What is the most venomous snake in the world? Meet the inland taipan (if you dare).
Over 3,000 species of snakes slither across the globe, according to National Geographic. Of these species, approximately 600 are venomous, with around 7% being poisonous enough to kill or injure a human.
Venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins and coral snakes, can be found in the U.S., says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But what about the rest of the world? Snakes can be found in nearly every continent, except Antarctica, says National Geographic. So, which species packs the most venomous punch?
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What is the most venomous snake in the world?
The inland or western taipan, Oxyuranus microlepidotus, is the most venomous snake in the world, according to Britannica.
Native to Australia, this snake has the deadliest venom based on median lethal dose, or LD50, tests on mice. According to Merriam Webster, LD50 defines "the amount of a toxic agent (such as a poison, virus, or radiation) that is sufficient to kill 50 percent of a population of animals usually within a certain time."
Unlike its nickname of the "Fierce Snake," the inland taipan is regarded as being shy. But like any animal, it will attack if provoked.
Inland taipans will make single or multiple quick bites when they attack. Symptoms of an inland taipan bite include headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, collapse and paralysis. There have been few recorded bites by inland taipans, and all have survived due to immediate medical attention.
The inland taipan's venom also contains a "spreading factor," or hyaluronidase enzyme, which increase the permeability of the toxins throughout the bitten person's body.
While its venom is dangerous, the inland taipan is "relatively placid and rarely encountered in its remote, semi-arid homeland," says the Australian Museum. Interaction between this species and humans does not occur frequently.
What are the top five poisonous snakes in the world?
According to the Australian Venom Research Unit at the University of Melbourne, Australia, here are the top five poisonous land snakes in the world, as of 2015:
Eastern brown snake
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What is the deadliest snake?
The saw-scaled viper, Echis carinatus, is considered the deadliest snake in the world, according to Britannica. This type of snake is said to be responsible for "more human deaths than all other snake species combined."
The venom of the saw-scaled viper is not as lethal as other snakes, but it is far more aggressive. These snakes are quick to strike and bite early and often when attacking.
Saw-scaled vipers are found across Africa and southwestern Asia to India and Sri Lanka, particularly in arid and dry areas. Adult vipers of this species can reach between 1 to 3 feet in length says Britannica.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is the most venomous snake in the world? Meet the inland taipan.