11 Most Venomous Snakes in Australia

Most Venomous Snakes in Australia
Photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn

This article will cover the most venomous snakes in Australia. Australia is home to around 170 different kinds of land snakes, of which approximately 100 are poisonous.

Australia has a diverse animal population, particularly a large number of snakes. Australia’s enormous landmass and variable climates provide numerous habitats for these animals to thrive.

Australia is home to 85 percent of the world’s most venomous snakes, including the top three most venomous snakes on the planet: the inland taipan snake, the eastern brown snake, and the coastal taipan snake. These three snakes are among the most dangerous in the world.

Even though every species has the potential to be dangerous, the following is a list of the eleven most venomous snakes in Australia.

Some of these snakes are highly venomous, while others are exceedingly nervous, and still, others are simply more likely to be found slithering around in backyards.

1. Tiger Snake (Notechis Scutatus)

The tiger snake is a highly venomous species in the Elapidae family. The tiger snake is considered one of the most venomous snakes in Australia and one of the deadliest creatures in the world due to its potent venom and aggressive temperament.

Tiger snakes are short (averaging 3.94 feet in length at maturity) and easily recognizable by their olive-yellow or orange bodies and yellowish-orange underbellies.

In terms of habitat, the tiger snake resides along the coasts of western and southern Australia. Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales are included. This species, like many snakes, prefers marshes and places surrounded by creeks or river systems.

Potential prey is abundant in these places and can easily support tiger snake populations. Small mammals (such as rodents), snakes, lizards, and frogs are common prey.

When confronted, the tiger snake is a fearsome foe with a bite capable of subduing practically any enemy. Tiger snake venom contains a variety of exceptionally potent neurotoxins, hemolysins, coagulants, and myotoxins.

Symptoms of envenomation are known to appear quickly, with localized pain and numbness among the initial complaints from patients.

Sweating and breathing issues ensue, followed by full respiratory collapse. Treatment usually consists of applying pressure to the body’s lymphatic system to stop the passage of venom, as well as administering antivenom.

Between 2005 and 2015, tiger snakes were responsible for roughly 17% of all snake attacks in Australia. Four people died from envenomation due to approximately 119 assaults because they could not receive medical treatment in time.

2. Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus Scutellatus)

The Elapidae family includes the coastal taipan, One of the most venomous snakes in Australia. Coastal taipans, closely related to the deadly Inland taipan, are extremely dangerous snakes due to their potent venom.

Because they are diurnal species, the snake is most active during the day and has a more significant length, slender form, and a small head.

Although colors change according to the season, coastal taipans are generally reddish-brown or olive in color with a yellowish-white underside.

The Coastal Taipan, as the name suggests, is found primarily along the coasts of Northern and Eastern Australia. It is not rare to see these snakes.

The Coastal Taipan generally prefers warmer, wetter (tropical) climates. As a result, you can frequently find them around marshes and monsoon forests.

Sugarcane fields and forests are also popular with this species since they provide an abundance of rodents for the snake to feed on daily and with natural cover. Rats, mice, tiny birds, and bandicoots are common prey.

Coastal taipans are not particularly aggressive and typically flee when danger approaches. Despite this, these snakes are exceedingly deadly to humans and will attack if provoked.

Taicatoxin, a lethal neurotoxin found in the venom of the coastal taipan, targets the body’s central nervous system and blood.

Symptoms of envenomation begin nearly immediately, with headache, nausea, vomiting, and convulsions. The lethal venom attacks the body’s muscles and internal organs (such as the kidneys) within minutes, producing paralysis, myolysis, and severe internal bleeding.

Without prompt care, most people die within two hours of being bitten. Deaths occur in situations of severe envenomation in as little as 30 minutes.

While antivenoms are available to counteract the species’ lethal venom, lifelong consequences (such as muscle and tissue damage) are exceedingly common.

3. Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis)

The eastern brown snake (also known as the common brown snake) is a poisonous snake of the Elapidae family and is the world’s second-most poisonous land snake. It is an extremely dangerous reptile capable of causing life-threatening damage with practically every bite.

The eastern brown, like the coastal taipan, is a diurnal species most active during the day. They have short fangs (2.8 millimeters), a slender body, and a rounded skull.

While these snakes are mainly brownish in color (as their name suggests), some specimens have been described as orange, russet, or olive in appearance.

Eastern browns reside along Australia’s east coast, with some populations living in the major territories of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.

Unlike many of the most venomous snakes in Australia, the eastern brown prefers drier habitat in woodlands, grasslands, and dry eucalypt forests along Australia’s east coast.

