Does Australia really have the deadliest snakes in the world?

Only if you analyse their venom in isolation, instead of looking at the whole picture.

Eastern green mamba: not the deadliest but definitely the prettiest. Still deadlier than the taipan.
  • How high up can it bite? (Some snakes can raise up pretty high and hit you in the torso. Others are only going to be able to bite your leg, which buys you more time.)
  • What percentage of its bites are “dry”? (Most brown snakes, which you do see around a bit if you live on a farm, only actually inject venom about half the time they bite. Black mambas, on the other hand, use venom every time.)
  • Is there an antivenom? How effective is it? (People who receive black mamba antivenom still die 14% of the time.)
  • Does it live where people live?
Snake-cop interviewing a snake-criminal who’s agreed to make a deal - “I want NAMES and DETAILS”

Full-time writer based in Melbourne, Australia. I make cult-hit newsletter The Whippet: Science, history, weirdness, and non-cliched advice | thewhippet.org

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