Out of all the unique animals that live in Australia, the country's diverse snake population might be the most famous. These snakes, many of whom are venomous, are famed and feared worldwide. Here is a list of the most dangerous snakes that can be found in Australia.
Eastern Small-Eyed Snake
A venomous species of Australian snake, the Eastern Small-eyed snake (Cryptophis nigrescens) has a widespread distribution from the northernmost parts of Queensland to southern parts of Victoria. They are found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from coastal areas to mountains. The snakes are nocturnal in nature and must be avoided at all times as they produce a highly potent myotoxin with the capability of paralyzing muscles including vital muscles in the body.
Southern Death Adder
As the name implies, the venom of the Southern Death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus) is a potent neurotoxin that can trigger the death of an adult human within only 6 hours after a powerful bite, if not treated immediately. The death adder occurs throughout southern Australia where it is found in the Australian states of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and Victoria. Other areas of the country have a relatively smaller distribution of this species.
Red-bellied Black Snake
The Red-bellied Black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) has a widespread distribution in eastern Australia occurring in swamps, forests, woodlands, and even urban areas in the region. Though the venom of the snake is a toxic cocktail of myotoxins, neurotoxins, and hemotoxins, the bites from this snake are hardly fatal since the snake injects very little toxin during such bites. However, since the venom has a potential lethal nature, it is always necessary to treat the snake bite with antivenom whenever such cases occur.
With a powerful neurotoxic venom that can easily kill an adult human being if delivered in sufficient amount via a bite, the Lowland Copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) is a snake to always avoid. The snake is found in areas with sparse vegetation near water bodies where prey species like frogs and lizards are available in plenty. The snake is distributed in southeastern parts of Australia and Tasmania.
Mulga King Brown Snake
The second longest venomous snake species in Australia, the King Brown snake, also known as the Mulga snake (Pseudechis australis), has an extremely widespread distribution, occurring throughout most of Australia with the exception of Tasmania and Victoria. The snake produces venom that is myotoxic in nature and is known to strike humans even when not threatened in any way. For example, these aggressive snakes are known to bite people even when they are asleep. The king brown snake might deliver as much as 150 milligrams of venom in a single bite.
Mainland Tiger Snake
The Mainland Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) is known for its powerful venom which is a toxic cocktail of myotoxins, neurotoxins, and blood hemolyzing and coagulating agents. The snakes are distributed near water bodies and wetland areas with high prey density in the southeastern parts of Australia. Tiger snakes are responsible for a large number of snake bite cases in the country and have a mortality rate as high as 40% to 60%.
Inland Fierce Taipan
The Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), also referred to as the Fierce Taipan, is highly feared in Australia for its deadly venom that is lethal in very small volumes. The inland taipan inhabits the semiarid areas in the Australian states of South Australia and Queensland. The venom produced by the snake contains neurotoxins, nephrotoxins, myotoxins, and hemotoxins as well as has hemorrhagic properties. If left untreated, the bite victim is almost always sure to die in 80% of the cases. Death might occur within 45 minutes of envenomation with respiratory failure being the primary cause of death on most occasions.
The Gwardar (Pseudonaja nuchalis), also known as the Western Brown snake, has a widespread distribution throughout large parts of Australia. The snake is one of the most venomous species of snakes in the country, producing a toxic cocktail of neurotoxins, procoagulants, and nephrotoxins that can trigger severe envenomation symptoms in humans including nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, and kidney damage.
Eastern Common Brown Snake
The Eastern Common Brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis) is found all along the eastern coast of Australia from Queensland to Victoria and then continuing south into South Australia, and are also found in some parts of Western Australia. The venom of the snake is highly potent, consisting of a mix of neurotoxins and blood coagulants. Bites from the eastern brown snake, however, have a mortality rate of only 10% to 20% since the snake usually delivers a low volume of venom during each bite.
Coastal Eastern Taipan
The third most venomous land snake in the world, the venom of the Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) can kill an adult human being within 30 minutes to 2.5 hours after a lethal bite. The snake is also infamous for almost always delivering sufficient venom to trigger death in its victim. The venom of the coastal taipan is known as the taicatoxin, which is a powerful neurotoxin. If left untreated, the mortality rate from a coastal taipan bite is nearly 100%. The snake is found in northern and eastern Australia and though its name suggests its location near the coast, it can also be found hundreds of kilometers inland from the sea shores.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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