The World's Deadliest Snakes

Thousands of 10-foot pythons roam the Florida Everglades, menacing man and beast alike. Catharine Skipp prepares to join the historic hunting expedition designed to stamp them out.

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Inland Taipan

Length: 6 to 8 feet
Location: Central Australia

Poisonous Effects: Regarded as the world's most deadly snake, the Inland Taipan's venom is as much as 400 times more toxic than most rattlesnakes and is reportedly able to kill a human with its poison in a mere 30 minutes. It's been estimated that the snake, which tends to wait for its prey to die before feeding, can kill up to 250,000 mice with just one bite.

Terrifying Tale: Though there haven't been any recorded human fatalities from the "Fierce Snake," one bite from this poisonous predator contains enough venom to kill approximately 100 people. In one remarkable story, the Inland Taipan, which was discovered in 1879, disappeared for nearly a century before reemerging in the 1970s. Australian snake expert Graeme Gow has been bitten by nearly 200 major toxic snakes and lived to tell about it. He has since become a medical marvel—scientists have tested his blood for his ability to withstand the venom, but the unofficial Snake Superman still could not completely defeat its fiercest competitor. "All the snakes that have ever bitten me have died, except one—the Inland Taipan," Gow told Australia's Northern Territory News.

Common Krait

Length: Approximately 3 feet
Location: Southern India and Sri Lanka

Poisonous Effects: Far more poisonous than the venom of cobras, Common Kraits can cause muscle paralysis after damaging the nerve endings near brain's synaptic gap. Though these nocturnal creatures only slither and strike when the sun goes down, krait bites are particularly frightening because they usually involve little or no pain.

Terrifying Tale: Though some may recognize the Common Krait as Rikki Tikki Tavi in The Jungle Book, there's nothing amusing about this deadly snake in real life. When a 12-year-old girl in India complained of abdominal pain in 2007, her parents allowed her to stay home from school. But before long, she had difficulty swallowing and could barely stand. By the time her parents brought her to a clinic, she was suffering from ptosis and bulbar palsy. The young girl survived, after proper medical care. A relative killed the three-foot long krait that nearly paralyzed her in their wattle-and-daub home.

Black Mamba

Length: 8 to 14 feet
Location: Africa

Poisonous Effects: Beside being able to move at 10 to 12 miles per hour, the Black Mamba is also the continent's largest venomous snake. The territorial beast will arch its back, balance on the bottom third of its body and rear its head as high as possible, revealing the black lining at the back of its mouth. With a 100 percent mortality rate for Black Mamba bite victims, this snake has the capacity to kill a human in minutes.

Terrifying Tale: Some may be familiar with the Black Mamba's deadly nature from Uma Thurman's character in the Kill Bill series. While 28-year-old British wildlife enthusiast Nathan Layton was training to become a field guide at an African safari college in March 2008, a demonstration went awry. Staff members were attempting to move a Black Mamba from one container to another so that students could observe it when the snake reared up and bit Layton on the finger. Twenty minutes later, the student fell into a coma from which he never recovered.

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Death Adder

Length: 1 to 3.5 feet
Location: Australia and New Guinea

Poisonous Effects: Officially called the Acanthophis, the Deathadder's name says it all. Unlike most snakes, these fatal viper-like creatures do not hunt; instead, they draw their prey to them. A bite initially causes minor paralysis but can lead to death due to respiratory failure after as little as six hours.

Terrifying Tale: Although 26-year-old Lee Thompson had been handling snakes since he was young without a bite to report, that changed in March 2008 when the Australian reptile shop employee was bitten by a Deathadder on his thumb. "I knew not to panic because the heart pumps faster and the venom spreads faster around the body," he told The Daily Mail. Thompson was on the verge of death for four days after his kidneys failed, but eventually recovered once he received anti-venom treatment. But the pet shop worker was not bitter—he instead opted to keep the 16-incher as a pet. "I'm going to keep him for myself as he's the first snake ever to bite me." To each his own.

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Bush Master

Length: 6.5 to 10 feet
Location: Central America, South America, Trinidad

Poisonous Effects: As the longest venomous snake in the Western Hemisphere, the Bushmaster (officially known as the Lachesis) has fittingly long fangs. The world's largest pit viper delivers a massive dose of venom with each bite, attacking its victims' circulatory system and causing organ degeneration. Because the Bushmaster tends to exist in remote areas far from medical assistance, those attacked by this vicious animal tend to die.