They are also widespread in more open settings (such as farmlands) and near buildings (making them extremely dangerous to humans in these regions).

This is partly due to the diverse prey accessible in these habitats, including small rodents, mice, small birds, and eggs. When the opportunity arises, eastern browns will swallow smaller snakes.

Eastern brown bites are deemed life-threatening and necessitate immediate medical attention to avoid long-term problems or death.

Eastern brown venom contains coagulants and postsynaptic and presynaptic neurotoxins (including excitotoxin).

After envenomation, bite symptoms like rapid reductions in blood pressure (hypotension) and severe bleeding appear quickly.

Severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, excessive perspiration, abdominal pain, and seizures are also prevalent.

Clotting irregularities are one of the final phases of the venom’s evolution due to the venom’s coagulant actions. As a result, the victim’s kidneys and heart are severely injured, and cardiac arrest occurs.

The eastern brown has a relatively low mortality rate (approximately 10 to 20 percent). This is because this snake’s venom yields are relatively low, resulting in fewer fatalities.

While antivenom is highly successful against the snake’s bite, long-term consequences (such as muscle and internal organ damage) are quite common with this snake.

4. Belcher’s Sea Snake (Hydrophis belcheri)

The Elapidae family’s Belcher’s sea snake is a very venomous species.

The Belcher’s sea snake is the most venomous sea snake in the world, with a fatal bite that may quickly kill people. The snake is modest in stature, reaching just approximately 3.3 feet.

Despite its high threat, the Belcher’s sea snake is shy and docile, as it rarely bites unless provoked. Its small body and short head easily distinguish it, and its chrome-like coloring has a sequence of darkish bars.

Belcher’s sea snake inhabits the warm seas of the Indian Ocean in the Gulf of Thailand, the Solomon Islands, and Australia’s northwest coast (around the North Territory and Queensland).

The species feeds mainly on small fish and eels as sea snakes, using ambush methods to subdue its prey. This sea snake can hold its breath for up to eight hours before needing to surface for air.

The venom of the Belcher’s sea snake is extremely strong, capable of killing a person in less than 30 minutes. The snake’s venom has a potent combination of myotoxins and neurotoxins.

Symptoms of envenomation include dizziness, migraine headaches, nausea, acute stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Convulsions and total paralysis are typical within minutes.

As the venom continues to damage the body, some people experience hysteria and excessive bleeding. In its last phases, the venom causes the body’s kidneys and breathing system to shut down completely, resulting in death.

The standard treatment for a Belcher’s sea snake bite comprises palliative care as well as antivenom administration to counteract the venom’s progression.

However, there needs to be rapid medical intervention for survival because of the venom’s toxicity. Fortunately, bites are uncommon in this species and usually occur when fishermen inadvertently catch the animal in their fishnets.

Furthermore, new research reveals that the Belcher’s sea snake can control its overall venom secretion and may only release venom in one-quarter of its bites.

Despite this, the snake is still highly lethal and holds a respectable spot as one of the most venomous snakes in Australia.

5. Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepitdotus)

The inland taipan is a highly poisonous and lethal member of the Elapidae family of snakes.

Despite its calm and tranquil appearance, experts largely agree that the inland taipan is the world’s deadliest land-based snake due to its highly poisonous venom.

Inland taipans are huge, with some specimens reaching 6.5 to 8.8 feet in length. They also have rounded noses, smooth chevron scales, and slender bodies that change color depending on the season.

In terms of habitat, the inland taipan resides in Queensland and South Australia’s black dirt plains. The snake generally prefers clay-like ground because it provides excellent concealment from predators and the elements.

This type of terrain is essential for the snake’s survival, as these places are devoid of vegetation and ground cover.

The inland taipan is known to hunt a diverse range of creatures inside its domain ferociously. It does this by operating out of caves and other small holes. Rats, mice, and small birds are examples.

Because of the potency of the venom produced by the inland taipan, a single bite from this snake has the potential to cause the death of one hundred people within half an hour.

The inland taipan’s venom is exceedingly potent, containing numerous neurotoxins, myotoxins, nephrotoxins, and hemotoxins.

When these toxins mix, they damage their victims’ central nervous system, blood, muscular-skeletal system, and internal organs.

Following envenomation, neurotoxins swiftly assault the nervous system causing convulsions and paralysis within minutes.

As a result, the other components of the snake’s venom begin to target the blood, resulting in poor circulation (due to clotting), acute vomiting, migraine headaches, and disorientation.

