The Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes in the World

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: August 30, 2022
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Key Points:
  • The side effects from the bite of a boomslang snake come when it is already too late: boomslang venom prevents blood from coagulating inside the body, resulting in internal bleeding, even hemorrhaging in vital organs.
  • Located in Australia, the eastern brown snake is responsible for the most snakebite deaths in its region. Not only is its venom highly potent, but this snake prefers to hunt in populated areas, which means it often encounters humans!
  • While the inland taipan snake is arguably the most venomous in the world, it is considered a docile snake. However, there are enough potent neurotoxins in this snake’s venom to kill an adult person in as little as 45 minutes. Symptoms include paralysis, muscle damage, internal bleeding, and kidney failure.

Did you know that there are more than 3,000 types of snakes on the planet? Of those, about 600 are venomous. An even smaller number of venomous snakes are so venomous that you may not even believe it. However, what might some of the most venomous snakes in the world be, and what makes them so dangerous? Is it the amount of venom, the potency of the venom- or both!?

Scientists measure how venomous a snake is by using a toxicology test called the median lethal dose, also known as LD50. The smaller the number, the more venomous the snake. By applying this scale, we can determine what the most venomous snakes in the world are. Whether it be the huge amount of venom injected or the absolutely dangerous potency levels, we’ll use this scale to show you the ten snakes that rise to the top. Let’s get started!

#10: Fer-De-Lance, or Terciopelo

most venomous snakes in the world
Dubbed the “ultimate pit viper”, the fer-de-lance injects a high amount of venom using its huge size and fang length.

Jim Cumming/Shutterstock.com

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LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
3 mg500-1500 mg

Responsible for the majority of snakebite deaths in its region, the fer-de-lance or terciopelo starts our list of the most venomous snakes in the world. Located in South and Central America along with Mexico and Brazil, the fer-de-lance is one of the most dangerous pit vipers out there. Reaching lengths of 8 feet and weighing an average of 10-13 pounds, this snake exists in many populated regions, which is likely why it has so many bites to its name.

Depending on the species, the terciopelo bites with an average of 500-1500 mg of venom in a single bite. Knowing that it takes 3mg to kill a mouse, you can only imagine that this snake is just as dangerous to people- it can kill an average of 6 in a single bite!

Speaking of dangerous, have you heard about Snake Island, an uninhabited island populated almost exclusively by golden lancehead snakes? Read more about this lethal fer-de-lance species on Snake Island here!

#9: King Cobra

most venomous snakes in the world
Known as the longest venomous snake in the world, the king cobra has a fearsome reputation.

Vova Shevchuk/Shutterstock.com

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
1 mg400-1000 mg

No one would argue that the king cobra is among the most venomous snakes in the world, and for good reason. Not only does it inject an average of 400-1000 mg per bite, but their venom is potent enough to kill approximately 11 people in one bite! Located in Southern Asia, the king cobra reaches lengths of 10-13 feet long, far longer than any other venomous snake.

Research suggests that king cobra bites can kill a person in as little as 30 minutes, given the high level of neurotoxins and cytotoxins present. Additionally, given the long length of this particular snake, it often bites higher up on the body. Many cobras present unique defensive positioning that results in them rising into the air, hood flared in a threatening way. The king cobra is no exception, and these snakes often bite and hold onto whatever may be threatening them!

#8: Boomslang

most venomous snakes in the world
Despite belonging to the Colubridae family, the boomslang is extremely venomous, capable of opening its jaw 170 degrees in order to bite.

iStock.com/FroeMic

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.1 mg1-8 mg

The boomslang lives in trees throughout most of Africa, especially in Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. As you can no doubt see, the boomslang has an incredibly potent bite, only injecting 1-8 mg at a time. However, its LD50 amount is so low that it would only take a single bite to kill a person. But what’s even more dangerous than the venom from the boomslang? The false sense of security it gives people after they have been bitten.

