The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is the longest venomous snake in Africa, averaging around 2.5 meters (8.2 ft), and sometimes growing up to 4.3 meters (14 ft). Its name is derived from the black colouration inside the mouth; the actual colour of the skin varies, from dull yellowish-green to a gun-metal gray. It is the fastest snake in the world, capable of moving at 4.5 to 5.4 metres per second (16–20 km/h, 10–12 mph).
The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the world’s longest venomous snake, with a length up to 5.6 m (18.5 ft). This species is widespread throughout Southeast Asia and parts of India, and is found mostly in forested areas. The king cobra can be fierce, agile, and can deliver a large quantity of highly potent venom in a single bite. It is one of the most dangerous and feared Asiatic snakes.
The Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), also known as the Small Scaled Snake and Fierce Snake, is native to Australia and is regarded as the most venomous land snake in the world based on LD50 values in mice. It is a species of taipan belonging to the Elapidae family. Although highly venomous, it is very shy and reclusive, and always prefers to escape from trouble (the word “fierce” from its other name is actually describing its venom but not temperament)
The taipan was named by Donald Thomson after the word used by the Wik-Mungkan Aboriginal people of central Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia.
There are three known species: the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), the inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) and a recently discovered third species, the Central Ranges taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis).The coastal taipan has two subspecies: the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus), found along the north-eastern coast of Queensland and the Papuan taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus canni), found on the southern coast of Papua New Guinea. Their diet consists primarily of small mammals, especially rats and bandicoots.
One species, the inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), which is endemic to Australia, has the most toxic venom of any terrestrial snake species worldwide (though the venom of some marine snakes is more toxic, i.e. has a lower LD50). Pseudonaja textilis intervenes between the inland and coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) which has the third most toxic venom of any land snake. O. temporalis may be even more lethal, but has been less researched than other species of this genus. Toxicity is measured as LD50 in mg/kg for mice (human testing is obviously not possible). Venom yield also must be taken into account. The venom clots the victim’s blood, blocking blood vessels and using up clotting factors. It is also highly neurotoxic. There were no known survivors of a Taipan bite before an antivenene was developed and, even then, victims often require extended periods of intensive care.
The coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) is the third most venomous land snake in the world, and arguably the largest venomous snake in Australia. Its venom contains taicatoxin, a highly potent neurotoxin. The danger posed by the coastal taipan was brought to Australian public awareness in 1950, when young herpetologist Kevin Budden was fatally bitten in capturing the first specimen available for antivenom research. The coastal taipan is often considered to be one of the deadliest species in the world
Coral snakes are most notable for their red, yellow/white, and black colored banding. (However, several nonvenomous species have similar coloration, including the scarlet snake, genus Cemophora, some of the kingsnakes and milk snakes, genus Lampropeltis, and the shovelnose snakes, genus Chionactis.) In some regions, the order of the bands distinguishes between the non-venomous mimics and the venomous coral snakes, inspiring some folk rhymes — “Red on yellow, kill a fellow; “Red on black, friend of Jack”; and perhaps the best-known version, “Red into black, venom lack; red into yellow, kill a fellow.” However, this reliably applies only to coral snakes native to North America: Micrurus fulvius (Eastern or common coral snake), Micrurus tener (Texas coral snake), and Micruroides euryxanthus (Arizona coral snake), found in the southern and western United States. Coral snakes found in other parts of the world can have distinctly different patterns, have red bands touching black bands, have only pink and blue banding, or have no banding at all.
Most species of coral snake are small in size. North American species average around 3 feet (91 cm) in length, but specimens of up to 5 feet (150 cm) or slightly larger have been reported. Aquatic species have flattened tails acting as a fin, aiding in swimming.
Tiger snakes are a type of venomous serpent found in southern regions of Australia, including its coastal islands and Tasmania. These snakes are highly variable in their colour, often banded like those on a tiger, and forms in their regional occurrences. All populations are in the genus Notechis, and their diverse characters have been described in further subdivisions of this group; they are sometimes described as distinct species and/or subspecies.
Adult Eastern Brown Snakes are highly variable in colour. Whilst usually a uniform shade of brown, they can have various patterns including speckles and bands, and range from a very pale fawn colour through to black, including orange, silver, yellow and grey. Juveniles can be banded and have a black head, with a lighter band behind, a black nape, and numerous red-brown spots on the belly.
This species has an average length of 1.5–1.8 m and it is rarely larger than 2 m. Large Eastern Brown Snakes are often confused with “King Brown” snakes (Pseudechis australis), whose habitat they share in many areas.
Anacondas are large, nonvenomous boas of the genus Eunectes. They are found in tropical South America.
The most familiar species is the green anaconda, Eunectes murinus, notable for being one of the world’s largest snakes. They are found east of the Andes, Venezuela, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and on the island of Trinidad.
Other anacondas are the yellow anaconda, Eunectes notaeus, a smaller species found in eastern Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina, the dark-spotted anaconda, Eunectes deschauenseei, a rare species found in northeastern Brazil, coastal French Guiana and Guyana; and the Bolivian anaconda, Eunectes beniensis, discovered in 2002 in the flood plains of Bolivia’s Pando province. It was the first new anaconda species identified since 1936, and became only the fourth known type of that reptile, according to the WWF.
All four species are aquatic snakes that prey on other aquatic animals, including fish, river fowl, caiman, and capybaras. Some accounts exist of anacondas preying on domestic animals such as goats and ponies that venture too close to the water.
While encounters between people and anacondas may be dangerous, they do not regularly hunt humans. Nevertheless, threat from anacondas is a familiar trope in comics, movies and adventure stories set in the Amazon jungle. Anacondas have also figured prominently in South American folklore, where they are sometimes depicted as shapeshifting mythical creatures called encantados. Local communities and some European explorers have given accounts of giant anacondas, legendary snakes of much greater proportion than any confirmed specimen.
Applied loosely, the term “anaconda” may also refer to any large snake that “crushes” its prey by constricting.
A spitting cobra is one of several species of cobras that have the ability to eject venom from their fangs when defending themselves against predators. The sprayed venom is harmless to intact skin. However, it can cause permanent blindness if introduced to the eye and left untreated (causing chemosis and corneal swelling).
Despite their name, these snakes do not actually spit their venom. The venom sprays out in distinctive geometric patterns, using muscular contractions upon the venom glands. These muscles squeeze the glands and force the venom out through forward facing holes at the tips of the fangs. The explanation that a large gust of air is expelled from the lung to propel the venom forward has been proven wrong. When cornered, some species can “spit” their venom a distance as great as two metres. While spitting is typically their primary form of defense, all spitting cobras are capable of delivering venom through a bite as well. Most species’ venom exhibit significant hemotoxic effects, along with more typical neurotoxic effects of other cobra species.
Puff adder is the common name of several snake species:
Bitis arietans, a venomous snake species found in Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula
Bitis, any other member of this genus
Heterodon, a genus of harmless North American colubrid snakes
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