Which type of snake is the deadliest? 

 There is not a simple answer. It’s like asking “Who was the best baseball player ever?”  or “Who was the best president we’ve ever had?’ Lots of different ways to arrive at an answer. People will come up with different answers and lists.

For World’s Deadliest Snakes, one must look at several criteria. Those might be; the toxicity of the venom, the number of deaths per year, the size of the adult, the amount of venom per bite, and the aggressive nature of the snake.

The Black Mamba would be on everyone’s Top Ten list. This “bad boy” snake is found in all African countries, except the desert countries of the north. The Black Mamba averages over 8 feet in length and can travel up to 12 miles per hour.

The Black Mamba is olive green in color. The inside of the mouth is black, hence the name. This snake is very territorial, does not like intruders, and will strike or bite repeatedly, up to 12 times in a row.

When  threatened or cornered, the Black Mamba will hiss, flatten its neck, and display its inky mouth and 2 large fangs. It can rear up to one-third of its body from the ground, a distance of up to 4 feet.

Most snake poisons are hemo-toxic and travel slowly through the blood stream. This allows time for a tourniquet to isolate the poison, or to get treatment by using a snakebite kit.

The Black Mamba poison is neuro-toxic. It rushes right to the nerves, attacks the central nervous system, and shuts down major organs.  A single bite from a Black Mamba is enough to kill 10 adults. A victim would be comatose in an hour, dead in 6 hours. You do not want a Black Mamba for a pet!

The Inland Taipan, sometimes called the Fierce Snake, is native to Australia’s central arid areas. Its venom is the most toxic known, a single bite could kill a 100 people.  Fortunately, this Fierce Snake is rather timid and will strike only if provoked. These snakes live in holes and feed on mice and rats.

Wisconsin has 21 species of snakes, but only two are venomous, the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake and the Timber Rattlesnake. The Massasauga rattlesnake is on the Endangered  List and the Timber Rattlesnake is on the Protected Wild Animal list. It is illegal to hunt or own either snake. The Timber rattler lives mostly along the rocky bluffs of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers.

When I was a kid growing up in rural Crawford County, there was a bounty on rattlesnakes, gophers, and moles. Rattlesnake tails fetched as much as $5.00. Mole feet were 25 cents and gopher tails earned a nickel.  Most of the bounties were taken off in the mid 1970s.

Sources: dnr.wi.gov/eek/critter/reptile/snakes.htm   and animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/black-mamba





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