Nature is full of wonderful things and miracles that you would not believe had they not been documented but it can also be absolutely terrifying. Take for example, the humble snake. This legless, slithering creature should not be as terrifying as it is but with so many deadly breeds and venemous off shoots they can be fearsome foes. Here we catalogue 21 of the fiercest and deadliest of them all.
1. Black Mamba
Found in Africa and named because of the coloration around their mouths, these snakes can kill with one bite, which is worrying since typically they deliver a series of bites in rapid succession. Its venom can cause collapse within 45 minutes and will kill within 7 - 15 hours if not treated.
Named because of the sound it makes to warn that it feels threatened, it shakes its rattling tail to let you know to stay away and that is probably a good idea as their venom can destroy tissue and cause massive blod clots. What's worse is that they can control how much venom to inject and some types of rattlesnake can paralyze with it. Typically found in North America they are also found in parts of the South as well.
3. Death Adder
The clue is in the name here. Death Adders are typically found in Australia and New Guinea and can deliver a bite that paralyzes, if this is left untreated it can cause complete respiratory failure within six hours although they are not active hunters. Prefering to lie in hiding for their prey, they use the tip of their tail, which looks somewhat like a worm, to attract rodents and birds before ambushing them.
Found across the globe, these snakes can be particularly dangerous due to their hollow, hinged fangs that allow them to penetrate deeply and inject their venom, the amount of which they can control. Death is usually caused by a collapse in blood pressure due to clotting and blood loss as well as other cardiovascular problems.
5. Phillippine Cobra
Native to the northern Phillippines, this snake is known for being able to spit its venom up to three metres. A neurotoxin that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and can lead to complete respiratory failure.
6. Tiger Snake
As if snakes weren't scary enough, this one is named after a deadly mammal because of its unique coloration. Found in Australia, they can reach up to three metres long and a bite can kill within 30 minutes.
7. Inland Taipan
Australia seems to have a wealth of horrifying reptiles including the Inland Taipan whose bite can kill within the hour. Usually quite timid, they can be incredibly aggressive when deciding to attack. Drop for drop, the most venomous snake in the world.
8. Blue Krait
Of Souteast Asian origin, these beautiful creatures can be found in places like India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka but should be feared as even after treatment of their venom, it has still been known to kill.
9. Eastern Brown Snake
Considered the world's 2nd most venomous snake, it is native to Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. Typically this species doesn't issue fatal bites but it does have the power to do so and they should be treated immediately. Because of their mainly rodent diet they are often found near houses or farms thus making them that much more dangerous.
10. Central Ranges Taipan
Large, fast and extremely deadly, this snake wasn't 'discovered' until 2007 because it was confused with the Western Brown Snake due to its similar shape and coloring.
11. Belcher's Sea Snake
Not regarded as very dangerous due to its timid nature and reluctance to bite unless mistreated or threatened, most people who are bitten are often fisherman handling nets and even then the snake will not inject its venom. However, it's venom is so powerful that it is understood that just a few milligrams of it could kill up to a thousand people.
12. African Puff Adder
With the highest fatal bite rate of any snake across the continent, the African Puff is well known in that part of the world and can be found lounging in the sun on the side of roads or near houses. Bites can lead to immovable limbs and if not treated carefully can lead to muscles seperating from the tissue with survival rates varying wildly depending on a series of complex factors.
13. Forest Cobra
The biggest cobra in the whole of Africa, it can reach up to 2.2 metres in length and can climb trees of 10 metres with great rapidity and ease. Easily agitated it can deliver neurotoxins that stop the heart and lungs from working.
14. Desert Horned Viper
With an impressive set of devils horns, these animals are found in Northern Africa and the Middle East where they move by sidewinding, leaving whole impressions of their body in the sand as they move diagonally across loose material. Envenomation usually causes swelling, haemorrhage, necrosis, nausea, vomiting and haematuria but can be treated.
A tree dwelling snake of sub-saharan Africa with large eyes and a small head, the boomslang's venom is often slow acting so can take hours to show any signs of taking affect but when it does victims often die of internal bleeding.
16. King Cobra
The largest venomous snake in the world, it can grow up to four metres long and has a distinct hood that they extend in a defensive posture. Typically they avoid confrontation with humans and issue a warning growl rather than a hiss. Records of its bites are extremely rare but its venom, which it can deliver up to 500mg of in one bite, can kill within 30 minutes if the antivenom is not admibistered. Worshipped in parts of India and Burma, it is possibly the most iconic snake globally.
17. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
The largest of their species, they are also the heaviest venous snake reaching up to 10kg in weight. Found in the Southeast of the USA they are not usually agressive.
18. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Found in Mexico and the Southwest of the US, they are more venomous than their Eastern counterparts and are known for the majority of snakebite fatalities in Mexico and second most in the US with a venom that can destroy tissue.
19. Coral Snakes
Extremely venomous, a bite from one of these highly colored snakes needs to be treated immediately although it is rare they will bite as they inhabit sparsely populated areas and often flee.
20. Speckled Brown Snake
Found across Australia, even young snakes can deliver enough venom to kill a human within the hour if not treated immediately.
21. Russell's Viper
A bite from one of these is known to be immensely painful causing blistering, bruising and internal bleeding and treatment must be sought immediately.