Venomous Snakes

World's Deadliest Snakes

  • common cobraCommon Cobra
  • death adderDeath Adder
  • king brown snakeKing Brown Snake
  • prairie rattlesnakePrairie Rattlesnake

When discussing lists of the world’s deadliest snakes, most people use just one criterion and do not to take into account other significant factors. As a result, many Top 10 lists tend to be inaccurate or, at the very least, skewed. These lists are usually based solely on the toxicity of snake venoms; however, there are also people who focus their "deadliest snakes" lists on snake bite deaths in the countries in which they live or study, or are just fond of.

Taking the most significant factors into account, we have created a more relevant, and hopefully more objective, list of the world’s most deadly snakes. The list was compiled using our International Danger Quotient method. The quotient is based on 6 critical factors relative to the other snakes on the list. In each category a maximum of 5 points is awarded and so, the higher the number the bigger or worse that factor is relative to the other snakes on the list.

  • Average size of an adult snake of this species.
  • Average venom yield in a bite.
  • Toxicity of venom.
  • Length of fangs.
  • Typical defensive disposition.
  • The number of deaths per year from each species.
points scale
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Click a column heading to sort the listings.
Name Average Size Venom Yield Venom Toxicity Fang Length Disposition / Attitude Bites per Year Total Score
Coral Snake More

(Micrurus fulvius) | United States

Coral Snake Photo by: Norman Benton

Although they have an extremely potent venom, they are small, secretive, and relatively gentle.

1 1 4 1 1 1 9
European Vipers More

(Vipera sp.) | Europe

European Vipers Photo by: Jaan Rebane

These Vipers are not particularly toxic or dangerous - bites rarely, if ever, result in death.

2 1 1 2 2 1 9
Timber Rattlesnake More

(Crotalus horridus) | United States

Timber Rattlesnake

Timber bites can be exceptionally bad with a relatively high percentage of fatality.

3 2 2 2 1 1 11
Boomslang More

(Dispholidus typus) | Africa

Boomslang

Boomslangs have a very small venom yield and bites to people in the wild are almost unheard of, but they do have terrifyingly toxic venom.

2 1 4 2 2 1 12
Beaked Sea Snake More

(Enhydrina schistosa) | Asia

Beaked Sea Snake

At one time this species was considered to have the deadliest venom of any snake. However, current research shows this not to be the case.

2 2 4 2 1 1 12
Blue Krait More

(Bungarus candidus) | Asia

Blue Krait

50% of the bites from this snake are fatal even with the use of antivenom treatment.

2 1 4 1 1 4 13
Prairie Rattlesnake More

(Crotalus viridis) | United States

Prairie Rattlesnake

This is the snake that accounts for the largest number of venomous snakebites in the US.

3 2 1 2 3 3 14
Mojave Rattlesnake More

(Crotalus scutatus) | United States

Mojave Rattlesnake

This rattlesnake has one of the most toxic venoms of all the rattlesnakes.

2 2 4 2 3 2 15
Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan More

(Oxyuranus microlepidotus) | Australia

Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan

The most toxic venom of any snake, maximum yield recorded (for one bite) is 110mg; enough to kill over 100 people or 250,000 mice. Watch a National Geographic video featuring our very own Terry Philip.

3 2 5 2 2 1 15
Tiger Snake More

(Notechis scutatus) | Australia

Tiger Snake

The legendary Tiger Snake of Australia is a very aggressive snake with extremely toxic venom.

2 2 4 2 3 2 15
Death Adder More

(Acanthophis antarcticus) | Australia

Death Adder

A dosage of 10mg of Death Adder venom is enough to kill a human. A good-sized Death Adder can deliver up to 180mg in a single bite.

1 2 4 2 3 4 16
Australian Brown Snake More

(Pseudonaja textilis) | Australia

Australian Brown Snake

Its venom is reputed to be the second most toxic in the world. They cause the most snakebite deaths in Australia - 1/14,000 of an ounce of this venom is enough to kill a person.

3 1 5 1 4 3 17
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake More

(Crotalus atrox) | United States

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

A large snake with a higher than average venom yield and fang length, and an irascible disposition, although the venom is below average in toxicity.

3 3 1 4 3 3 17
Common Cobra More

(Naja naja ssp.) | Asia

Common Cobra

Cobras are considered to be the most common venomous snake in the most densely populated part of the world, 40,000 people die from cobra bites each year in this region.

