Snakes are elongated, carnivorous reptiles which are legless. They are different from legless lizards in that, they lack eyelids and external ears. Every continent with the exception of Antarctica has living snakes. There are more than 3000 species of snakes in the world. Snakes also vary in sizes. According to National Geographic, the thread snake is the world’s smallest snake. It is approximately 10cm long. The largest snake ( reticulated python ) is about 9 metres long.
Most snake species are nonvenomous. The few venomous ones (cobra) use their venom mainly to kill and weaken their prey. Nonvenomous snakes either kill their prey by constriction or swallow it alive like the python. Some species possess venom lethal enough to cause death or painful injury to human beings. Actually, snake venom is saliva which has been modified for use in self defense and prey immobilization. Usually, the venom is delivered via highly specialised teeth and hollow fungs directly into the tissue or bloodstream of the target.
It is not correct to say that venomous snakes are poisonous. Poison and venom are two different terms. Poisons are absorbed through the digestive system or skin while venom is introduced directly into the tissues or bloodstream mechanically. The following are the
Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes In The World 2017
Belcher’s sea snake
The snake is quite familiar. Its size ranges from 0.5-1 metre long. You may have either spotted it in films or in person. Its paddle -like tail is specially adapted for swimming.Their stripes make them easily recognizable. They cannot confront you unless severally threatened. They confront by biting. Most victims are fishermen handling nets. Only a quarter of Belcher’s sea snakes carry venom. The concentration of the venom is so high that a few milligrams of it can kill thousands of human beings. This qualifies it to be among the Top 10 most venomous snake in the world However, most of them have a docile personality which makes them quite harmless.
This is another snake which quickly comes into your mind when you think about poisonous snakes.They are a type of viber located throughout the Americas. They like living near open and rocky areas. These habitats are full of preys such as rodents. The habitats also protect them potential predators. However, they can also be found in deserts, forests and marshes. Their name comes from the rattle found at the end of their tail which creates a peculiar noise.
This rattling noise serves to scare away predators or passers by. They are responsible for a large number of snake injuries in North America. They rarely bite unless one threatens them. Most species regulate the amount of venom that they release.Of all rattlesnakes, Eastern Diamondbacks are the most dangerous. Luckily, only a small percentage (4%) of bites result in fatalities. If untreated, a rattlesnake bite can kill. The poison may also cause permanent damage to organs and even cause loss of a limb.
These snakes can be found throughout, New Guinea, Australia and several other regions. Their pupils are vertical and they have many scales on the top of their head. Unlike other snakes, they don’t hunt but instead they conveniently bury themselves below sand, soil or leaf litter. They only expose their head and tail which of course are well camouflaged. Their bite can lead to respiratory arrest, paralysis and death inside six hours. Early treatment can save a life but untreated bites (50% of bites) can be extremely dangerous to human bodies. These snakes also prey on other snakes.
This snake is very rare to find. This is because they appear above the ground for a very short time during the day. They are also remote. It is about 1.8 metres long. Larger species can grow up to 2.5 metres long.It defends itself if provoked.Its venom is perfectly suited to hunt warm blooded mammals. It strikes by making a single bite or several quick bites. The venom of this snake is so lethal that it was rated as one of the most poisonous snake venoms in LD50 tests on mice. An individual bite from this snake is lethal enough to kill 100 mature men!
Eastern Brown Snake
This snake is among the few snakes which are aggressive. The members of this species are averagely between 1.1-1.8 metres long. Larger species can grow up to 2.4 metres long. It is commonly found in Australia. It may also be found in populated areas like cities, savannah woodlands, inner grasslands, farmland and arid scrubland. It will chase any intruder it perceives as a threat from its territory. It will only bite if its not assured of its safety. It may bite several times during a single attack. Less than half of them contain venom. A bite by a poisonous Eastern Brown Snake can lead to paralysis or even death. Its aggressiveness and closeness to population centers qualifies it to be among the Top 10 most venomous snake in the world.
It is also known as the Malayan Krait. Its average length is about 108 cm long. It is commonly found in the peninsula Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Sumatra in South East Asia. There are broad black bands across its white body.
Though unpopular, its venom is 16 times more lethal than that of a cobra. There is no medication that can effectfully cure its bite. Its lethality even after the administration of antivenom is 50%.Minus antivenom, it is 70% lethal for human beings. It mostly comes out at night hence easy to avoid.
It is commonly found in Africa. It got its name not from its external color but from the color of its mouth (inky-black). It is the longest venomous snake in Africa with an average length of between 2-3 metres. Some can grow up to 4.5 metres long. They usually dwell in trees. Its single bite contains venom that can kill 10 people. Their toxic can cause collapse in less than 45 minutes. Without antivenom, death can occur between 10-15 hours. It is the fastest snake in the world in that ,it can move at a speed of 11km/hr over relatively shorter distances. Its attack involves biting the victim several times. It prefers arid environments like light woodlands, rocky outcrops and scrub. However, it rarely attacks humans because it likes avoiding populated places.
It is common found in Australia. It is easy to recognize because of its yellow bands and width. They are banded like tigers hence the name tiger snakes. The snake uses venom to subdue its prey. They may also bite an intruder. Its bite can cause : tingling, numbness, paralysis, sweating, pain in the neck and foot region and breathing difficulties. The mortality rate of its bites is between 40-60%. The availability of antivenoms has greatly reduced deaths arising from its bite.
Its wide neck collar makes it easy to spot. It forms a hood when threatened. Its average length is 1metre but they can grow up to a length of 1.6 metres long. Its habitat include : low lying plains, open fields, grasslands , human settlements , agricultural fields and forested regions. This species is also commonly found in water bodies such as rivers and ponds. Their venom is so lethal. They can even poison you by spitting. They can even spit at you from a distance of 3 metres. Their venom can lead to paralysis and neurotoxity.
Saw Scaled Viper
It is commonly found in the middle east and the far east. It normally comes out during the dark. They rub sections of their body together to produce a ‘sizzling’ sound. This sound serves as a warning incase of threats. They have a unique behavior of moving towards the aggressor when offended. Their venom is slow acting making the victim stay too long before seeking treatment. Early treatment can save lives but individuals who remain untreated undergo slow, painful death over a period of two to four weeks. This attributes qualifies the snake to be among the Top 10 most venomous snake in the world.
By the end of this article, you get to learn about some of the most poisonous snakes in the world. Some can easily be avoided while others can even make their way into your house located in the middle of a city. It is evidenced from the article that most snakes would not harm you unless you invade their territory. It is also important to seek urgent medical treatment incase you are bit by a snake. Prompt medical attention will increase your chances of survival. Finally,the following factors are used when ranking venomous snakes :
(a) Toxity of venom
(b) Length of fangs
(c) Number of deaths annually from each species.
(d)Typical defensive disposition
(e) Average size of a mature snake.
(f) Their average venom yield in a bite.