Animals

Who is the world’s poisonous snake

Snakes are reptiles characterized by having a very long body and the absence of limbs, which is why they move in a zigzag. There are around 3,460 species in the world, and many of them are capable of secreting a toxic substance known as poison to defend themselves or attack their prey, which can cause their immobilization, the appearance of diseases and even death.

Who’s the world’s poisonous snake

In order to name the most poisonous snake in the world, it is necessary to know the dangerousness and deadly capacity of its venom. Thus there is a specific scientific method to analyze the properties and characteristics of said toxic substance. This method is based on the use of a toxicological index called LD50 , in which LD means “death dose” and 50 means that it can affect at least 50% of the population. In other words, with this index it is possible to measure the amount of venom necessary to kill, in 24 hours, 50% of the laboratory mice that are injected with the venom.

Once this method was known and applied, the venom of several species of snakes was analyzed until the most toxic of all was found, the venom of the inland Taipan snake. With the venom secreted in a single bite, it is capable of killing about 100 human beings or 250,000 mice, being ten times more poisonous than the already feared rattlesnake and fifty times more than the common cobra. Thus, the most poisonous snake in the world is the inland Taipan .

Characteristics and Effects of Inland Taipan Poison

The secret of the lethality of this poison is, mainly in its composition :

  • Neurotoxins : cause harmful effects on the functions of nervous tissue.
  • Hemotoxins : they have procoagulant properties so the blood loses its fluidity and liquidity, slowing down and preventing its circulation.
  • Myotoxins : cause muscle stiffness and dysfunction.
  • Nephrotixins : capable of affecting the kidneys, and therefore the body’s metabolic capacity.
  • Hyaluronidase enzyme : increases the rate of absorption of the poison.

Thus, a bite from the inland Taipan can present multiple intoxication, affecting both the organ system and the nervous system. The first symptoms occur locally, pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness and seizures that later lead to more severe effects on the organs such as kidney failure, blood clotting, neurotoxicity and, finally , death.

The only consolation is that, luckily, the inland Taipan is not particularly aggressive and a human-snake encounter in the wild rarely occurs.

The inland Taipan belongs to the Elapidae family, the members of this family being very poisonous and with short, fixed fangs at the front of the jaw. It is native to regions of central Australia , and is currently found in the southwest of the continent and in the southeast of the Northern Territory.

It measures approximately 1.80 cm in length , although some specimens can reach 2 to 2.5 cm in length . It is a snake with small scales and a brown or dark yellow color, varying its tonality in a range that ranges from very dark tones to lighter greens, depending on the season of the year in which we are. Since, it adapts to its environment by changing the color of its skin. In this way, it adopts darker colors in the colder months to absorb more sunlight, and at the same time avoids them in the warmer months, by using lighter shades.

It feeds mainly on small animals ; rodents, birds and some marsupials from Australia, which it kills by injecting its powerful venom with each bite.

Regarding its reproduction, the inland Taipan reproduces in the spring season. Males compete in a ritual to determine who is the strongest and therefore worthy of offspring. After mating with the female, she can lay up to 20 eggs, which hatch about 2 months later.

Finally, it should be noted that, like the rest of the species on the Australian continent, it is protected by law and is therefore not considered in danger of extinction .

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