Facts and Figures: World's Most Venomous Snakes

Which snake species is the most venomous depends on the measure used. The average or the maximum venom yield from milking could be suggested, but these measures can be criticised as not reflecting the impact of a real bite. The measure generally acknowledged as best reflecting how dangerous a snake's venom is is that of LD50. The lower this number, the less venom is required to cause death. By that measure, the most venomous snake in the world is Australia's inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus). The table below gives the top 25 species in order, their LD50, and their distribution.

  Snake Species LD50* Distribution
1. Inland taipan 0.025 Australia
2. Eastern brown snake 0.053 Australia
3. Coastal taipan 0.099 Australia
4. Tiger snake 0.118 Australia
5. Black tiger snake 0.131 Australia
6. Beaked sea snake 0.164 Australia
7. Black tiger snake (Chappell Island ssp.) 0.194 - 0.338 Australia
8. Death adder 0.400 Australia
9. Gwardar 0.473 Australia
10. Spotted brown snake 0.360 (in bovine serum albumin) Australia
11. Australian copperhead 0.560 Australia
12. Cobra 0.565 Asia
13. Dugite 0.660 Australia
14. Papuan black snake 1.09 New Guinea
15. Stephens' banded snake 1.36 Australia
16. Rough scaled snake 1.36 Australia
17. King cobra 1.80 Asia
18. Blue-bellied black snake 2.13 Australia
19. Collett's snake 2.38 Australia
20. Mulga snake 2.38 Australia
21. Red-bellied black snake 2.52 Australia
22. Small eyed snake 2.67 Australia
23. Eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake 11.4 North America
24. Black whipsnake >14.2 Australia
25. Fer-de-lance >27.8 South America

*LD50: mg/kg in saline by subcutaneous injection in mice.