U.K.-born Paul has worked as a librarian and bookseller since graduating from university. He now works as a freelance writer in Florida.
Australia is notorious for being home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world, and when it comes to snakes, they certainly have some of the most venomous.
That said, like most wild animals, snakes generally will not harm you if you leave them alone. Most snakes do not desire a confrontation with humans and will try to escape if possible.
It is also not straightforward to rank snakes in terms of how dangerous they are. Some snakes can present a potential threat because they have a highly venomous bite, but they are shy and live away from humans; whereas other types are maybe less venomous, but live near humans and are more aggressive.
The amount of venom that a snake delivers when it bites can also vary considerably (human sensitivity to venom varies too). Other factors, such as the size of the fangs can also play a role.
Below is my top ten list for the most dangerous snakes in Australia.
#1 Inland Taipan (Fierce Snake)
The Inland Taipan, also known as the Fierce Snake, is considered to be the world's most venomous snake, and found in the semi-arid regions of central east Australia.
The Inland Taipan's venom is 50 times stronger than that of the Indian Cobra and potent enough to kill around 100 full grown men with a single bite.
Fast and agile, this snake can strike with deadly accuracy multiple times.
Despite its potent venom, bites on humans are rare due to the snake living in remote areas and being placid in regard to humans, preferring to escape if encountered.
How to Avoid Getting Bitten by Snakes
Do not touch any Australian snakes you encounter, unless you are sure that you know what you are dealing with and what you are doing.
Provide the opportunity for the snake to escape, don't make it feel trapped.
Be careful where you put your feet and hands, especially when walking in long grass, or reaching into places that you can't see.
Wear appropriate, solid footwear when walking in the bush.
Use a torch when walking around outside at night.
#2 Common Brown Snake (Eastern Brown Snake)
Fast and aggressive, the common brown snake, or eastern brown snake as it is also known as, is fast and aggressive. Its venom is the second strongest after the inland taipan.
These snakes eat mainly rodents, but they will also consume small birds, frogs, eggs, and other snakes.
Despite their aggressive hunting, the common brown snake will usually attempt to flee if it encounters a human.
If you are unlucky enough to be bitten by one of these snakes, the venom can cause cause diarrhea, dizziness, collapse or convulsions, renal failure, paralysis and cardiac arrest. Treatment should be straight away.
#3 Coastal Taipan
The largest venomous snake in Australia, coastal taipans typically reach a length of 3.9 ft (1.2 m) when fully mature, but can grow as long as 6.6 ft (2 m).
The world's third-most venomous snake, the coastal taipan's bite delivers a highly potent neurotoxin, which affects the nervous system and impedes the blood’s ability to clot.
Bites which aren't treated have a 100% mortality rate, as the snake always delivers a fatal dose of venom.
#4 Common Death Adder
Found in the forests, woodlands, grasslands and heaths of eastern Australia and the southern coast, the common death adder is a master of camouflage.
It hides under leaves and forest debris when hunting for prey and will sometimes wait for days on end to obtain a meal this way. It lures small mammals and birds by twitching its grub-like tail and strikes when they come to investigate.
Despite being highly venomous, the common death adder is not usually aggressive towards humans.
#5 Common Tiger Snake
Tiger snakes vary in color but are typically banded like a tiger, hence their name. They live in southern parts of Australia, including the coastal islands and Tasmania.
The common tiger snake grows to around 3 to 6.6 feet long (0.9 to 1.2 metres) and if threatened, flattens its body and raises its head, ready to strike.
A bite from one of these snakes contains enough venom to potentially kill a human. If untreated, the bite has a mortality rate of between 40 and 60%.
#6 Lowland Copperhead
Despite its name, the lowland copperhead is not closely related to the American copperhead. It lives in southeastern Australia, and Tasmania, eating frogs, lizards and snakes.
Its venom is neurotoxic and potentially fatal to humans, medical help should be immediately sought if you are unlucky enough to be bitten by one of these snakes.
#7 Desert Death Adder
Another Australian snake that ranks as one of the most dangerous in the world, the desert death adder is most active during the nighttime, using its long fangs and venom to subdue and kill prey.
Luckily these snakes don't usually bite unless they feel particularly threatened and the threat is very close by. If they do bite, the consequences can be serious, however.
One fascination fact desert death adders is that unlike most snakes, they give birth to live young, with as many as 13 live young produced in each litter.
#8 King Brown or Mulga Snake
Known as the king brown, mulga snake, or the Pilbara cobra, this snake is one of the longest venomous snakes in the world.
Mulga snakes can reach lengths of 8.2 to 9.8 ft (2.5 to 3.0 m), although they are more usually closer to 4.9 ft (1.5 m).
Their venom is not as potent as with most of the other snakes in the list, but they produce it in vast quantities.
Mulga's are more aggressive than most other venomous snakes too, and have even been known to attack sleeping humans.
#9 Chappell Island Tiger Snake
The Chappell Island tiger snake is by far the largest of the tiger snake species, averaging over 6 ft (1.9 m) in length.
Although named specifically after Chappell Island, the snake can also be found on the majority of the islands of the Furneaux group of islands on the eastern side of Bass Strait, the two major islands being Flinders Island and Cape Barron Island.
The Chappell Island tiger snake has a blunt head and robust body and feeds on small birds and chicks, frogs, and small mammals.. Despite its potent venom, it is normally placid in its behavior towards humans.
#10 Red-bellied Black Snake
Found in eastern Australia, the red-bellied black snake can be found in woodlands, forests and swamplands, as well as urban areas.
It is less venomous than some of the other Australian venomous snakes, a bite still requires speedy medical attention. Antivenom is used to treat bites, which are not usually fatal to humans, mainly because the snake typically injects only small amounts of venom toxin.
© 2015 Paul Goodman