Complete respiratory paralysis and renal failure occur as the venom takes full control of the body. Death usually occurs in two to seven hours, depending on the severity of the bite, but severe injection can kill in as little as 30 minutes.

While antivenoms provide excellent protection against the snake’s lethal venom, inland taipan attacks frequently result in life-threatening consequences (in particular, heart, kidney, and muscle damage).

6. Red-Bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus)

The red-bellied snake is among the most venomous snakes in Australia. The snake has a dark black body with vivid red (sometimes orange) flanks and a pinkish-red underbelly, as the name suggests.

The snake, which is common in marshes, woodlands, and forests, hunts frogs, small fish, rodents, and other reptiles in shallow bodies of water.

Due to recent population growth, the red-bellied black snake is one of Australia’s most regularly encountered snake species. Fortunately, it is not an aggressive species and generally avoids human interaction.

When threatened, the red-bellied black snake elevates its head above the ground while flattening it (similar to the cobra). To predators, this makes the snake appear larger and more dangerous.

The venom of the red-bellied black snake comprises a strong cocktail of neurotoxins and myotoxins that have a coagulant and hemolytic effect on their victims’ blood.

As a result, bites from these snakes are particularly painful since the toxins act quickly once they enter the bloodstream.

Although bites are rarely deadly (due to an abundance of highly potent antivenoms), they are exceedingly dangerous and necessitate immediate care.

Swelling, profuse bleeding, and necrosis of the wound site are all symptoms of a red-bellied black snake bite. Signs of snake envenomation include vomiting, diarrhea, migraines, abdominal pains, and excessive perspiration.

Bite wounds are rarely deadly, but they can cause long-term problems. These can include a lifelong loss of smell (anosmia), muscle pain, and overall weakening.

Amputations are sometimes required around the bite region to offset localized reactions to the snake’s venom.

7. Lowlands Copperhead (Austrelaps superbus)

The lowlands copperhead is among the most venomous snakes in Australia. The lowland copperhead, a member of the Elapidae family (which includes cobras), is a huge snake that can grow to 4.5 feet long.

As the name says, the snake has a brown or yellowish hue (similar to copper). However, this species has red, black, and grey variations.

While this species is often known as the “copperhead,” it is vital to highlight that it is separate from and unrelated to the American snake of the same name.

The lowland copperhead, like the red-bellied black snake, is usually found near bodies of water because it loves low vegetation (such as marshes and swampland).

The snake frequently hunts for frogs, lizards, and smaller snakes from here (including its own species).

When agitated, the lowland copperhead flattens its body and hisses loudly to frighten off humans and other animals. These snakes can also raise their heads above the ground in the same way that cobras do.

The venom of the lowlands copperhead is exceedingly toxic, containing potent postsynaptic neurotoxins, hemotoxins, and cytotoxins.

As a result, a single bite can easily kill an adult human. Following a bite, its venom actively attacks the victim’s nervous system.

As a result, severe headaches, disorientation, and convulsions occur (in extreme cases). Non-specific side symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and localized pain at the bite site.

Although the snake is often “shy” towards humans, it will vigorously defend itself when challenged.
Fortunately, only a dozen lowland copperhead bites have been documented, with only one fatality.

You can treat lowland copperhead bites with antivenom, palliative care, and intravenous fluids.

Despite its low death rate, toxicology tests show that untreated cases can be lethal 20 to 40% of the time, making this a hazardous snake you should avoid at all costs.

8. King Brown Snake (Pseudechis australis)

The Elapidae family includes the very deadly king brown snake. The king brown, often known as the “mulga snake,” is Australia’s longest venomous snake, reaching lengths of up to 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) at maturity.

Except for Victoria and Tasmania, you can find king browns across most of the Australian continent. However, as a result of human encroachment, sightings of the snake have become increasingly infrequent in Queensland in recent years.

Regarding habitat, king brown prefers forests, meadows, and open areas with little vegetation. Like the red-bellied black snake, the king brown snake prefers water areas where it can actively pursue a variety of species.

Such as smaller snakes, lizards, rodents, birds, and amphibians. In contrast to many snake species, the king brown can live for 20 to 30 years. Because the king brown has few natural predators in the wild, this is a somewhat regular occurrence.

King browns are noted for their aggressive temperament and have one of the world’s greatest venom outputs of any snake, making them one of the most venomous snakes in Australia.

As a result, they are extremely lethal and dangerous snakes to people and other animals.

While most of these victims were snake handlers, studies have shown that king brown bites can happen without provocation.

As part of their behavior, king browns habitually hit their prey repeatedly and frequently “chew” to produce maximal venom release.

