Dangerous Snakes of Australia
The Truth About Australia's Deadliest Snakes
Australia's snakes have a deadly reputation, with 7 of the worlds 10 most venomous snakes making a home there. In spite of the fearsome and well deserved reputations of these snakes, they are for the most part shy and elusive animals. In fact, Australia has an extremely low incidence of snake bites and fatalities. The incidence of snake bite fatality in Australia is actually much lower than in Africa, Asia, North and South America.
We'll look at the most toxic and aggressive of these Australian venomous snakes and the most commonly encountered, whether in the outback, or the backyard. There is a diversity of opinion when attempting to rank venomous snakes, so I will follow the wisdom and experience of Australia's late reptile ambassador to the world, the sadly missed, Steve Irwin.
The top 4 most venomous and dangerous snakes of Australia include the following: 1). Inland Taipan aka Fierce Snake, 2). The Eastern Brown, 3). Coastal Taipan, 4). Eastern Tiger . These are 4 snakes you definitely don't want to handle, bother or antagonize.
(picture credit Reptile Knowledge.com Handling an Inland Taipan)
Potentially Dangerous, But Important to the Eco-system!
Although these snakes may pose a danger to humans, they are an essential part of their local eco-systems. They are responsible for controlling the population of rodents, which are far more dangerous to humans, since they carry disease and destroy vast amounts of grain and food.
These are snakes to be RESPECTED and avoided, but should NEVER be killed indiscriminately! These amazing reptiles should be protected and left alone to do their job.
The Inland Taipan aka Fierce Snake
Deadly Australian Snake #1
With enough neurotoxic venom in one average bite to kill 100 humans, the Inland Taipan's venom is rated as 50 times more potent than a cobra's. No wonder it is considered Australia's, and the worlds most deadly venomous snake!
It's a good thing that this snake is shy, docile and lives in mostly uninhabited areas of central Australia's arid outback, where it quietly hunts rodents in the dry flood plains!
The Inland Taipan is well adapted to its harsh environment and changes color with the change of seasons. It is usually a darker reddish brown in the winter and a lighter olive green in summer. These colors help the snake to retain warmth in the winter season and stay cooler in the summer. This snake typically hunts during the day and finds cover at night in the holes along dry creek beds. It feeds primarily on small rodents and is shy and reclusive. The Inland Taipan averages around 5.9 feet (1.8 m), but can grow as large as 8.2 feet (2.5 m) in length.
Left untreated the bite of the Inland Taipan can be fatal in as little as 45 minutes. Interestingly, since the introduction of antivenin, there have been very few recorded deaths from the bite of this snake and most bites have occurred among herpetologists, while handling the snake.
Bottom line: this is a potentially lethal snake that avoids humans, lives in arid, uninhabited areas of the Australian outback and would probably go unnoticed if it were not for it's extremely potent venom, which is of interest to herpetologists and the scientific community. The only people really at risk of a bite from the Inland Taipan are those who study and handle it.. A "Fierce Snake" it is not!
Eastern Brown Snake
Deadly Australian Snake #2
The Eastern Brown Snake is considered the second most deadly snake in Australia and in the World. This snake has a far larger range and is considered by snake experts to be far more aggressive than the Inland Taipan. The Eastern Brown is found in a variety of habitats in central and eastern Australia including savanna, grasslands, woodlands and arid scrublands. This is a fast moving and highly contentious snake who will stand it's ground. It typically adopts a defensive posture when provoked, rearing-up in an s shape and striking repeatedly at its pursuer.
The adult Eastern Brown Snake averages around 4.9 feet (1.5 m) in length and is typically a uniform shade of brown color, from fawn to dark, almost black. It sometimes is found with a slight speckled or banded pattern, as well. Young snakes have black heads with a lighter band behind.
This snake inhabits well populated areas along the east coast of Australia and is often found near farms and houses, where it hunts for rodents. The Eastern Brown Snake is active during the day, which is when it typically hunts and feeds. Because of its disposition, range and potential contact with people, this snake is probably Australia's most dangerous snake.
The Eastern Brown has the second most toxic venom in the world, a combination neurotoxin, blood coagulant. Bites are usually lethal without fast treatment and even the bite of a juvenile snake can be deadly. This snake commonly causes several deaths a year in Australia. Without prompt medical attention, death is likely. Their aggressiveness and propensity to stand their ground, make these snakes even more dangerous to people.
