Putting a definition to snakes that are the “most dangerous” is difficult because it’s a loose phrase. Some snakes are venomous and others are huge and can constrict large animals. This is my thought on which one is the most dangerous and why.

Which snake is the most dangerous in the world? The most dangerous snake I found was the Papuan taipan or any other taipan, followed by the puff adder and barba amarilla. The Papuan taipan is native to New Guinea. It has killed many people there because they do not have as much access to medical care as other places, like Australia.

There are many opinions of which snakes are the most dangerous or most deadly. My choices were based on a 6 point system used for defining which snake is the most deadly.

Papuan Taipans: The Most Dangerous Snake

Taipans are snakes native to Australasia (meaning Australia, New Zealand, and many surrounding islands like New Guinea). There are 3 main species with two subspecies branching off of the coastal taipan. They are large, quick, and extremely venomous. They are considered some of the most deadly. You don’t want to mess with these snakes.

The Papuan taipan is one of the subspecies of the coastal taipan. Generally, these snakes fed on small animals like rats and bandicoots. It injects taicatoxin, a powerful neurotoxic venom, into its victims. The venom will affect how well the blood clots and can cause paralysis. It can cause kidney damage and internal bleeding among other things. If bitten, seek immediate medical care.

In 1950, a man by Kevin Budden, who was an amateur herpetologist, was one of the first successful people to catch a taipan. He, unfortunately, was bitten by it while capturing the snake and he died a day later. The snake died a couple of weeks later. After it died, a Melbourne zoologist milked its venom and used it to study and develop an anti-venom. The anti-venom became available for use in 1955, 5 years later.

Snake Bite Information

Snakes bite in main two distinct ways. Generally, you will see two bite marks if it is venomous because of the two fangs that hold the venom. A nonvenomous snake bite will have a “U” shape to it. It’ll be like a horseshoe but with lots of little puncture marks for all of the teeth.

If you get bitten by a poisonous snake, let’s say its the Papuan taipan, you are going to want medical attention immediately.

Here are a list of things to do:

  • Remain calm. You are not going to die if you take care of yourself properly.
  • Go to the hospital immediately! They know what to do and how to fix the problem.
  • Avoid things like alcohol, cigarettes, etc. (anything that affects your blood or heart rate) before and after for a little while.
  • Do keep the bitten area below the heart, especially if you are unsure whether it was really a poisonous snake or not.

And not to do:

  • Do not use a tourniquet. This can cut blood flow and could lead to amputating the bitten limb.
  • Do not cut an X over the punctured area and suck out the venom. It just does not work that way. Don’t waste your precious time.
  • Do not apply ice.

Most places have the antivenom of the snakes you could potentially run into. The first course of action is to get a hold of yourself or the person bitten and tell them that they are going to the hospital. Keep the bitten area below the heart so the venom doesn’t reach the vital parts, like the heart, as fast.

Tourniquets don’t help. They are painful and cut blood flow. Cutting an X over the wound is so primeval, I do not know why you would think that is effective. Ice does not work either to lower swelling. Like the tourniquet, it will only block blood circulation.

If you get bitten by a regular snake, you won’t have to worry about much. I don’t need to tell you the serious nature of a venomous bite. Either way, I will explain both.

Should you get bitten by a non-venomous snake, you should have some antiseptic soap with you. Clean out the wound with the soap and warm water. Make sure to wash the wounds thoroughly so you don’t leave any room for infection.

Ask your doctor about medical treatment. If you don’t clean it out, then you could get bacteria in the wound. Salmonella is the most frequent that you can get from nonvenomous snake bites.

We have all heard of salmonella. These bacteria are frequently found on reptiles of all kinds. Salmonella has the potential to cause diarrhea, headaches, fever and stomach cramps. In some instances, it can even poison your blood. It’s not a good time, so clean out your wound so there are fewer chances.

Make sure you are taking care of your snake. Feed it regularly about every 10 days. It may bite you on accident if it gets too hungry and it hasn’t been fed. If you take care of your pet, it will trust you more and be calm around you.

