The 10 Ugliest Snakes in the World

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: May 30, 2022
© Mike Wilhelm/Shutterstock.com
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When it comes to ugly animals there are a fair share of animals that may make you cringe. Take the naked mole rat for example or do a quick search for the blobfish. They certainly don’t have “cute”, “fuzzy” or “cuddly” to go with their image. When it comes to snakes some people may think they are all ugly or at least scary. Others may find snakes to be beautiful works of nature. While appearances are subjective, one thing that can’t be argued about snakes on this list is they’re highly unusual looking.

So, what are the strangest, ugliest snakes around? What makes them so ugly? Let’s look at the 10 Ugliest Snakes in the World!

10) Blind Worm Snake

European worm snake or blind snake, Typhlops vermicularis. Blind snakes look like worms, often featuring a gray or pink body.
Blind Worm snakes look just like earthworms but they are actually snakes.

©iStock.com/MikeLane45

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Is it an earthworm or a snake? The blind worm snake is actually a snake but is tiny, a little bigger than an earthworm. Most are around 6-12 inches long although some species get to be longer. There are 200 different species of blind snakes but they share the same characteristics of looking more like worms and being blind. They live underground and burrow through the soil and dirt so they don’t really need eyesight. If you look at an earthworm you cannot see any eyes but the blind worm snakes do have tiny black eyes on their head. You probably have never heard anyone say “As cute as a worm” and the same goes for this worm-like snake.

9) Malagasy Leaf-Nosed Snake

malagasy leaf-nosed snake
Malagasy Leaf-nosed snakes have a very unique nose that looks like a leaf.

©reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

One look at this snake and you might do a double-take. Is that real or photoshopped? But leaf-nosed snakes are real and they have a very unique (polite way of saying ugly) look. Their nose literally looks like a long skinny leaf. Some have more of a pointed nose and others have leafy-edged nose. The Malagasy leaf-nosed Snake lives in Madagascar but other leaf-nosed snakes do live in the United States. As a burrowing snake, it is unlikely you will see one because they burrow during the day and come out at night to hunt for a lizard or insect snack.

8) Desert Horned Viper

sahara horned viper
Horned desert vipers have two spikey horns on top of their heads.

©reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

The desert horned viper is a smaller snake, not more than 2 feet long, but they have two horns on their head, one over each eye. They are sand-colored to blend in with their desert habitat and have light brown splotches along their back. These vipers move in a sidewinding motion and if you see one you should probably take cover. They are a venomous snake that can inflict a painful bite with unpleasant side effects. Seek medical attention if you are bitten by one of these horned vipers. They are a pretty common snake in the Middle East and northern Africa.

7) Nose-Horned Viper

A close-up of female nosed-horned viper. The most noticeable thing about this snake is the fleshy horn atop its snout.
Nose-horned vipers only have one horn on their head.

©taviphoto/Shutterstock.com

While the desert horned viper has two horns, the nose-horned viper only has one, on the end of its nose. Herpetologists are people that study snakes and they are at a loss as to why these snakes have a horn. Their base color is tan to brown and they have a dark brown zig-zag pattern going down their back. These vipers are 2-3 feet long and live in southern European countries. They are not aggressive snakes but they are very venomous.

6) Rhinoceros Viper

River Jack Snake or Rhinoceros Viper
The Rhinoceros Viper has a wild coloration and pattern along with several horns on its snout. Definitely one of the ugliest snakes in the world.

©Olivia Lundborg/Shutterstock.com

Whoa, there is a lot going on with this snake! With the name rhinoceros, we must assume this is another horned snake, but the horns are not the first thing you notice with this snake. Going against all fashion rules the rhinoceros snake mixes patterns and prints in a wild display of colors. They have geometric shapes all over their body in bright green, red, orange, yellow, blue, and black. Their heads have a large black arrowhead on the top and several horns on the tip of their nose. They get to be 2-3 feet long and are a thick-bodied snake which is also venomous. Rhino vipers live in the tropical rainforests of West and Central Africa.