3 2 3 2 3 5 18
Egyptian Cobra More

(Naja haje) | Africa

Egyptian Cobra

This is a large cobra with high toxicity, large venom glands, and a bad disposition.

3 3 3 2 3 3 18
Gaboon Viper More

(Bitis gabonica) | Africa

Gaboon Viper

This species has enormous venom glands and the longest fangs of any snake in the world.

3 4 3 5 2 1 18
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake More

(Crotalus adamanteus) | United States

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

This is the largest venomous snake in the US. It has huge venom glands and relatively long fangs.

3 4 2 4 3 2 18
Golden Lancehead More

(Bothrops insularis) | Central/South America

Golden Lancehead Photo by: Otavio Marques

Some researchers feel this snake has one of the deadliest of all snake venoms.

2 3 4 4 4 1 18
South American Rattlesnake More

(Cascabel or Crotalus terrificus) | Central/South America

South American Rattlesnake

A very toxic venom, long fangs, and a fairly bad temperament.

3 3 4 2 3 3 18
Forest Cobra More

(Naja melanolueca) | Africa

Forest Cobra

This is a common species prone to stand and fight with a toxic venom, large size, but relatively average fang length.

4 3 3 2 3 3 18
Bushmaster More

(Lachesis sp.) | Central/South America

Bushmaster

A big snake with lots of toxic venom and very long fangs.

4 4 3 4 2 2 19
Mexican West Coast Rattlesnake More

(Crotalus basiliscus) | Central/South America

Mexican West Coast Rattlesnake

This very large, heavy-bodied snake has huge amounts of highly toxic venom, long fangs, and a temperament that makes them scary.

3 4 2 4 3 3 19
Saw Scaled Viper More

(Echis carinatus) | Africa & Asia

Saw Scaled Viper

Saw-Scaled Vipers kill more people in Africa than all the other venomous African snakes combined. According to some researchers it appears that humans are very susceptible to this snake’s venom - it could very well be the most venomous snake to humans!

1 1 5 2 5 5 19
King Brown Snake More

(Pseudechis austalis) | Australia

King Brown Snake

One report states that the largest amount of venom ever extracted from a snake, 1300mg, came from a King Brown Snake.

4 5 2 3 3 2 19
Black Mamba More

(Dendroaspis polylepsis) | Africa

Black Mamba

These snakes are large, alert, and aggressive in their personal defense - they are one of the most feared snakes on the African continent.

4 3 3 2 5 3 20
Common Lancehead or Fer-de-Lance More

(Bothrops atrox) | Central/South America

Common Lancehead or Fer-de-Lance

These are large and very defensive snakes that have caused many bites.

3 3 2 4 5 4 21
King Cobra More

(Ophiophagus hannah) | Asia

King Cobra

These are the largest of all venomous snakes and are highly intelligent. It is said they can produce enough venom in a bite to kill an elephant.

5 5 3 3 3 2 21
Russell's Viper More

(Daboia species) | Asia

Russell's Viper

This snake is the leading cause of death in the country of Sri Lanka and on par with the common cobra for deaths in the rest of its range.

3 3 3 3 4 5 21
Coastal Taipan More

(Oxyuranus scutellatus) | Australia

Coastal Taipan

The venom delivered in a single Taipan bite is enough to kill up to 12,000 guinea pigs. This is the largest venomous snake in Australia. Before antivenom was available 100% of bites were fatal.

4 3 5 3 5 2 22
Barba Amarilla or Fer-de-Lance More

(Bothrops asper) | Central/South America

Barba Amarilla or Fer-de-Lance Photo by: Al Coritz

These large aggressive snakes have long fangs, and lots of very toxic venom. Members of this genus are some of the only snakes that can, and regularly do, strike more than half their body length.

4 4 2 4 5 4 23
Puff Adder More

(Bitis arietans) | Africa

Puff Adder

Many legs and arms need to be amputated due to the damage from this snake’s venom!

3 4 3 4 4 5 23
Papuan Taipan More

(Oxyuranus s. canni) | New Guinea

Papuan Taipan

Venomous snakebite deaths are 100 times higher in New Guinea than in Australia due to quality and availability of treatment. They are similar to Australian coastal Taipans.

4 3 5 3 5 3 23