It still wants its space. You wouldn’t invade other people’s space abruptly so be respectful of the snake’s space. Don’t frighten it. It might bite you out of protection for itself. When it sheds, don’t mess with it. Leave it alone before, during and after shedding for a little while because it is vulnerable.

Dangerous vs. Deadly

I looked for information in many places and it seems that there is many different opinions. There are many misconceptions surrounding snakes. I want to confront these. Let’s also define what “dangerous” and “deadly” are and explain them.

Dangerous and Deadly are different words that mean different things. Dangerous means that something is able to injure in any way. Deadly means it has the potential to kill. Some snakes just aren’t meant to kill you where others have the potential.

Take a ball python. It’s not very big so it couldn’t constrict you and it is not venomous. It could bite you but it would not do much to you. You would have to clean it out and disinfect it so you don’t get salmonella. It can be dangerous and cause you harm if the circumstances were right.

On the other hand, you could get bitten by a Papuan taipan which kills people frequently from a bite that is much more venomous than a rattlesnake or you could get constricted by a reticulated python and quickly die.

Really this post should be titled, “The most deadly snake in the world” because that is what people are meaning when they look for this. Many of the things I will talk about are misconceptions that we have as people about snakes.

This also plays into my next section which is about how we label snakes wrong as “poisonous snakes” when it should be “venomous snakes.”

Defining “Poisonous” and “Venomous”

First off, we should talk about the words “poisonous” and “venomous.” A lot of people believe that they are synonymous which could not be farther from the truth. According to biologists, they are similar but different words.

“Venomous” means an organism that bites or stings prey and predator to inject toxins into the blood. “Poisonous” on the other hand, is an organism that releases toxins when eaten. Snakes do not release toxins if they are eaten but they do inject toxins from their fangs when they bite, so snakes are venomous.

The only snake that differs from this is the garter snake, which will actually poison you when ingested. This is because these snakes snack on toxic newts and the toxins stay in its liver for a couple of weeks. Besides that, these snakes are the least of your worries. No other snakes are like this.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that snakes are poisonous, you can give them a little lesson on what snakes actually are. Whether they accept it or not is, I can’t say.

Facts and Myths About Snakes that are Venomous

Like many things in life, there are myths and misstated facts surrounding what snakes are venomous and which ones aren’t. Some people say that the triangular head is an indicator but basically, all snakes have triangular heads so that doesn’t work. One thing that you should look for is how broad the head is. It will usually be very wide at the bottom and the neck will be skinnier. That is because the back of the head holds the venom sacs. That is one way to tell the difference.

Naturally, if the snake has a rattle, it’s obviously going to be a rattlesnake and all rattlesnakes are venomous. Stay clear if you hear a rattling noise in rattlesnake country.

Another common thing with venomous snakes is they have elliptical pupils. That means that their eyes are like slits and very small. If you have ever seen a cat’s eyes, you know what I am talking about. Non-venomous snakes have round eyes. Most likely, you won’t get near enough to notice what their eyes look like. You will probably be too startled to notice.

Unfortunately, this is also not always true. The Taipan snake, King cobra, and black mamba are all venomous rounded eyed snakes. My best advice is to just understand what snakes are in the area you are going to be in. This will help narrow what kind of snakes could bite you and it will be easier to remember.

Identification and Personalities of Snakes  

Some venomous snakes are called “pit vipers.” The reason why is because they have a pit between their eyes and nostrils with an organ that senses heat from warm-blooded prey or enemies. Look for this if you can, because this means that the snake is venomous.

Something you should know is that snakes don’t enjoy confrontation. They shy away from it if at all possible. so give them space if possible. You will be less likely to be bitten.

Unfortunately, many snakes get killed because of mistaken identity. Rat snakes are frequently killed by humans who think they are copperhead snakes. Rat snakes actually keep down the population of rats, so we need to keep them alive.