5) Gaboon Viper

Gaboon viper on the ground
These snakes have the longest fangs of all the venomous snakes. Some can be almost 2 inches long!

©Stu Porter/Shutterstock.com

The Gaboon viper may want to look into Invisaline or an orthodontist with fangs that are nearly two inches long they look a little odd. They have the longest fangs of any venomous snake and are also the heaviest venomous snake in Africa. Some can get to be 6 feet long and weigh 18 pounds, so that’s a good-sized snake! Their head looks abnormally large compared with their narrow neck and has two horns on the tip of the snout. The head is followed by a thick body and a short tail. There are rectangle-like hourglass markings along their back in a mix of colorations that blend in with the tropical rainforest floor where they live. Gaboon vipers are not native to the US but live in sub-Saharan Africa.

4) Tentacled Snake

Weirdest Snakes - Tentacled Snake
One of the ugliest snakes in the world is the Tentacle snake. These aquatic snakes have two tentacles coming off the front of their snouts.

©/Shutterstock.com

The tentacle snake does not have 8 tentacles like an octopus but it does have two tentacle-like appendages that extend off the front of its snout. Their heads and bodies are flat, really flat, and they look like a long mossy twig or branch. In fact, if a predator approaches they will immediately freeze in a rigid stick-like position instead of swimming away! They are aquatic snakes that spend almost all their time in the water. Tentacled snakes live in Southeast Asia in the coastal areas of countries like Vietnam and Thailand. Most Tentacled snakes are between 1-2 feet long, so not a very large snake and easy to mistake for a twig.

3) Burmese Python

Burmese Python stretched out on grass.
Burmese Pythons can get to be 23 feet long and weigh 200 pounds!

©Yatra/Shutterstock.com

The sheer size of the Burmese python lands them on this list. Burmese pythons can get to be 23 feet long, imagine one the length of your living room! They are not skinny like a garden hose but a thick-bodied snake that you are not even able to get your hands around in some parts. The larger ones can weigh 200 pounds! Now that’s a big snake. Unfortunately, they have made their way into Florida and are an invasive species there, killing off many of the native animals.

2) Elephant Trunk Snake

The baggy Elephant Trunk snake is long and thick with some getting to be 7-8 feet long.

©Mufti Adi Utomo/Shutterstock.com

One of the ugliest snakes in the world is for sure the elephant trunk snake. These baggy-looking snakes look too big for their skin. They look like a long elephant trunk with eyes. The trunk of an adult African elephant is about 7 feet long and these snakes are about the same. They are a thick-bodied snake and really do have baggy skin, even the babies. As an aquatic snake they live in the rivers of Southeast Asia and live on fish.

1) Eastern hog-nose

eastern hognose snake
Chill out! The Eastern Hog-nose snake definitely has some ugly behaviors. Here it is trying to scare you by flattening its head and puffing out. If that doesn’t work it will play dead.

©Mike Wilhelm/Shutterstock.com

The turned-up nose of the Eastern hog-nose snake is only one of the features that make this one of the ugliest snakes in the world. Wait until you see what it does when it is threatened. At first, they puff their bodies out making them look bigger (and uglier), and then coil upward like a cobra. They make a loud hissing noise and strike but don’t bite. If you are still standing there, unimpressed he will start Act 2 and actually fake his death.

In an elaborate display, these snakes writhe around on the ground, flipping over as if injured, and then land on their backs as if dead. The dramatic fake death even includes its tongue dangling out the side of its mouth. An ugly tantrum of sorts. Eastern hog-nose snakes live in the eastern half of the US  and are 2-3 feet long. This is definitely one of the ugliest snakes in the world!

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The Featured Image

eastern hognose snake
Eastern Hognose snake posing flattened out and gaping with mouth open and rear fangs exposed
© Mike Wilhelm/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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