Friday, July 20, 2012

Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes

The following list is based on their killing potential, meaning, how many lab rats they can actually kill in one bite and then translate that to potential human deaths —assuming a 150 pound (70kg) human being and 20 gram mice. This list isn’t about the most dangerous snakes or the most toxic drop for drop venoms; it is based on a simple calculation of the average venom yield per bite and its toxicity when administered to lab rats. Of course the human metabolism is different than that of a rat; therefore take the results in humans with a grain of salt.

1) Inland Taipan

Oxyuranus microlepidotus
Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 77mg rat 77000 human 44
Mice LD50: 0,025mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 1,75mg

The Inland Taipan, another one on Australia’s big bad snake’s repertoire. This one however, has a special spot on this list as it is regarded as the most venomous snake in the World — the one with the biggest killing potential. Sure there are other marine snakes whose poison is even stronger when compared drop by drop, however, their venom volume is far from enough to consider them life threatening.

2) Common Krait

Bungarus caeruleus
Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 30mg rat 18750 human 11
Mice LD50: 0,04mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 2,8mg

Kraits come in many different flavors, there are 12 species in total and all of them are extremely deadly. The Common Krait with an average length of 3 feet (1m) is just one of these species; it can be found in the low scrub jungles of the Indian sub-continent. They prey on other snakes and can even turn cannibalistic. They are not aggressive toward humans even when provoked, they prefer to coil and hide their heads for protection. The bites are usually a result of close encounters in inhabited areas; sometimes these snakes chose to make human habitation their own.

3) Tiger Snake

Notechis scutatus
Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 112mg rat 13333 human 8
Mice LD50: 0,21mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 14,7mg

Can you guess where this one comes from? You got it right; the Tiger Snake happily roams around Southern Australia and Tasmania. These snake can differ broadly in their appearance but they usually have stripes resembling those of a Tiger (hence the name) and they can reach a length of up to 6 feet (2m). These snakes are not naturally aggressive toward humans; they tend to announce their presence and attempt to flee.
4) Common Death Adder

Acanthophis antarcticus
Common Death Adders have broad flattened, triangular heads and thick bodies. Reaching a length of 70-100 centimeters, they are light brown with dull, darker brown-black stripes running horizontally across their bodies. Their fangs are longer than most of Australia’s venomous snakes.

5) Eastern Brown Snake

Pseudonaja textilis
Avg. Venom per bite: 10mg rat 6950 human 4
Mice LD50: 0,036mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 2,52mg

A native of Australia, the snake also known as the Common Brown Snake can grow up to 6 feet (2m) in length. These snakes are known for having the 2nd most powerful venom of all land snakes, right after the Inland Taipan. Fortunately the Eastern Brown snake usually flees from humans, though it can get aggressive if provoked or if the snake feels trapped. In search for rodents, this snake is attracted to farms and rural areas; these places are where most of the reported bites in humans come from. These bites usually end with the victim’s death after just a few hours.

6) Black Mamba

Dendroaspis polylepis
Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 85mg rat 6640 human 4
Mice LD50: 0,32mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 22,4mg

Contrary to what the name suggests, the Black Mamba isn’t black, at least not from the outside. The name derives from the black color inside its mouth. This sub equatorial African snake is the record holder for the fastest snake on the planet with speeds up 14mph (23km/h); the size isn’t shy either, this snake can reach up to 13 feet (4.3m) in length.

7) Russel’s Viper

Daboia russelii
Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 190mg rat 6300 human 3
Mice LD50: 0,75mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 52,5mg

Found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, this viper can reach up to 5.5 feet. (180cm) Russell’s vipers tend to avoid dense forests and are usually found in the open, grassy or bushy areas. These snakes are usually calm and sluggish and won’t react to provocation unless pushed beyond a certain limit; at which they become aggressive to a point of striking with such might that they lift their entire bodies off the ground. These vipers are believed to be heat-sensitive like the pit vipers even though they don’t have the characteristic pit of the later.

8) Carpet Viper

Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 20mg rat 3300 human 2
Mice LD50: 0,15mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 10,5mg
The Saw-Scaled or Carpet Viper is relatively small (Up to 30 inches or 75cm) and ill tempered, it is found north of the equator, in Africa and in the Middle East.

9) Beaked Sea Snake

Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 8,5mg rat 1930 human 1
Mice LD50: 0,11mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 7,7mg
Also known as the hook-nosed sea snake or the common sea snake, this species is found all over the coastline of the Indian Ocean from Madagascar to Australia. It is notoriously aggressive and readily provoked; being responsible for nine out of every ten deaths from sea snake bites.

10 Bushmaster

Certain deaths with one bite
Avg. Venom per bite: 400mg rat 1650 human 1
Mice LD50: 6mg/kg
Estimated Human LD50: 420mg
The Bushmaster is found in the South American equatorial forests and can easily reach 9 feet (3m) in length, sometimes over 12 feet (4m), making them the biggest vipers in the World. They are known in Brazilian slang as “surucucu”, where legend say it sucks the milk from cows and sleeping women. It kills oxes in the Costa Rica as “matabuey”. It killed entire mule trains, according to reports from early New World explorers.