What are the five most venomous land snakes?

What are the five most venomous land snakes?

There are over 3,000 species of snake worldwide. Of the 600 poisonous types, only 200 species have venom strong enough to harm or kill a human - and the top three most venomous snakes on Earth are all native to one country - read on to find out which one. 
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There are over 3,000 species of snake worldwide. Of the 600 poisonous types, only 200 species have venom strong enough to harm or kill a human - and the top three most venomous snakes on Earth are all native to one country - read on to find out which one.  

What's the world's most venomous snake?

The most venomous snake on Earth is the deadly Dandarabilla, otherwise known as the Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus). Estimates suggest that venom in one bite could kill 100 adult humans. It is native to Australia and lives in the remote semi-arid region where the Queensland and South Australia borders meet. The Dandarabilla makes its nest in holes dug by other animals. It is a specialist hunter of mammals, and its venom is adapted to kill warm-blooded species. When a Dandarabilla prepares to pounce, it curls its body tightly before lashing out and will strike with one quick bite or multiple bites in the same attack. Each bite will inject a deadly dose of venom in almost every case. The poison is Taipoxin, a concentrated mix of neurotoxins, procoagulants, and myotoxins that paralyse and damage muscles, hinder breathing, and cause haemorrhaging in blood vessels and tissues.

Inland Taipan

Oxyuranus microlepidotus at Australia Zoo photo by XLerate

 What's the second most venomous land snake?

The second most venomous land snake lives in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. The Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) is responsible for more deaths from snakebite in Australia than any other species. It is extremely fast; according to Australian naturalist David Fleay, it can outpace a person running at full speed. A mature Eastern Brown Snake can grow up to 2m long. Its colour ranges from light brown to almost black, and it has a cream-yellow underside, with orange, brown or grey splodges. The Eastern Brown Snake is known by different names to the various indigenous Australian tribes local to its habitat. It is called marragawan by the Eora and Darug people in the Sydney basin, goobalaang to the Dharawal people of Illawarra. Warralang is the reconstructed name in the Wiradjuri language of southern New South Wales. 

Deadly snakes poster published by Museum Victoria in 1877

Deadly snakes poster published by Museum Victoria in 1877

Discovering a new taipan species

The third most poisonous land snake is the Central Ranges Taipan snake (Oxyuranus temporalis). It was discovered in 2007 - the first new taipan species discovered in 125 years! Dr Mark Huchinson, a reptile and amphibian curator at South Australia Museum found the first example of this species. It was an immature snake, approximately 3m long. Three years later, a second specimen, this time of an adult female, was discovered by the Spinifex people, 425 km south of the location of the initial discovery. It has a brown body, which can be shades of light or dark brown and lives in the dry, arid areas of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 

Central Ranges Taipan

Central Ranges Taipan by DEC

What makes a snake dangerous?

The Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), otherwise known as the common taipan, is the fourth most poisonous land snake globally. It lives in Australia and New Guinea. Their fangs can grow up to 13mm, the longest of all Australian snakes. They are considered one of the most dangerous snakes, as not only are they very quick, they are also extremely alert and with a nervous disposition. The Coastal Taipan will launch themselves on their prey with extreme speed and accuracy, and as the snake is so swift and light, a human being may be bitten several times without realising it. Untreated Coastal Taipan bites result in nearly 100% fatality. According to the Australian Museum
"The venom affects the nervous system and the blood's ability to clot, and victims may experience headache, nausea/vomiting, collapse, convulsions (especially in children), paralysis, internal bleeding, myolysis (destruction of muscle tissue) and kidney damage. The onset of serious symptoms is often rapid, so anyone suspected of receiving a bite must seek medical attention immediately, no matter how trivial the bite may appear."

Coastal Taipan

Coastal Taipan by AllenMcC

What happens if you're bitten by a poisonous snake?

The many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus), also known as the Taiwanese krait or the Chinese krait, is the fifth most poisonous land snake globally. It has a black or blue-black body with horizontal white rings and a white underside. You'll find the many-banded krait in marshy areas of China and Southeast Asia. It's a nocturnal snake that is timid and calm by nature. It eats other snakes, including its own species, as well as rodents, eels, frogs, and lizards. 
If this snake bites you, the effects will begin to show one to six hours later. Symptoms may include:
Bilateral ptosis (droopy eyelids).
Diplopia (double vision).
Discomfort in the chest.
General aches.
Weakness in limbs.
Ataxia (disorders that affect coordination, balance and speech).
Glossolysis (paralysis of the tongue).
Loss of voice.
Dysphagia (swallowing difficulties).
Tunnel vision.
Difficulty breathing.

    Many Banded Krait by Skink Chen

    Many Banded Krait by Skink Chen

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