Deadliest Snake Quiz

By: HowStuffWorks Staff Writer
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Snakes have a bad reputation, sometimes deservedly so. After all, certain species like the black mamba and king cobra can do serious damage to the average human. However, snakes like these are actually in the minority because of the 2,900 snake species that slither around the globe, only about 375 are actually venomous!

Most people get so hung up on the perceived creepiness of snakes — what with their limbless bodies, fangs and forked tongues — that we fail to appreciate their many fascinating traits. For example, did you know that when a snake flicks his tongue he’s actually using it to smell the air? Anacondas and pythons are particularly impressive, as they can actually live for up to one year between feedings! Fascinating though they are, they’re still wild, unpredictable animals at heart, a truth that became all too obvious when a 32-year-old snake handler was tragically asphyxiated by his pet 8-foot python, which he had raised from a hatchling.

In many parts of the world it’s unlikely that you’re going to simply happen upon a venomous snake, but if you’re still skittish about running into one, consider staying away from tropical locations and instead relocating to New Zealand, Greenland, Iceland or Ireland because they are delightfully snake-free (so is Antarctica, but that sorta goes without saying). Indeed, most of the time, snakes want nothing to do with people, but can be dangerous when cornered. How well do you know these deadly snakes? Take the quiz now to discover your slithering serpent sense!

In which country is there a list of the "big four," the snakes that cause many thousands of bites per year?

India's massive human population and snake-friendly climate mean many, many snake bites.

Where is the black mamba found?

Africans are used to seeing this snake, which can reach lengths of up to 10 feet.

Which snake causes the most snakebite deaths in Australia?

The brown snake's venom is often ranked as the second-most poisonous in the world.

Where will you find the dangerous cape cobra?

Also known as the yellow cobra, it is very common in southern Africa.

Which snake kills more people than any other each year?

The Russell's viper is involved in many thousands of deadly snakebite cases each year, particularly in India.

Unlucky victims may die how quickly after being struck by a king cobra?

The huge snake can unleash large volumes of highly toxic venom, killing people in only about half an hour.

What is the biggest venomous snake in the U.S.?

The Eastern diamondback can weigh more than 30 pounds, making it one of the biggest rattlesnakes on Earth.

On the high-end estimate, what is the mortality rate for people bitten by eastern diamondbacks?

Perhaps a third of victims may die; antivenom is available but may be required in large doses to counter the bite.

What is the longest venomous snake in the world?

The king cobra can reach freakish lengths of more than 18 feet.

Which of the following is NOT one of the "big four" snakes that causes so many bites in India?

The terciopelo is indeed a dangerous snake, but it's not listed as one of the big four. They are the Russell's viper, Indian cobra, common krait and saw-scaled viper.

In India, the venom of young cobras is sometimes used as what?

Believe it or not, substance abusers have been known to use cobra venom (in controlled amounts) for a high.

About how fast can black mambas slither when chasing prey?

At 7 mph, humans need to accelerate to a fast jog to outrun an angry mamba.

About how many deaths does the common krait cause each year in India?

It causes around 10,000 fatalities each year; antivenom often is not effective.

Without treatment, humans often die from black mamba bites after how much time has passed?

It might take 15 hours, but more susceptible victims could die much more quickly.

A coral snake found in North America may carry enough venom to kill how many adults?

The poison could kill about four people, but fortunately, many bites are "dry" and the coral snake is reluctant to strike.

Which poisonous sea snake has one of the largest distribution areas in the world?

The yellow-bellied sea snake drifts on ocean currents and is found all over the place, from New Zealand to California to Peru.

What is NOT a common name for the Russell's viper?

No one calls it a 10-step snake, but it's also called a seven pacer, chain viper and scissors snake.

Which snake has the most potent venom in the world?

About 80% of victims die from inland taipan bites unless they receive medical treatment immediately.

Why do scientists say people have little to fear from the inland taipan, in spite of its incredibly potent venom?

The inland taipan would much rather flee from humans than be forced into biting.

The Dubois' sea snake is often caught by fisherman fishing at what depth?

The very poisonous snake lives in shallower waters but is not afraid to plummet into depths of more than 150 feet.

One study estimated that one bite from a coastal taipan could kill about how many humans?

As many as 60 people could die from the venom in a single bite; to make matters worse, these snakes are very irritable and aggressive.

To what distance can a Philippines cobra spit its venom?

So even if you're 10 feet away, the snake might manage to hit you with its poison.

Which poisonous snake has an extremely aggressive temperament that makes it dangerous to people?

The saw-scaled viper is not afraid to strike, and its bite is also said to be extremely painful.

True or false: Green mambas are more aggressive than black mambas.

Black mambas are one of the world's most aggressive (and most poisonous) snakes and are considered more likely to strike than their green cousins.

In what year was an antivenom created for bites from the coastal taipan?

Before 1956, a bite from the coastal taipan was essentially a death sentence.

Roughly how many people die each year in India due to bites from the Russell's viper?

In India alone, this viper kills more than 20,000 annually.

On which continent is the ocellated carpet viper responsible for the highest number of human deaths each year?

Most commonly found in West Africa, these snakes kill more people than all other African snake species combined.

Why are there no record of humans being killed by golden lanceheads, even though this snake's venom is very toxic?

They are found only on Ilha da Queimada Grande, an uninhabited island in Brazil.

About what percentage of untreated victims die from common death adder bites?

Left untreated, about half of people will perish from this adder's toxic bite.

How long can beaked sea snakes remain submerged before coming back up for air?

That's five hours they have to swim away from you … or lie in wait and then zap you with their potentially deadly poison.

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