One important thing to note is the difference between venomous and poisonous animals. Venom is always injected; poison has to be ingested, inhaled or absorbed. This is a list of the most venomous animals in the world. Potency and quantity of venom can vary amongst each animal, so an indisputable list is nearly impossible to compile. Our list includes animals that live on both land and in the sea. Unfortunate encounters with these creatures can result in severe injury or even death.
1. Box Jelly Fish
The Box Jelly Fish is arguably the most venomous creature in the world. Its venom contains neurotoxins, cardiotoxins and dermonecrotic toxins – chemicals that kill living tissue. One sting from this animal can cause respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Some people will go into shock, and as a result, drown from the painfulness of the sting alone before they even get a chance to make it back to the shore. There have been over 5,500 documented deaths from the Box Jelly Fish since 1954. Those who survive a sting will feel pain for weeks afterward. This species is mainly found in the waters around Australia and Asia.
2. Belcher’s Sea Snake
The Belcher’s sea snake is the most venomous snake in the world. In fact, just a couple milligrams of this reptile’s venom can kill 1,000 humans. Fortunately, like most sea snakes, the Belcher’s sea snake is relatively harmless and tends to avoid human contact. Most reported bites from this animal took place when fishermen had accidentally trapped one in their nets and the animal felt threatened. Additionally, it is estimated that this snake only releases its venom about a quarter of the time it bites. It is important to note that the bite from this snake is not incredibly painful, but medical action should be taken immediately as deaths have been known to occur within 30 minutes of venom injection. This water-dwelling snake is mostly found off the coasts of Northern Australia and South East Asia.
3. Inland Taipan Snake
The Inland Taipan snake, also known as the fierce snake or the small-scaled snake, is considered to be the most venomous land-dwelling snake in the world. Although it is observed to be a rather shy reptile, when it does bite it has been known to strike up to 7 times. Its venom has Taipoxin and protease enzymes. The Taipoxin is a very strong neurotoxin that slows down or even stops motor nerve terminals which can cause a bite victim to die from asphyxiation when their respiratory muscles fail. The Inland Taipan snake is only found in certain parts of Australia. The vast majority of known Taipan bites have occurred while herpetologists were handling the animal for research. Since the creation of the antivenom for such bites, no deaths have been recorded.
4.Brazilian Wandering Spider
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Brazilian wandering spider as being the most venomous spider in the world. This spider gets its name because it literally wanders around during dark hours. During the day is likes to hide in dark places, which sometimes leads them to being found in houses, cars, under logs and, strangely, in banana bunches. In fact, these spiders have turned up all over the world in some shipments of bananas. When they bite, their forelimbs act as fangs and inject venom containing the neurotoxin PHTX3 which causes intense pain and can lead to muscle failure and death. In men, the venom frequently causes priapism, which is an intense and painful erection that lasts for hours and can lead to impotence.
The stonefish gives swimmers a good reason to watch where they step. When pressure is put on this fish, spines on its back shoot out and release venom. It is believed that the amount of venom injected is proportionate to the pressure that is put on the fish. It is hard to see this fish due to its stone-like appearance. The sting from a stonefish caused necrosis of the skin, rapid swelling and severe pain. In some cases people may experience muscle fatigue, temporary paralysis and even shock. In some reports, victims of a stonefish sting have actually requested amputation to make the pain go away. This species can be found along the coast of the Indo-Pacific oceans, around Florida and in the Caribbean. A few have even been found in rivers.
6. Blue-ringed Octopus
The blue-ringed octopus is as beautiful as it is deadly. Even though they only grow up to about 8 inches in length, this sea creature packs a huge punch when it bites. The blue-ringed octopus has yellowish skin with black and blue rings. When it becomes disturbed brown patches appear and darken and shimmering blue rings appear and begin to pulsate. They mainly live in tide pools and along coral reefs and hunt for shrimp, crabs and small fish. When they attack, they grab their prey with their tentacles, pull them toward their mouth and bite them with their horny beak while injecting the venom. The venom is powerful enough to kill a human and there is no antivenom yet. Symptoms of a bite include nausea, loss of motor skills, vision loss, blindness and eventually ceasing of respiratory functions. If bitten, you must seek medical attention as ventilator assistance may become crucial for survival.
7. Marbled Cone Snail
The Marbled Cone snail has a beautiful shell, but you certainly do not want to pick one up. Their venom consists of hundreds of different toxins that paralyze fish within one to two seconds. The snail injects its venom through a tentacle that shoots out a poisoned barb. The barb remains attached to its prey and then within minutes the snail engulfs its paralyzed food. Humans, when injected with this venom, often have blurred vision, impaired speech and hearing difficulties. Combinations of numbness and pain as well as swelling usually occur around the wound. There is no antivenom for a Cone snail sting and it is advised that anyone bitten go to a hospital so they can be monitored. There have been around 30 reports of human deaths due to a Marbled Cone snail sting.
8. Sydney Funnel-web Spider
This venomous spider is found in Australia and its bite can kill a child in just 15 minutes. These spiders can grow to be up to two inches long with the males being smaller, but more deadly. When they bite, they often strike repeatedly and deliver a full dose of venom. The males are fairly aggressive and are the most venomous spider on that continent. Females tend to stay in their funnel-shaped webs while males are more likely to be found out and about when in search of a mate. Symptoms of a bite from the Sydney funnel-web spider include salivating, tingling in and around the mouth, sweating, and muscle spasms that can lead to a racing heartbeat.
9. Indian Red Scorpion
The Indian red scorpion, also known as the eastern Indian scorpion, is the most lethal scorpion on the planet. There is no solid data to say what the mortality rate is from an Indian red scorpion sting, but reported fatality rates range from 8 – 40%, with most victims being children. Known symptoms of a sting include severe pain, priapism, muscular convulsions, vomiting, sweating, pink frothy mucus, hypertension, shock and unconsciousness. This species is mainly nocturnal and most human encounters take place at night or in the early morning. There are a fair amount of reports of the scorpion being found in beds. They mainly prey upon small lizards and insects, but will attack a human if they feel that they are being threatened.
10. Eastern Brown Snake
The eastern brown snake is the second most venomous land snake in the world after the inland taipan snake, although it is known to be more aggressive than the taipan. In fact, accounts of eastern brown snakes chasing humans for over 100 meters have been reported. Bites from this reptile often result in dizziness, diarrhea and convulsions. If a bite is not treated with antivenom soon enough, humans can experience paralysis, renal failure and cardiac arrest. The brown snake is commonly found around houses and farms, mostly in eastern Australia due to their main diet of rodents.