The principal components of its venom are potent hemotoxins and mycotoxins that affect an individual’s blood, muscular-skeletal system, and kidneys.

Nausea, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting are common symptoms of envenomation, as are diarrhea, perspiration, and localized swelling around the incision.

When the venom’s hemotoxins enter the bloodstream, clotting often occurs quickly, resulting in a drop in red blood cells.

Myotoxicity also manifests itself quickly, with severe muscle pain and weakness (due to the elevation of creatine in the blood).

While most people heal completely, king brown bites can cause long-term medical complications. The most common problems are muscular injury and weakness, which normally go away within a few weeks.

9. Western Brown Snake (Pseudonaja nuchalis)

The western brown snake (also known as the gwardar) is highly venomous in the Elapidae family.
“Gwardar” is aboriginal for “take a long way around.”

This is an appropriate moniker, as people should exercise extreme caution while in touch with the western brown snake.

Western browns are one of the continent’s quickest snake species, distinguished by their orangish-black look and cream-colored (orangish-pink) underside.

Despite its name’s suggestion, western browns have a wide range and reside across the entire Australian continent.

In terms of habitat, the western brown prefers drier circumstances. As a result, you can find them in grasslands, forests, and coastal regions. While this snake is not an arboreal species, it’s not uncommon to see one in a tree or shrub.

The snake preys on smaller animals and reptiles in its natural habitat, with lizards and mice being their principal prey.

While the western brown is normally cautious near humans, it is well-known for its tremendous ferocity when provoked.

This predisposition, along with its strong venom, makes the western brown a highly deadly snake to humans who come into contact with it. Their venom contains neurotoxins, nephrotoxins, and anticoagulants.

While snake bites are painless (because of the snake’s small fangs), envenomation symptoms often appear quickly.

The symptoms are headache, nausea, vomiting, and severe stomach discomfort. As the venom progresses through the bloodstream, blood coagulation is typical, as is serious kidney injury.

Bite sufferers should seek medical attention immediately to avoid major complications or death. Individuals can access various antivenoms, but they must give them to the victim quickly to prevent further complications.

Treatment usually includes palliative care, which seeks to alleviate as much pain as possible in addition to antivenom.

10. Death Adder (Acanthophis Antarcticus)

The death adder (also known as the “common death adder”) is among the most venomous snakes in Australia and belongs to the Elapidae family.

The death adder resides throughout much of eastern and southern Australia. It is currently one of the deadliest snakes in the world.

The snake is short (up to 3.3 feet long) and easily recognizable by its broad, triangular-shaped head and thick body, often black with red, brown, and black bands.

Regarding habitat, the death adder prefers dry environments in woods, grasslands, and woodlands. These areas offer the snake lots of camouflage, allowing them to set up ambushes for possible prey quickly.

Small mammals (such as mice) and birds are common prey. Unlike many other snakes on this list, the death adder is not extremely aggressive and will lie in wait for several days to catch a meal.

The death adder has a little “lure” at the end of its tail that looks like a worm. The snake uses this gadget to attract smaller creatures, allowing it to ambush its unsuspecting meal rapidly.

The death adder, one of the world’s deadliest snakes, has a potent venom of poisonous neurotoxins. Symptoms of envenomation include drooping eyes, intense nausea, vomiting, and trouble breathing.

Speech difficulties are common as the venom advances (when the neurotoxins begin to impact the central nervous system), as is respiratory paralysis in the last stages.

Deaths usually occur within six hours after a bite without medical assistance, making the death adder one of Australia’s deadliest snakes.

Because nearly 60% of death adder bites result in severe envenomation, immediate medical attention is vital for survival.

Palliative care and intravenous fluids, like most snake bites, are frequent therapies used in conjunction with antivenom, as they ease pain and keep the person hydrated.

11. Eastern Small-eyed Snake (Rhinoplocephalus Nigrescens)

Although the small-eyed snake is approximately 50 centimeters long, its venom is potent and shouldn’t be taken lightly because of its small size.

Although there is little information about its toxicity, bites can cause sickness in people who handle snakes, and at least one fatality has been associated with them.

The venom has a long-acting myotoxin in it, which means it will continue to assault muscle tissue (including the muscle in the heart) for days after injection.

Even though they are numerous, small-eyed snakes are nocturnal dwellers that like to keep to themselves, and as a result, they rarely interact with humans.

They are colorless, blending into the night with their black or dark gray bodies and silvery bellies. When startled, they may act violently and flail around, although they are not typically eager to bite.

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