The boomslang is notorious for biting people and having no adverse side effects– at least not right away. Many snakebite victims of the boomslang assume that they have been bitten with a dry bite, or nonlethal dose. However, the side effects come when it is already too late: boomslang venom prevents blood from coagulating inside the body, resulting in internal bleeding, even hemorrhaging in vital organs.

#7: Russell’s Viper

Deadliest Snakes - Russell's Viper
Rusell’s vipers are so venomous that they have a mortality rate of around 2.6% in India.

jaroslava V/Shutterstock.com

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.16 mg130-250 mg

Considering the fact that 40-70 mg of Russell’s viper venom is enough to kill the average person, the bite of this snake is particularly dangerous! In fact, the Russell’s viper kills more people in Sri Lanka, Burma, and India than any other snake. This snake is found in open grasslands across the Indian subcontinent, hunting in highly populated areas. Not only does this make the Russell’s viper considerably dangerous due to its proximity- it also has a bite to back it up.

Localized swelling and bleeding is common with the bite of the Russell’s viper, and this snake’s envenomation can have adverse side effects for as long as two weeks, depending on severity. Statistics for untreated bites show that over 30% of victims die from kidney failure if they don’t seek medical attention. Given the fact that the Russell’s viper is incredibly strong and aggressive, it’s best to leave this snake alone!

#6: Black Mamba

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Black Mamba
One of the most feared snakes in the world, the Black Mamba has aggression and a potent bite behind it.

Cormac Price/Shutterstock.com

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.3 mg100-400 mg

You’ve likely heard about the Black Mamba in terms of its dangerous qualities and fearsome reputation. And it is well-deserved: located in sub-Saharan Africa, the Black Mamba not only has a bite to rival just about any other snake on this list, but it is also huge. It is the largest venomous snake in Africa, often reaching 10 feet. Plus, it can raise its body in the air like cobras, and it frequently bites more than once, snapping quickly before fleeing at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour!

Speaking of the Black Mamba’s bite, this snake has an extremely lethal type of venom in its fangs. While it can inject 100-400 mg of venom in a single bite, the average person perishes within 6-14 hours of being bitten. In fact, most symptoms begin in as little as ten minutes, making this snake particularly fearsome. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, the bite of the Black Mamba also has analgesic factors, which makes its victims feel as if they haven’t been bitten, or perhaps the bite isn’t as extreme as it actually is. This is truly one of the most dangerous and venomous snakes in the world.

#5: Eastern Brown Snake

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Eastern Brownsnake
The venomous Australian Brown Snake is responsible for about 60% of snake-bite deaths in Australia.

Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.03 mg5-75 mg

Considered the second-most venomous terrestrial snake due to its venom potency, the eastern brown snake has a bite to be feared. Located in Australia, this snake is responsible for the most snakebite deaths in its region. This is due to the fact that as little as 3 mg of its venom kills the average human, but it also has to do with where this snake is located. It prefers to hunt in populated areas, which means it runs into people more often than it should!

While the size of the eastern brown snake affects the amount of venom it injects, it still doesn’t make a juvenile bite any less potent. Eastern brown snakes have a venom that specifically targets coagulation factors in the body, altering your blood’s ability to clot. Internal bleeding and cardiac arrest are common causes of death, so it’s best to treat this fast-moving snake with care.

#4: Dubois’s Sea Snake

One of the most venomous snakes in the world, the Dubois’ sea snake gives birth to live young and eats seaweed.

IHX/Shutterstock.com

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.04 mg1-10 mg

Living amongst coral reef flats in the Coral Sea, the Arafura Sea, the Timor Sea, and the Indian Ocean, the Dubois’ sea snake is an extremely venomous snake. It has an extremely potent bite, though there aren’t very many records of this snake killing anyone. However, with an LD50 amount of 0.04mg, you can guess that this sea snake could kill a passing scuba diver with a single bite if provoked! Despite its potent venom and being the most venomous sea snake in the world, there are very few Dubois’ sea snakebite deaths given just how large our oceans are!

#3: Forest Cobra

Coiled forest cobra with head raised
Considered the largest true cobra species, the forest cobra reaches lengths of up to ten feet.

NickEvansKZN/Shutterstock.com

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.22 mg570-1100 mg

The king cobra has a cousin that is more than capable of taking down a human in a single bite. In fact, the forest cobra has a potent enough bite and a high enough venom yield to take down 65 fully grown people in a single bite! This is both because of its LD50 score, a low 0.22, as well as the high amount of venom it is capable of injecting. Averaging 570mg per bite and reaching as high as 1100mg, the forest cobra rivals a great number of venomous snakes in terms of its potency.

Located in Africa, the forest cobra is highly adaptable, in both its diet and behavior. It doesn’t come in contact with humans often, preferring an isolated existence in forests, rivers, and grasslands. However, if you happen to be bitten by a forest cobra, severe symptoms can occur in as little as 30 minutes. Organ failure and paralysis are common, as well as drowsiness, so it is key to seek medical attention immediately.

#2: Coastal Taipan

Most Venomous Snakes - Coastal Taipan
Among the taipan snake varieties, the coastal taipan is the most feared snake in Australia.

Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.1 mg100-400 mg

While the name might suggest that this snake only lives near the ocean, the coastal taipan exists throughout Australia. Also known as the common taipan, this highly venomous snake can kill as many as 56 people using a single bite! Considering the extremely low LD50 number of this snake as well as the relatively small amount of venom it injects compared to other venomous snakes, the coastal taipan is definitely a snake to avoid.

If you are bitten by a coastal taipan, the neurotoxins found in the venom may alter your body for the rest of your life. In fact, even those that received medical treatment within 2 hours of being bitten still had the potential for respiratory paralysis and kidney injury. Though there are also cases where victims succumbed to the bite in less than an hour, so seeking medical attention immediately is a must with this snakebite!

#1: Inland Taipan

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Inland Taipan
The very venomous Inland Taipan is an agile snake that is able to bite 8 times in a single attack.
LD50 AmountAverage Venom Injected per Bite
0.01 mg44-110 mg

Arguably the most venomous snake in the world, the inland taipan has the lowest LD50 rating out of all of the snakes found here: a whopping 0.01mg. In fact, the inland taipan bites with only 44-110mg of venom per bite, and this is still enough to kill 289 humans! Not only does it envenomate more than 80% of the time, it also has the capability of biting repeatedly.

However, despite this potency, the inland taipan is regarded as docile, preferring to be left alone by humans at all costs. If you happen to get bitten by this taipan, seeking an emergency medical center is a must. There are enough potent neurotoxins in this snake’s venom to kill a fully grown person in as little as 45 minutes. Symptoms include paralysis, muscle damage, internal bleeding, and kidney failure.

Just like all of the other venomous snakes on this list, it is important to always maintain respect for the inland taipan. All snake species prefer to be left alone, and it’s likely that you want to keep it that way too!

The Deadliest Snake to Humans: Saw-scaled Viper

While we’ve covered the most venomous snakes in the world, it bears mentioning that just because their venom is the most toxic, these snakes aren’t necessarily the most deadly to human beings. Actually the one snake that takes the prize as the deadliest to humans is considered to be the saw-scaled viper, which is responsible for the most human deaths on the planet. Found in dry regions of Africa, the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, this pit viper often dwells in areas highly populated by humans. Couple that with the fact that there’s a lack of anti-venom in many rural places where humans become victims to their bites, and you have a snake that should possibly be feared by humans above all others!

Summary of the Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes in the World

RankVenomous Snake
1Inland Taipan
2Coastal Taipan
3Forest Cobra
4Dubois’s Sea Snake
5Eastern Brown Snake
6Black Mamba
7Russell’s Viper
8Boomslang
9King Cobra
10Fer-De-Lance, or Terciopelo

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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