World Snake Day is marked annually on July 16 to raise awareness about the prominent role the reptiles play in maintaining ecological balance. There are over 35,000 species of snakes in the world, of which only about 600 are poisonous.
Here are some of the deadliest, most venomous snakes in the world, courtesy of Britannica and Safaris Africana.
Saw Scaled Viper
This species of snake is found in India and the Middle East. It is believed to be responsible for the majority of human deaths caused by snake bites each year. The saw-scaled viper’s venom is deadly in less than 10% of untreated victims.
The boomslang is a venomous snake measuring up to 1.6 meters, and is a native of sub-Saharan Africa. It has an egg-shaped head and its venom, which affects blood coagulation, causing internal or external bleeding that may lead to the victim’s death. It injects its venom with the use of its large fangs. Its jaw can open 170 degrees when biting.
The banded krait can be found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is a close relative of the cobra. The krait has distinguished black and bright yellow crossbands on its body, with marked vertebral ridge. They do not attack unless provoked. They are known to be shy nocturnal animals. One bite from this snake can cause respiratory failure and suffocation.
This venomous snake is very unpredictable, and its venom is extremely painful. Barba amarilla, which is Spanish for “yellow beard,” is characterized by a flattened head. They are very fast-moving.
The black mamba is often regarded as one of the fastest snakes in the world. It is large in size and ranges in color from gray to dark brown. The black mamba’s extremely potent venom kills most humans.
The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, and people dread it for its highly deadly venom. One bite can kill a creature as large as an elephant within hours.
Eastern Brown Snake
These are solitary snakes found in dense forests. They are the world’s second most venomous snake. These snakes coil to an “S” shape when attacking its prey. The technique results in cardiovascular collapse and cardiac arrests.
The inland taipan is the world’s most venomous snake and is nicknamed “the fierce snake.” Its venom is a cocktail of neurotoxins, procoagulants and myotoxins — all causing paralysis to muscles.