I grew up in Boy Scouts and we learned many phrases that people use to help with remembering venomous snakes. Phrases like “red on black, friendly jack” and “red on yellow kills a fellow.” I think most people have heard these. These phrases are for remembering the coral snake, which is a poisonous snake who has red bands touching yellow. The red on black refers to the scarlet king snake, which is harmless.

Another phrase is used for copperheads and black widows who have hourglass shapes on their bodies. “Hourglass shape, move in haste.” It is not as memorable but it gets the point across. In the end, it’s best to just leave snakes alone and to not engage with them. They want their space.

Snakes are truly incredible animals. They don’t have many advantages, especially from an evolutionary standpoint, but they seem to do well for themselves. They do not have talons, arms, good eyesight, ears, legs, etc. They lack so many things that other creatures have, but yet here they are surviving.

With boas and pythons, which are non-venomous, They have to be quick and thoughtful with their moves. They cannot waste precious energy. They use the technique of striking the prey quickly and then grabbing it with its teeth. Some snakes have teeth that stick back, facing to the throat of the snake. This helps them latch onto the prey so they do not escape.

After that, they wrap their coil around the victim and literally squeeze the life out of them. Snakes can sense the heart beating and breathing motions in whatever it has caught, so when the prey exhales they turn the squeezing up a notch, again and again, until the prey doesn’t get any more air and the dies by suffocation.

This is a really interesting concept to me. It’s like squeezing in stages. Everytime that the prey has to exhale, the snake will tighten its grip a little more. It will keep tightening until it feels the heartbeat of the creature has stopped. It basically punishes the prey for doing what it is “programmed” to do. It’s incredibly effective.

These snakes kill prey differently from venomous snakes. They have to adapt because of the lack of venom. They don’t have the venomous utilities to do the job for them, so they immobilize the prey through quick action and hold on until death takes the creature. This technique is so effective that death can be over in just a couple of minutes.

Snakes are truly incredible animals. They don’t have many advantages, especially from an evolutionary standpoint, but they seem to do well for themselves. They do not have talons, arms, good eyesight, ears, legs, etc. They lack so many things that other creatures have, but yet here they are surviving.

10 Non-Venomous Snake Breeds

If you ever wanted to know what snakes are not going to poison you, here you go:

  • Anacondas
  • Pythons
  • Milk Snake
  • Smooth snakes
  • Rat snakes
  • Garter snakes
  • Kingsnakes
  • Racer snakes
  • Boas
  • Gopher snakes

10 Most Venomous Snake Breeds

If you are interested in the most venomous snakes and why, here you go:

  • Belcher’s sea snake
  • Inland taipan
  • Eastern brown snake
  • Death adder
  • Blue krait
  • Black mamba
  • Tiger Snake
  • Philippine Cobra
  • Saw-scaled viper
  • Rattlesnake

Belcher’s Sea Snake

Belcher’s sea snake is the world’s most venomous snake. How has almost nobody heard of it then? That would probably be for the fact that it lives in the ocean and it is very timid. It won’t attack very often.

This snake just wrecks house. It is somewhere around one hundred times more venomous than other venomous snakes. Your average venomous snake can potentially kill a fair amount of people. The Belcher’s sea snake’s venom can kill over one thousand people with a few milligrams. Wow. That packs a punch ot say the least.

Inland Taipan

The Inland Taipan along with the other taipans are pretty scary. You already know a lot about them, but the inland taipan strikes quickly and accurately multiple times. I guess it just has to be sure. Either way, that gives the shivers.

Eastern Brown Snake

The eastern brown snake is considered by some to be the second most deadly snake in the world. That’s quite a feat. It is a native of Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Amazingly enough, this animal has been seen in cities. It’s not just in remote areas.

It is territorial and will protect its house. Similar to the inland taipan, it will bite multiple times in one attack. Don’t mess with these snakes.

Death Adder

The death adder has a fantastic name. Obviously, it is associated with death because it strikes quickly and waits for the venom to destroy and kill its prey. This snake waits for days for a meal. Once it finds a victim, it’s over. Done deal.