Terrifying Tale: Just before Christmas of 2004, a 51-year-old Michigan man was bitten by his own Bushmaster. Police began to investigate and were disgusted by what they found—the victim had 50 other snakes living in his bedroom. Detroit Zoo reptile staff removed the nine-foot snake from the man's home and quarantined it at the zoo. Luckily, there was anti-venom for the Bushmaster victim, according to the Detroit Free Press, which reported that humans have an 80 percent mortality rate if bitten by this particular species.

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Russell's Viper

Length: 4 to 5.5 feet
Location: India, Southeast Asia, Southern China, Taiwan

Poisonous Effects: Reportedly, this venomous snake responsible for more human deaths than any other. When the Russell's Viper feels threatened, it twists into a tight coil, hisses at its prey, and strikes quickly. The Daily Mail reported that 30,000 people a year are bitten by the Russell's Viper, and many die without receiving help.

Terrifying Tale: After Sri Lankan students found a two-headed serpent in 1997, they initially deemed it a python. But wildlife officials concluded it was none other than the deadly Russell's Viper. At just three months old, the freakish creature was a double threat, considering Russell's Vipers are the main causes of snake bite deaths yearly in Sri Lanka. This deadly creature had four eyes, two brains, two tongues, two noses, and two esophagi.

Yellow Jawed Tommygoff

Length: 6 to 7 feet
Location: Eastern Mexico, Central America, Northern South America

Poisonous Effects: Though it's officially known as the Bothrops Asper, the Yellow-Jawed Tommygoff's other nickname is "the ultimate pit viper." Because of its unpredictable nature and the fact that it often lives indoors, it bites often. Its tendency to raise its head high enough to strike above the knee and ability to eject venom up to six feet away only increases the Yellow-Jawed Tommygoff's number of victims.

Terrifying Tale: Known to locals in his Belize neighborhood as Snake Man, Gilbert Usher was showing off his Yellow-Jawed Tommygoff to a tourist family in front of his home. The snake, which Usher caught two months earlier, despite being warned of its fatal capabilities, would not stop moving during the demonstration. As it slithered from his neck to the front of his face, the cold-blooded creature struck its owner on the nose. After 10 days in the local ICU, Channel 5 Belize reported, the Snake Man finally returned to his dangerous habitat.

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Tiger Snake

Length: 3 to 7 feet
Location: Southern Australia and Tasmania

Poisonous Effects: It hasn't been too long since we've seen the words "tiger" and "snake" side by side, but this venomous creature is even less likely to apologize for its misdoings than Mr. Woods. Nevertheless, the Tiger Snake remains one of the deadliest in the world, with its bites resulting in pain, tingling, numbness, and sweating in the foot and neck, quickly followed by difficulty breathing and paralysis.

Terrifying Tale: When a 52-year-old man decided to go on a bushwalking adventure in 1993, it was his final journey. The lone ranger was bitten by a Tiger Snake and was faced with the dilemma of whether to walk in an effort to find help or to stay where he was and hope someone found him, the Courier-Mail reported. He tried to walk, fashioning his shirt into a tourniquet for his leg. But sadly, just before he reached civilization, the venom left him dead on the side of the road, where a fisherman later found him.


Length: 5 to 20 feet (depending on variety)
Location: Everglades National Park, Subsaharan Africa, Peninsular India, Myanmar, Southern China, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia

Poisonous Effects: Although pythons are non-venomous serpents, their size and strength can lead to deadly results. Pythons coil around their prey and constrict their victims to the point of asphyxiation.

Terrifying Tale: Last summer, a Florida man's pet python killed his girlfriend's child. Charles Jason Darnell's 9-foot-long Albino Burmese Python escaped from its aquarium, slithered into the bedroom of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter, Shaiunna Hare, and strangled her in her crib. Shaiunna was the 12th victim of pet pythons nationally since 1980, according to the Humane Society, as reported by the St. Petersburg Times.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Length: 3.5 to 7 feet
Location: Southeastern United States

Poisonous Effects: Easily America's most poisonous snake, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake also has the longest fangs of any rattlesnake species. They are typically averse to human contact, unless provoked. Once bothered, a diamondback will signal displeasure with a shake of its iconic tail. The serpent is capable of striking at up to a third of its length and its venom kills red blood cells and damages tissue.

Terrifying Tale: Miami native Ray "Cobrama" Hunter's lifelong passion for snakes came back to bite him in October 2007 when the 44-year-old's Eastern Diamondback sunk its fangs into his hand. He experienced renal failure and was still hospitalized two weeks after the bite occurred. "I could feel that this thing put a lot of venom in me," Hunter told The Stuart News. The poison, he said, began taking effect quickly as he tried to drive himself to the hospital. He eventually passed out near the emergency room parking lot, where a passerby informed someone he was unconscious behind the wheel. "The problem with working with a lot of snakes is you get complacent," he said.