If we are strictly referring to the toxicity of a snake’s venom, the Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) is probably the winner for the world’s most venomous snake. However, when judging for this position, there are many factors to consider.
For example, is this data referring to the toxicity to humans or certain kinds of animals? What is very toxic to humans sometimes is not as toxic to certain animals, and vice versa. While lab rats are usually used for testing because of a similar immune system to humans, that is still not the same as a human body. How is the venom injected? The location of the injection and the type of venom can have a different effect on the body because of the venom’s purpose. Is each injection the average dosage that is injected by the animal in real-world situations? Venom can be extremely toxic, but if you only get a micro-dosage, you may only have a slight reaction; it all depends. All of these factors and more affect the results.
Nevertheless, in general, the majority agrees that the Inland Taipan probably takes first place. The LD50 for the Inland Taipan according to subcutaneous injection, which is the injection directly under the skin (Subcutaneous injection is the most common envenomation for a snake bite for humans) is “0.01 mg/kg” (1). The lower the number, the more toxic. “The toxin from one bite may be sufficient to kill 250,000 mice (PREISSLER 2004).” (2). This means that the venom is extremely toxic to mammals, and therefore to humans. To understand the LD50 and how venom works, see our page in the main menu called, What is Venom?
So the basic answer for the world’s most venomous snake is the Inland Taipan. However, if you did not know that, you probably do not need to be concerned, because if you lived where they are found, you would have known that by now. That is because the Inland Taipan is found in Australia along with some other extremely dangerous animals, and the locals know them all. Australia is famous for its dangerous animals. They have animals like the Sydney Funnel Web Spider, the Salt Water Crocodile, the Box Jelly Fish, and many others. So if you were not familiar with the Inland Taipan before, you probably do not need to be concerned.
Still waiting to take a picture of one, I apologize for no picture.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu