The Top 10 Most Venomous Snakes in the World

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: March 8, 2021

There are more than 3,000 types of snakes on the planet. Of those, about 600 are venomous. Most of those do not attack humans unless they are threatened and cannot find an escape route. It is natural, however, to ask what the most venomous snake in the world is because they are the ones you want to avoid. Their bite is so dangerous that they can kill you before help can even arrive.

Scientists measure how venomous a snake is by using a toxicology test called the median lethal dose, LD50. This test tells biologists which snakes can kill at least 50% of lab animals with one bite to a muscle. By applying this scale, we can determine what are the most poisonous snakes in the world. By using this scale, here are the ten that rise to the top.

#10 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Common Indian krait (Bungarus caeruleus)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Common Indian krait
The Common Indian krait is a highly venomous snake, living in the Indian subcontinent.

The common Indian kraft lives throughout India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal in various terrain. This snake that is usually about 3-feet long can grow up to 6-feet long. It hides in a hole or under a pile of rubble during most of the day. It goes from being slow during the day to be very active at night.

In India, this snake is considered one of four that kills the most humans through its venom. When threatened, it bites its victim and holds on to deliver much more venom than the average snake. Many people think that they are OK after being bitten by one because the bite does not hurt. Therefore, they do not seek immediate medical care. Later, abdominal pains start, and the person dies.

#9 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (Pelamis platurus)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Yellow-bellied Sea Snake
Although the Yellow-bellied Sea snake is one of the most venomous snakes in the world, there aren’t any reported human deaths.

The yellow-bellied Sea Snake spends most of its life in shallow ocean waters throughout the Pacific Ocean. Usually, it quickly dies of exhaustion or heat if a storm washes it ashore. Most humans are not a threat to this species because they are not in the same habitat, but its venom is some of the deadliest in the world. It often uses its venom to kill the fish that it wants to eat.

#8 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Boomslang (Dispholidus typus)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Boomslang
The Boomslang, native to Southern Africa, is a venomous snake that can stretch its mouth for 170 degrees during the attack. 

The boomslang lives in trees throughout most of Africa, especially in Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. This snake often attacks its prey before they even see it coming. The boomslang prefers warm weather and will hibernate in bird’s nests during colder weather. These snakes are very solitary animals, and they will even use their venom to kill other boomslang snakes when they are hungry. The fangs of this snake sit further back in their mouths than on most snakes. Once bitten, the victim bleeds to death because the venom stops the body’s ability to form blood clots.

#7 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Tiger Rattlesnake
The very venomous Tiger Rattlesnake has a heat-sensitive sensory organ on each side of his head that helps him to find warm-blooded prey.

The tiger rattlesnake lives in Arizona, California, and the northern parts of Mexico. Most tiger rattlesnakes grow to be between 18 and 36 inches tall when mature and weigh about 16 ounces. It has the smallest head of any rattlesnake and a huge rattle. It is easily recognizable because of its spade-shaped head. Like other rattlesnakes, it will shake its rattles before attacking. Its venom is the most poisonous of all neotropical rattlesnakes. The venom causes the victim’s circulatory system to stop working, so the victim hemorrhages to death.

#6 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Black Mamba
The Black Mamba is Africa’s longest venomous snake, reaching up to 14 feet in length.

The black mamba lives in sub-Saharan areas of south and east Africa. It prefers to set up a permanent home, often in a termite mound. Despite the name, these snakes are seldom black. Instead, they are olive, brownish-gray, or khaki. Most do not grow to be longer than 9 feet, but rare cases of snakes up to 15 feet have been reported. Unlike many snakes, when the black mamba emerges from its egg, its fangs are fully functional. These snakes can move up to 12.5 miles per hour. When they are in a hurry, they keep about 33% of their body raised off the ground. Once bitten, a person can die within 30 minutes because the venom paralyzes the victim’s body.

#5 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Eastern Brown snake (Pseudechis textilis)

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

The Eastern brown snake is the most dangerous snake living in Australia. This snake is especially dangerous because it lives in populated areas where it can find mice. It is usually between 6-and-13-inches long is also very aggressive. Especially during the winter months, they will often share their nests with other snakes. Male brown snakes often fight for the right to fertilize a female. This nervous snake uses its bite more than most of the deadliest snakes, and it is responsible for the highest number of snake-bite fatalities in Australia.

#4 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Dubois’s Reef Sea Snake (Aipysurus duboisii)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Dubois’s Reef Sea Snake
Dubois’ Reef Sea Snake is a venomous snake completely adapted to marine life and habitat.

Dubois’s reef sea snake lives in coral reef flats in the Coral Sea, the Arafura Sea, the Timor Sea, and the Indian Ocean near Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Australia. They give birth to live young. While they prefer a diet of seaweed and small fish less than 3.6 feet long, they will bite if provoked. This species is most active at dusk and dawn. It sometimes bites with little provocation, which makes this one of the deadliest snakes in the world.

#3 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus)

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.

The inland taipan lives in deep cracking-clays and cracking-loams in remote areas of Western Australia. It usually corners its prey in its burrow or a hole in the ground before biting it several times in rapid succession. This snake prefers to dine on the Long-haired Rat Rattus villosissimus. It will breed more when the weather is rainy and less during times of drought. Despite this snake’s nickname of Fierce Snake, many handlers consider it a placid snake.

#2 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Russel’s Viper (Vipera russelii)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Russel’s Viper
The very venomous Russell’s viper is the snake species responsible for the most snakebite incidents and human deaths from snakebite.

Russel’s viper kills more people in Sri Lanka, Burma, and India than any other snake. This snake is found in open grasslands across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan, Cambodia, Tibet, China, Taiwan, and Indonesia. It is the most poisonous snake to live on land in the world. When this snake feels threatened, it raises the first 33% of its body and makes one of the loudest hissing sounds in the snake kingdom. While most snakes bite and let go, this snake often holds on to its victim for several seconds. Females give birth to up to 20 snakelets that are between 8.5-and-10.2-inches long. This is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world because they prefer a diet of rodents, so they often live in civilized areas where mice and rats are found.

#1 Most Venomous Snakes in the World – Hook-nosed Sea Snake (Enhydrina schistosa)

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Hook-nosed Sea Snake
The venomous Hook-nose Sea Snake’s venom is said to be 100 times more lethal than that of any other snake.

The most venomous snake in the world is the hooked-nose sea snake. This snake lives in the ocean off Australia, New Zealand, and Asia’s coastlines. It often gets tangled in fishing nets and bites unsuspecting anglers. It prefers to dine on sea catfishes, but it will also eat pufferfish. Most appear to be born in the muddy tidal waters of the Straits of Malacca, which is the main shipping channel from the Indian to the Pacific Oceans. They may live up to 12 months there before they move further out to sea.

These are the most dangerous snakes in the world. If you are going to do any traveling, investigate which deadliest snakes you may encounter. Then, be sure to watch for them as you move around.