1-3. Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, Australia
The Eastern Brown Snake tops the chart as Australia’s most venomous snake and the world’s second most poisonous land snake. Aggressive and fast, this snake positions itself in an ‘S’ shape when threatened. They are found in inland and semi-urban areas. Meanwhile, the country’s fierce Inland Taipan’s toxic venom can kill a human in 45 minutes (if untreated), whilst the Death Adder buries itself under sand or leaf litter to ambush prey and its venom contains neurotoxins that cause paralysis and respiratory failure. If after all this, you still decide to venture the Down Under, then you might want to also check for any unwanted guests in your bathroom too.
4. Snake Island, Brazil
The remote island sounds like a fictional place in horror movies. It’s 32km off the coast of Sao Paolo and declared off-limits by the Brazilian government. The island’s residents are the world’s most poisonous vipers—the Golden Lancehead Viper, whose venom can melt human flesh. According to local legend the snakes once killed a fisherman who accidentally drifted ashore on the island, as well as the lighthouse keeper and his entire family when they accidentally left their windows open. However, there has never been an officially confirmed report of a human being bitten by a Golden Lancehead. As such, much about the deadliness of the snake’s venom remains yet to be confirmed.
5. Manitoba, Canada
This is not for the faint-hearted, every spring more than 75,000 red-sided garters gather in the Narcisse Snake Den to perform mating rituals after waking up from hibernation. This nightmarish scene is over when summer comes but the tenants will return again in early September for hibernation.
6. West Bengal, India
The Common Krait can be found across India, particularly in West Bengal’s rural areas. It’s also one of South Asia’s most venomous snakes. Along with the Saw-scaled viper, it is responsible for the highest number of bites in the country.
7. Sumatra, Indonesia
The Blue Coral Snake is striking in appearance, but its toxic venom is highly dangerous and can cause death in just 30 minutes. Able to grow up to 1.8m long, this serpent dwells in the leaf-litter forests, although its brilliant blue colour makes it easily identifiable. Sumatra is also home to the Paradise flying snake. Its venom is not fatal to humans, but the sight of an airborne snake coming toward you might be enough to make you freeze with fear.
8-10. Mannar, Jaffna and Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka
The northern province of Sri Lanka is home to the nocturnal Saw-scaled viper, which lives near residential areas, is recorded as one of South Asia’s most dangerous snakes. Reaching only to 90cm, these bad-tempered serpents’ venom causes severe bleeding and intense, agonising pain.
11. Florida, United States
The Eastern Diamondback is the largest and most venomous rattlesnake. This heavy-bodied snake is characterised by its diamond shaped patterns on its back. It grows up to 1.8m and weighs over 5kg. It lives in pine flatwoods and coastal barrier islands and it strikes without rattling its tail first. In 2013, an 11-year-old boy was bitten by an eastern diamondback and had to receive 80 vials of anti-venom before the poison in his system was brought under control.
It seems that snakes have never been a particularly popular member of the animal kingdom to us humans, and for good reason. Nearly 600 members of the Serpentes suborder are venomous—which when combined with their generally camouflaged appearance and startlingly strike speed if disturbed—mean they’re one of the few animals that can land you in some pretty sticky situations, if you’re unlucky. So it’s no wonder that nearly one in three of all adult humans are ophidiophobic, reporting a phobia of snakes. Are you part of that third suffering from the snake-shakes? Well if so, here are 11 places you’ll want to avoid at all costs: