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- Asian pit vipers,
from 2 to 5 ft. long, throughout Asia; reactions
and mortality vary, but most bites cause tissue
damage and mortality is generally low.
- Australian brown snakes
- 4 to 7 ft. long; very slow onset of cardiac or
respiratory distress; moderate mortality, but
because death can be sudden and unexpected, it is
the most dangerous of the Australian snakes;
- Barba Amarilla or
Fer-de-lance - up to 7 ft. long, from
tropical Mexico to Brazil; severe tissue damage
common; moderate mortality; antivenom.
- Black mamba - up to
14 ft. long, fast-moving; S and C Africa; rapid
onset of dizziness, difficulty breathing, erratic
heart-beat; mortality high, nears 100% without
- Boomslang - under 6
ft. long, in African savannahs; rapid onset of
nausea and dizziness, often followed by slight
recovery and then sudden death from internal
hemorrhaging; bites rare, mortality high;
- Bushmaster - up to
12 ft. long, wet tropical forests of C and S
America; few bites occur, but mortality rate is
- Common or Asian cobra
- 4 to 8 ft. long, throughout S Asia;
considerable tissue damage, sometimes paralysis;
mortality probably not more than 10%;
- Copperhead - less
than 4 ft. long, from New England to Texas; pain
and swelling; very seldom fatal; antivenom seldom
- Coral snake - 2 to 5
ft. long, in Americas south of Canada; bite may
be painless; slow onset of paralysis, impaired
breathing; mortalities rare, but high without
antivenom and mechanical respiration.
- Cottonmouth water moccasin
- up to 5 ft. long, wetlands of southern U.S.
from Virginia to Texas. Rapid onset of severe
pain, swelling; mortality low, but tissue
destruction can be extensive; antivenom.
- Death adder - less
than 3 ft. long, Australia; rapid onset of
faintness, cardiac and respiratory distress; at
least 50% mortality without antivenom.
- Desert horned viper
- in dry areas of Africa and western Asia;
swelling and tissue damage; low mortality;
- European vipers -
from 1 to 3 ft. long; bleeding and tissue damage;
mortality low; antivenoms.
- Gaboon viper - over
6 ft. long, fat; 2-inch fangs; south of the
Sahara; massive tissue damage, internal bleeding;
few recorded bites.
- King cobra - up to
16 ft. long, throughout S Asia; rapid swelling,
dizziness, loss of consciousness, difficulty
breathing, erratic heartbeat; mortality varies
sharply with amount of venom involved, most bites
involve nonfatal amounts; antivenom.
- Kraits - up to 5 ft.
long, in S Asia; rapid onset of sleepiness;
numbness; up to 50% mortality even with
- Puff adder - up to 5
ft. long, fat; south of the Sahara and throughout
the Middle East; rapid large swelling, great
pain, dizziness; moderate mortality often from
internal bleeding; antivenom.
- Rattlesnake - 2 to 6
ft. long, throughout W. Hemisphere. Rapid onset
of severe pain, swelling; mortality low, but
amputation of affected digits is sometimes
necessary; antivenom. Mojave rattler may produce
- Ringhals, or spitting,
cobra - 5 ft. and 7 ft. long; S Africa;
squirt venom through holes in front of fangs as a
defense; venom is severely irritating and can
- Russell's viper or
tic-polonga - over 5 ft. long, throughout
Asia; internal bleeding; moderate mortality rate;
bite reports common; antivenom.
Saw-scaled or carpet viper - up to 2 ft. long, in
dry areas from India to Africa; severe bleeding,
fever; high mortality, causes more human
fatalities than any other snake; antivenom.
- Sea snakes -
throughout Pacific, Indian oceans except NE
Pacific; almost painless bite, variety of muscle
pain, paralysis; mortality rate low, many bites
are not envenomed; some antivenoms.
- Sharp-nosed pit viper or
One Hundred Pace Snake - up to 5 ft. long,
in S Vietnam and Taiwan, China; the most toxic of
Asian pit vipers; very rapid onset of swelling
and tissue damage, internal bleeding; moderate
- Taipan - up to 11
ft. long, in Australia and New Guinea; rapid
paralysis with severe breathing difficulty;
mortality nears 100% without antivenom.
Tiger snake - 2 to 6 ft. long, S Australia; pain,
numbness, mental disturbances with rapid onset of
paralysis; may be the most deadly of all land
snakes though antivenom is quite effective.
- Yellow or Cape cobra
- 7 ft. long, in southern Africa; most toxic
venom of any cobra; rapid onset of swelling,
breathing and cardiac difficulties; mortality
high without treatment; antivenom.
Note: Not all
bites by venomous snakes are actually envenomed. All
animal bites, however, possibly carry tetanus, and anyone
suffering a snake bite should seek medical attention.
Antivenoms do not cure; they are only an aid in the
treatment of bites. Mortality rates above are for
envenomed bites; low mortality, up to 2% result in death;
moderate, 2-5%; high, 5-15%.
Last Updated: April 04, 2007