Deadly Australian Snake #3
The next snake on the list of Australia's most deadly is the Coastal Taipan. It is found along the northeastern coast of Queensland and is considered to be the third most venomous snake in the world. This snake preys on rats and other small rodents. So deadly is the venom of this snake, there were no known survivors of it's bite, prior to the development of antivenin. Even with modern medical treatment, survivors usually need extended periods of intensive care. In 1950 herpetologist Kevin Budden was fatally bitten, while capturing a Coastal Taipan for the first antivenin research and development.
The venom of the Coastal Taipan includes neurotoxic and blood clotting agents, causing nerve and respiratory paralysis as well as blockage of blood vessels due to clotting. Not only is this snake highly venomous, but it is the largest venomous snake found in Australia, with adults ranging in size from 6.5 to 12 feet ( 2 - 3 .6 meters) in length. This snake also has the longest fangs of any venomous Australian snake; around 1/2 inch long.
The Coastal Taipan is a very active snake when hunting rats and other small mammals. It thrives around sugar cane plantations where there is a high rodent population, but lives in a variety of habitats within its range. It is generally not aggressive towards humans except in self-defense, so most bites occur when people are handling them. The Coastal Taipan will strike repeatedly when cornered and has an extremely fast strike.
In appearance, this snake is usually light to dark brown on top, with lighter colored sides and a cream to yellow colored underside often with orange spots or flecks. The head is distinctly larger with a lighter colored snout and an orange-brown iris. Stay away from this snake, as the documented bites sound horrific! Although it is found around farms and plantations, it will generally avoid confrontation with people unless cornered or handled.
Eastern Tiger Snake
Deadly Australian Snake #4
The Eastern Tiger Snake also known as The Mainland Tiger is a very dangerous Australian snake. It is commonly found in southeast Queensland, eastern New South Wales and most of Victoria. Up until more recently, it was responsible for the majority of snake bites and fatalities in Australia, which distinction now belongs to the Eastern Brown. This snake is commonly found in populated and residential areas, where it hunts for rodents. The Eastern Tiger accounts for the majority of snake removal requests by residents in and around Sydney.
With an average length of 4 feet (1.2 m) the Eastern Tiger is generally found in a variety of colors, usually brown, olive, gray to black, with alternating light and dark bands, which gives rise to it's name. It has belly colors of yellow, cream, olive green or gray.
The Eastern Tiger is found in a wide variety of habitat and terrain throughout it's range, including rain forest, dry forests and flood plains. It feeds on a variety of small rodents, frogs and invertebrates. The favored habitat is around swamps and fresh water streams. It also has tree climbing ability and can be found in lower lying branches where it hunts for birds.
The Eastern Tiger is primarily a diurnal hunter and is mainly active during the day time, except in extremely hot weather. It is not considered an aggressive snake, but will defend itself vigorously if cornered or provoked. If threatened, the Eastern Tiger will typically raise its head off the ground and flatten it's neck, cobra-like. It will hiss loudly and make several false strikes. This snake delivers a very deadly neurotoxic venom with it's bite, which prior to the development of antivenin, had a 60% mortality rate.
The Eastern Tiger is ranked as the 4th most deadly snake in Australia and is considered one of the top ten deadly snakes in the world. This is definitely another Australian snake to respect and avoid.
Effects and Symptoms of a Snake Bite
Toxic and Lethal Snake Bites!
In reviewing these 4 deadly Australian venomous snakes there are some apparent similarities, which may add to their danger to humans. First, all 4 of theses snakes are very active hunters during the day, except in hot weather. This puts them in potential confrontations with humans, who are likewise more active during the day. The most compelling similarity is in the high toxicity of their venom. These snakes possess the venom potency to kill their prey in seconds! One reptile keeper claims his pet Coastal Taipan was capable of killing a mouse in 3 seconds after one strike.
There is much speculation as to why Australia has such highly venomous snakes, since it seems like overkill. One thought is that hunting during the daylight hours is inherently more risky for these snakes and therefore they need to kill their prey very swiftly to limit exposure to predators. In any case all 4 of these snakes possess very strong neurotoxic venom, along with coagulants and myotoxins. The effects of this toxic cocktail is horrific!.
Some common symptoms of a snake bite with this type of venom, may or may not include, localized pain and swelling at the site of the bite, along with tingling, numbness and sweating. Following this, the rapid onset of breathing difficulties and paralysis may occur. Other common symptoms can include headache, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, convulsions and in severe cases, coma. Not every bite victim will have the same symptoms, due to different individual responses to the venom, as well as the amount of venom injected etc.
Neurotoxins attack nerve endings, eventually leading to respiratory failure and cardiac arrhythmia's, while myotoxins attack muscle tissue which can lead to kidney failure. If this weren't enough, there are often blood clotting and bleeding abnormalities due to coagulants in the venom. Death from a snakebite is rare with medical treatment and antivenin, but can occur in as little as 5 minutes, though more often it occurs after 3+ hours.
