male 1,442mm (4 feet) long. (Trelawney, Zimbabwe)
When in a confined area like a tube the reptile will bite instead of spit. This is due to its aggressiveness.
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name: eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Crotalus adamanteus is a venomous pitviper species found in the southeastern United States. It is the heaviest (though not longest) venomous snake in the Americas and the largest rattlesnake.
Inhabits upland dry pine forest, pine and palmetto flatwoods, sandhills and coastal maritime hammocks, Longleaf Pine/Turkey Oak habitats, grass-sedge marshes and swamp forest, mesic hammocks, sandy mixed woodlands, xeric hammocks, salt marshes, as well as wet prairies during dry periods. In many areas it seems to use burrows made by gophers and gopher tortoises during the summer and winter. Eastern diamondbacks can live beyond twenty years, but life expectancy in the wild is now typically shorter because of hunting and human expansion.
This species has the reputation of being the most dangerous venomous snake in North America. While not usually aggressive, they are large and powerful. The venom contains a thrombin-like enzyme (TLE), called crotalase, that is capable of clotting fibrinogen, leading to the secondary activation of plasminogen from endothelial cells. Although the venom does not activate platelets, the production of fibrin strands can result in a reduced platelet count, as well as the hemolysis of red blood cells. Even with this defibrination, however, clinically significant bleeding is uncommon. Nevertheless, the venom does exhibit high hemorrhagic activity. It also contains a low-molecular-weight basic peptide that impedes neuromuscular transmission and can lead to cardiac failure.