This creature is also incredible at stealth. While waiting for prey, it covers itself with leaves to hide in camouflage. The death adder is a smart snake.

Fun fact: the death adder or the king cobra were supposedly the snakes that killed Cleopatra. They have never decided which one. More modern evidence suggested she killed herself with hemlock and other deadly substances, but it is fun to think about.

Blue Krait

A venomous snake from Thailand called the blue krait is dangerous because more than 50 percent of the bites recorded end in the death of the victim even with an antivenin (antivenom). That’s astounding.  A good antivenin just doesn’t exist out there. Fortunately, these snakes mostly keep to themselves and they are active at night.

Black Mamba

When I hear the phrase “black mamba” I think of the movie “Mega Mind” and his new suit called the black mamba. But this snake is much more deadly than that suit because unlike the suit, the black mamba is a real thing.

This snake is mainly found in Africa. It’s a fast one. It can travel on the ground at 20 km/k (for you Americans, that’s 12.43 mph) making it the fastest snake on the planet. A single bite from this snake is enough to kill ten people. It’s not quite Belcher’s sea snake level but it’s still deadly. It also strikes multiple times.

Tiger Snake

The tiger snake is considered one of the most dangerous human predators. It is aggressive and it is toxic. Don’t mess with this thing. One of the amazing things about it is that it is a survivor. It has somehow been able to survive in the worst of conditions in Australia.

This snake is extremely thick. It is just abnormally wide. If you look at a picture of it from above it just looks funny. It is also recognized by the yellow bands around it.

Before antivenin for it was created, the fatality rate was up to 70%. It’s venom can leave you finding it difficult to breathe. It can can cause paralysis. This snake is not to be messed with.

Philippine Cobra

This snake is the most deadly of all the cobras. Did you know that they can spray their venom? Oh, and it can shoot it up to 3 meters. I would have never guessed that was possible. Don’t mess with this little guy.

The neurotoxin that it produces can cause problems with transmission in nerve signals. Death from one of these can happen within thirty minutes.

Saw-scaled viper

These guys are little but don’t underestimate them. They have a fiery aggression and they are irritable. They don’t waste time in striking. Like with many snakes, they come out at night.

The venom from a saw-scaled viper is slow acting. Because of that, some people are led to a sense of false security and end up dying because they did not seek medical attention. 

Some believe that this snake is responsible for more human deaths than all other types of snakes combined. That’s a tall order but if it is true, that is impressive.

Rattlesnake

Here is the big boy! The American classic as some might say. Well, actually I just said it. Nobody says that.

The rattle snake is probably the most well known snake in the United States. With so many variations like the western and eastern diamondback. Rattlesnakes are a part of the Pit Viper family.

Rattlesnakes have a huge reach when striking. They can strike at a length up to 2/3rd of their body. The venom that they possess is a hemotoxin which means that it destroys tissue and organs. 

One of the most recognizable parts of rattlesnakes is their rattles at the end of their tails. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t know how to recognize them from that. This is how they got their name. This rattle is their way of warning others before it strikes.

This snake is one of the least venomous ones from what I could find. Only four percent of attacks are actually deadly with treatment. Untreated, the potential to die is greater. These snakes can kill you, it’s just not as deadly as others.

Related Questions

What snake kills the most humans? The inland taipan. These snakes are rare to find, but you would not want to anyways. That would be very unlucky. It hides in rocky areas in a remote habitat. You will need immediate medical treatment because it can kill the average human within 45 minutes.

What is the most dangerous snake in the United States? The snake with the most fatal bites in the United States is the duo of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake and the western diamondback rattlesnake. The copperhead has more venomous bites per year than any other North American species, but it is not nearly as fatal as the dynamic diamondback duo.

How fast can a black mamba kill you? The black mamba can create a fatality 20 minutes after injection. It has been documented that someone died after 20 minutes. It has a “fast-acting venom” as some call it. The black mamba has a 100 percent fatality rate if not cured with antivenom.