There is a standardized treatment process in Australia for dangerous snake bites, the Pressure Immobilization Method. This method has proven highly effective with all Australian venomous snake bites. The PIM is designed to inhibit the flow of venom through the lymphatic system. Wide pressure bandages are applied to the bite site and to the back of the limb up to the armpit or groin. Splinting of the affected limb is accomplished to prevent unnecessary body movement. and to keep the bite victim sedentary. The bite site is kept unwashed so that venom traces can be used to positively identify the snake. The victim is kept quiet and immobilized in this manner until reaching emergency medical services, at which time the bandages are removed and antivenin treatment can begin.
In spite of having some truly heavyweight venomous snakes, which need to be respected and avoided, the fact remains that the most dangerous and lethal creature in Australia, as in most places in the world, is the common honeybee!
The Most Deadly Animal in Australia - What's Your Opinion?
What Australian Animal in Fact, is the Most Deadly?
Australian Deadly Snake Links - For Further Reading and Information
- Australian Venomous Snakes The most dangerous snakes in the world. Or not?
Maybe Australians like the idea that Australian venomous snakes are the deadliest in the world. Maybe it makes us look brave and tough in the eyes of the rest of the world.
- Most Venomous Snakes
The 10 most venomous snakes in the world live in Australia.
- Deadliest Snakes in the World
List of Deadliest Snakes in the world as per their ranking
- Inland Taipan: World Most Venomous Snake
A brief guide about the worlds most venomous snake which can kill 250,000 mice with single bite.
- Cruel twist of fate as woman who survived crocodile 'death roll' dies of a snake bite instead
Police said there were "indications" - possibly fang marks - that she had been bitten by a venomous snake such as an Eastern Brown, one of the most dangerous reptiles on earth.
- Eastern brown snake
The Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis), often referred to as the Brown Snake, is an elapid snake native to Australia. It is one of the world's deadliest snakes.
- Eastern Tiger Snake ( Notechis scutatus )
A deadly native snake of southeastern Australia
- Tiger snake From Wikipedia
Tiger snakes are a type of venomous serpent found in southern regions of Australia, including its coastal islands and Tasmania. These snakes are highly variable in their colour, often banded like those on a tiger, and forms in their regional occurren
- The Eastern Tiger Snake Notechis scutatus In Captivity
The Eastern tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus, is an elapid from South Eastern Australia. It has a highly toxic venom and until recently held the record for most Australian snakebite fatalities (now overtaken by the Eastern Brown Snake, Pseudonaja texti
- Reptiles of Lamington National Park
Eastern Tiger Snake Description
- Taipan From Wikipedia
There are three known species: the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), the inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) and a recently discovered third species, the Central Ranges taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis). The coastal taipan has two subspecie
- THE COASTAL TAIPAN OXYURANUS SCUTELLATUS SCUTELLATUS IN CAPTIVITY
Coastal Taipans, Oxyuranus scutellatus, are large elapids from Australia, Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea. They are fast diurnal elapids that hunt down their prey quickly and efficiently.
- Coastal Taipan ( Oxyuranus scutellatus )
he Coastal Taipan is a dangerous venomous snake that can bite repeatedly when cornered.
- Teenager survives brush with deadly snake
A teenager has survived a bite from one of the world's most deadly snakes - with a little help from his friends.
- Eastern brown snake From Wikipedia
The Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis), often referred to as the Brown Snake, is an elapid snake native to Australia. It is one of the world's deadliest snakes.
- Eastern Brown Snake ( Pseudonaja textilis )
The Eastern Brown Snake is a dangerous venomous snake.
- Eastern Brown Snake
The Eastern Brown snake is found along the entire length of the east coast of Australia, ranging from the tip of Cape York, along the coasts and inland areas of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia across the Eyre Peninsula and reaches as fa
- COMMON or EASTERN BROWN SNAKE:
Today, brown snakes are responsible for most of the fatalities from snakebite - per year. Even a slight scratch which has broken the top layer of skin can be the cause of a fatality - it doesn't have to be a full on bite to cause envenomation.
- Australian Snake Bites
In Australia there are about 3,000 snake bites per year, of which 200 to 500 receive antivenom; on average one or two will prove fatal. About half the deaths are due to bites from the brown snake; the rest mostly from tiger snake, taipan and death ad
- Australia's Venomous Snakes: The Modern Myth or Are You A Man Or A Mouse?
For too long we have been telling the world, as well as each other, that Australia's snakes are the most venomous. On what evidence do we make this assumption? Solely on their ability to kill mice! What a joke!
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