Don’t Get Hissterical On Me! Part 1

Hi everyone! I have been kindly asked by a family member in Melbourne, Australia if I wouldn’t mind doing a blog on snakes (hence the horrendous pun), and so I shall.

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Serpentes, or snakes, are one of the most versatile and unique species to be found on our planet. Snakes have conquered every continent (apart from Antarctica) and can even be found in our oceans! There are two different types of snakes; venomous snakes and constrictor snakes. In this post I shall discuss the venomous snakes.

What makes a snake venomous is their ability to produce venom, which is primarily used for the immobilisation of their prey and for defence (this is usually done through injection into the victims bloodstream via terrifying fangs). There are more than 600 species of venomous species of snake on this planet, but only about 200 pose any threat to humans, according to the World Health Organisation (I know, not much of a comfort, but it could be worse, all of them could be dangerous to us). The six most deadly snakes on Earth are the following:

The saw-scaled viper:

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This viper inhabits parts of India and the Middle East. It doesn’t possess the strongest of venoms, but it is responsible for more human deaths annually than any other snake. This is partly because it’s often found in populated areas.

The king cobra:

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The king cobra rightly earns its title as king. It can reach 18 ft, making it the longest of the world’s venomous snakes. This cobra is found in India and Southeast Asia and can deliver enough neurotoxins in one bite to kill an Asian elephant!

The tiger snake:

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This dangerous species of snake inhabits southern Australia and Tasmania. It kills its victims with an extremely potent mixture of neurotoxins, coagulants, hemolysins and myotoxins. What is very interesting about this snake though is that it varies in size depending on their personal taste in prey.

The inland taipan:

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This serpent is often referred to as the “fierce snake” and its bite is certainly very fierce, being able to kill a human in less than an hour. The inland taipan is easily one of the deadliest snakes on the planet with its paralysing venom being able to cause haemorrhage in the blood vessels and muscle tissue of its victim.

The faint-banded sea snake:

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This sea snake is believed to be the most venomous snake on Earth, with its bite said to be 100 times more deadly than that of its compatriot, the inland taipan. Lucky for us, this native of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean is rarely known to bite humans.

Lastly, the black mamba:

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The black mamba was featured on my last post as one of the most aggressive animals on Earth. It is one of the most venomous snakes on Earth as well. This Usain Bolt of snakes can move at speeds of up to 12.5 mph and its bite can kill a human in less than 30 minutes. David Attenborough (below) will explain a bit more about this deadly snake and why it is so much faster than other serpents.

That’s all for the first part of my post about snakes. Come back soon for the second part, this one being all about the giants of the serpents, the constrictors.

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