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spooky! Discover the 10 scariest snakes in the world!

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key point:

  • The largest snake in the world is the green anaconda, which inhabits the rainforests of South America.
  • The eastern coral snake can grow up to 3 feet long and is found in the southeastern United States. These thin snakes are part coral snakes.
  • Horned vipers are venomous snakes that live in arid regions of the Middle East and Africa. These snakes have specialized scales that form horn-like protrusions above their eyes.

Can you imagine hiking up a trail, turning a corner, and seeing a giant king cobra with its head raised to your eye level, panting, hissing, and wiggling it back and forth with its half inch long fangs? Head, ready to strike at any moment? Now that would be scary!

King cobras are the largest venomous snakes in the world, some reaching 18 feet long. What about a snake that spits venom at its victim or bites it?

Are there snakes that repeatedly attack? Let's learn about some of the scariest snakes in the world.

#10) What is the biggest scary snake in the world?

biggest snake greenest boa constrictor
Green anacondas can be 20-30 feet long and weigh up to 550 pounds.

©Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

The green python is the largest snake in the world. It lives in the rainforests of South America. Green anacondas can grow to over 20 feet long. If the office cubicle is 10 feet long, this snake can be up to 3 office cubicles long. And we're not talking about a snake the size of a garden hose; this snake is thick! While unconfirmed, the largest estimates weighed as much as 550 lbs! Definitely one of the scariest snakes around!

#9) What snake has a scary combination of red, yellow and black ?

Coral snakes come in distinct black, yellow and red colours.

© iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

Another of the scariest snakes is the coral snake. You've probably heard the catchy life-saving song, "Red touches black, it's safe for Jack. Red touches yellow, kills." I prefer the rhyme, "Red, yellow and black, just stand back!" Why take a chance?

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However, the rhyme isn't always accurate, and it's not safe to rely on it — it can only help identify a typical North American coral snake . There are some North American coral snakes with unusual patterns that don't match the rhyme – don't even bother to use it outside of North America.

Eastern coral snakes live in the southeastern states of the United States. Coral snakes are slender snakes about 3 feet long. They come in alternating wide black, thin yellow, wide red, thin yellow, and wide black designs. Their heads are small but they release a potent venom, a neurotoxin that affects the nervous system. If you are bitten by any red, yellow or black snake, seek medical attention immediately to be safe.

#8) What snake has horns?

Horned viper side view
Horned vipers have horns above their eyes, and they are poisonous.

© iStock.com/Mark Kostic

A horned viper is a snake with modified scales that form horns above the eyes. They are poisonous and live in the deserts of the Middle East and Africa. They hide in the sand and wait to ambush their prey, but humans are not one of their targets. These vipers are smaller snakes, usually less than 2 feet long, that prefer lizards and rodents as prey.

#7) What snake has the scariest fangs?

Gabon vipers have the longest fangs in the world. Some can grow up to 2 inches and are painful to bite.

©frantic00/Shutterstock.com

Gabon vipers have the scariest fangs! They have some of the longest fangs in the world, some nearly 2 inches long! These snakes don't just bite; they insist on dispensing the most possible venom. A Gabon snakebite is one of the most painful snakebites in the world. Fortunately, they are not aggressive snakes, so bites are uncommon.

#6) What scary snake bites more than once?

fierce snake
The inland taipan has one of the deadliest venoms in the world.

©Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

The inland taipan, also known as the viper, is quite scary because not only does it have one of the deadliest venoms in the world, but it bites more than once. According to research, one bite is enough to kill 100 people, but it bites, reloads, bites, over and over again! If you are bitten, you may only have 30-45 minutes before the neurotoxins in the venom cause paralysis and death.

The good news is that it lives in remote parts of Australia with little human contact.

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#5) What horrible snake hisses and spits out venom?

Mozambican cobra (Naja mossambica) spits venom for defense. The snake's body surface is slate to blue, olive, or tea-black, with black edges on some or all of the scales.
The Mozambican spitting cobra can spit venom up to 10 feet.

©Stu Porter/Shutterstock.com

The Mozambique Spitting Cobra is a highly venomous snake that can raise its body, hiss menacingly and spit its venom up to 10 feet away! The venom is cytotoxic and causes tissue damage where it comes in contact with the skin. If it sprays venom in your eyes, you could go blind.

This cobra can be found in countries in southern Africa, including Mozambique. According to a study of Mozambique cobras, "the majority (94%) of the bites occurred in human dwellings, and 81% of these occurred while the victim was asleep." Now that's scary!

#4) What snake would entangle a victim and crush it to death?

Burmese python
Boas wrap around their prey and squeeze until its heart stops before swallowing it whole.

©iStock.com/Lunatic_67

If you drop to the ground and come face-to-face with a reticulated python, you may experience a "hug of life." These giant snakes wrap themselves around their prey and squeeze until it stops breathing. For years, it was thought that it was because they suffocated to death. However, new research suggests that the stress of such a super hug is more likely to lead to cardiac arrest.

No matter how they hunt, snakes will swallow their prey whole. In 2018, multiple news outlets including USA Today, The Washington Post and the BBC reported that an Indonesian woman was attacked and swallowed by a 23-foot reticulated python! Villagers found a large, swollen snake nearby and sliced it open to retrieve the dead man's body. Now, this is scary.

#3) What fearsome snake viciously bites its victim?

boomslang glides on a branch
Boomslangs can bite their victims and release a deadly venom.

© iStock.com/FroeMic

Don't be fooled by the cute big green eyed Boomslang. It looks like a garden hose with cartoon eyes. You'll find it attractive until the mouth opens 170° to reveal the two large fangs at the back of the jaw. Boomslangs are back-toothed snakes in the Colubridae family. The position of their fangs means they need to open their mouths wide to release their deadly venom.

Their venom is slow-acting but potentially fatal because it disrupts blood clotting. There is an antivenom that heals the effects of the bite. Fortunately, bites by these snakes are rare, as they tend to flee once they sense a larger animal nearby. They are found in sub-Saharan Africa in South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

#2) What is the Deadliest Snake in America?

mojave rattlesnakes
The Mojave Desert Rattlesnake is the deadliest snake in the United States.

© Creeping Stuff/Shutterstock.com

Mojave rattlesnakes have some of the most dangerous venom of any rattlesnake in the United States. It is found in the southwestern states of Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California, and Nevada. Rattlesnakes can be intimidating, but they usually warn you to stay away by rattling.

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When they fail, they coil up and prepare to strike, raising the warning level. Their venom contains neurotoxins and hemotoxins that attack your nervous system and slow blood clotting. In the United States, antivenom is available in most medical facilities and can be used to treat post-bite effects.

#1) What is the deadliest snake in the world?

Deadliest Snake - Indian Sawscale Viper
The sawscale viper is the deadliest snake in the world.

© reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

The sawscale viper is the deadliest snake in the world. It's not the biggest snake, about 3 feet long, but it kills more people than any other snake. This snake is found in West Africa and parts of South Asia, including India. The nocturnal sawscale viper bites quickly when startled. It makes a hissing sound as it rubs the coils of its body together as it moves.

The venom of the sawscale viper can wreak all kinds of havoc. Some snake venoms simply paralyze the victim, but jagged venom contains cardiotoxins (attacks your heart), neurotoxins (attacks your nervous system) and hemotoxins (makes it difficult for your blood to clot, causing you to bleed internally). In areas where medical care is unavailable locally, these bites can be fatal. In my book, deadly = scary, so the sawscale viper is the scariest snake in the world!

other scary reptiles

Animals that reproduce asexually - Komodo dragons
Komodo dragons are one of the most dangerous animals you may encounter.

© Anna Kucherova/Shutterstock.com

The diverse group of organisms known as reptiles are known for their special adaptations and occasionally menacing appearance.

When people think of scary reptiles, snakes are probably the first thing that comes to mind, but there are many more reptiles with terrifying powers. The world of reptiles is full of animals that will scare your mind, from giant lizards to venomous turtles.

Here is a list of some of the more common non-snake scary reptiles:

  • American alligator
  • American crocodile
  • komodo dragon
  • Monster lizard
  • green iguana
  • nile monitor
  • saltwater crocodile
  • black caiman
  • bearded dragon
  • frilled lizard

'Monster' snake 5 times bigger than a boa constrictor discovered

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Timber rattlesnake attacking prey
Timber rattlesnake attacks quickly

© Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com


about the author


I'm a wildlife conservation writer and reporter who raises awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share our planet. I graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris with a degree in Elementary Education, and I am a former teacher. When I'm not writing, I enjoy going to the kids' soccer games, watching movies, working on DIY projects, and running with Tango, our giant Labrador.

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