The Chilling Reason These Common Snakes Have People On High Alert

The Animal Kingdom is full of creepy crawlies and freakish critters that you can’t unsee. Seriously, some of those beings are the stuff of nightmares with fangs longer than a forearm. But it doesn’t take some exotic demon to scare us — regular ol’ snakes can get the job done.

There are over 3,000 species of snakes on Earth. While not all of them are perilous, per se, certain slithering serpents are extremely dangerous. So be careful where you step: there could be something deadly lurking right in your backyard.

1. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake: Part of what makes this American resident so deadly is its refusal to back down when partaking in a stand-off. While many snakes on our list are venomous but calm, this desert-dwelling critter is super aggressive!

The diamondback, which calls the southwestern US and Mexico home, coils and rattles its tail (you’ve heard the sound) to warn enemies to stay back. When said enemies don’t take the warning seriously, the sassy snake will strike, and its venom packs quite the punch.

NPR

2. Blue Malayan Coral Snake: Don’t let the blue Malayan coral snake’s cute, little face and stunning neon appearance fool you; this tropical serpent, and proud member of the Elapidae family, is hazardous. It’s often confused for the gentle, docile pink-headed reed snake due to their similar colors.

hardy backyardgeo / Flickr

You can see how that could be a problem considering the poisonous coral snake has venom glands that extend a fourth the length of its body. And guess what? This cute-yet-scary snake, which is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, is a cannibal. Nope!

Snakes on a Plane

3. Green Anaconda: Believe it or not, these big, beefy boas are not at all venomous! So why are they so dangerous? Well, the green anaconda’s body is basically a gigantic muscle. You probably won’t want to cuddle with one.

National Geographic

Though these nocturnal South American natives pose little threat to us humans, once these monsters coil around their feeble prey, it’s all downhill for the unsuspecting critter. Their meager prey include fish, birds, wild pigs, capybaras, and caimans. Clearly they enjoy a balanced diet.

Anaconda

4. Banded Sea Krait: Albeit these snakes, named after their black stripes, reside on coral reefs in the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans, they visit the shore to nest. But when they’re lurking within the crevices of the reefs, eels better watch out.

Lance Sagar / Flickr

Once the Beetlejuice-esque snake nabs an eel, it paralyzes the poor thing with its venom, which is 10 times more powerful than a rattlesnake’s, and swallows it whole. It turns out that if you’re not a scrumptious eel, the banded sea krait is actually docile!

Ethan Daniels / Pixels

5. Eastern Brown Snake: Ah, Australia; home to a plethora of terrifying animals, including the eastern brown snake. This particular warm-weather-loving land snake can find a home just about anywhere, so Aussies best keep their eyes peeled.

Australian Museum

Known as the world’s second most venomous land snake, the eastern brown snake is the culprit behind 60% of Australia’s snake-bite fatalities. It takes a hibernation break from causing havoc when wintertime hits, but will peak its mischievous head out when the sun shines!

Australian Museum

6. Black-Necked Spitting Cobra: This guy is just about as scary as he looks. We definitely wouldn’t want to get within even 1,000 feet of a snake that ejects poison from its fangs (hence the “spitting” portion of its name) when it feels threatened.

iNaturalist

The black-necked spitting cobra, which is primarily native to sub-Saharan Africa, spews neurotoxic venom, which can cause blistering and inflammation upon contact with skin. And if said poisonous spit gets in your eyes? Well, let’s just say you don’t want that.

7. Inland Taipan: The inland taipan is infamously the world’s most venomous snake. With that being said, it’s known to be quite shy and not nearly as aggressive as the coastal taipan. The silent but deadly snake slithers through the cracks of Australia’s Moon Plain.

ABC News

Within those desert cracks, it also hunts. It strikes instantly and accurately, sinking its sharp teeth into warm-blooded animals, like the long-haired rat. One bite from an inland taipan is enough to kill at least 100 human adults. Remind us not to go to Australia.

Mick Jury / Flickr

8. Red-Bellied Black Snake: There are just so many signs telling us not to take a trip Down Under. The venomous red-bellied black snake, which got its name for obvious reasons, inhabits swamplands and woodlands, but it has a habit of moseying over to urban areas.

The Sun

They’re not known to be aggressive, nor is their venom considered lethal, but a bite from one of these glossy, black snakes can cause illness, severe pain, and even loss of smell, if not treated immediately. They’re Australia’s most commonly encountered snake, so Aussies stay safe!

The West Australian

9. Eyelash Viper: The spiky scales that sit atop this Central and South American native pit viper species eerily look like beautiful, mascara-coated eyelashes. Though swanky and charming in appearance, don’t be fooled; it has ghastly fangs that retract when not utilized.

The eyelash viper is considered an ambush predator, or a sit-and-wait predator, as it patiently waits for the perfect opportunity to strike at small mammals, birds, and lizards. South American legend has it that it winks before striking, despite having no eyelids!

Reptile Fact

10. Chinese Cobra: Though many snakes are only dangerous when irked, the Chinese cobra, found in China and Taiwan, is a sassy one, ready to spread its hood and prepare its venom for any threat. And it’s the baby ones that are the feistiest.

cowyeow / Flickr

Since Chinese cobras easily adapt to their environment, you can find these temperamental guys in areas that are lively with people, as well as desolate, woodsy areas. Though they’re dangerous, they get rattled around humans, so they’re not looking to get in the ring with you.

Wing Him Lee / Flickr

While these horrid snakes would make most people dart the opposite way, others have a more calm, cool, and collected approach to dealing with wildlife, even when it comes to the deadly Burmese python. When lethal snakes are afoot, someone’s got to handle them.

You don’t want to mess with the Burmese python. The biggest of these beasts can reach a length of 23 feet and weigh over 160 pounds. They will eat anything from mice to adult deer. And as of a couple of decades ago, nobody in Florida even knew about them.

RT

As their name suggests, the reptiles are native to Asia’s tropics, but they were now running wild all over the Everglades. Scientists theorize that following the destruction of Hurricane Andrew, pythons escaped from a zoo and bred like wildfire.

Frank Mazzotti didn’t know quite where the snakes came from, but he was determined to stop them from spreading into densely populated areas, like Miami. The biologist swore to throw everything and the kitchen sink at them. But would that be enough?

NPR

Everglades locals tried all kinds of tricks to root out the serpents. They put snake-sniffing dogs out in the marshes and even set loose radio-equipped “Judas snakes” to hopefully reveal their home base. The pythons only continued to grow.

FL Keys News

Word got around that the reptiles took over an abandoned Nike missile site. While that in and of itself didn’t threaten anyone, Floridians feared that if left unchecked, the pythons would breed at an incredible rate.

The Bohemian Blog

Who knew — it could’ve only been a matter of time until the snakes expanded beyond the missile base and started showing up in places that were more…personal. The stakes were dire, but Frank learned of one group that could help.

Rex Features

Deep in the forests of southern India, the Irula people have mastered snake catching. They see it as an art and take the practice incredibly seriously, even after India has slapped strict regulations on snake trading.

Deccan Chronicle

In recent years, the Irulas have captured poisonous reptiles for the purpose of producing antivenoms. Clearly, there was nobody on Earth more qualified. But how could Floridians convince this tribe to help a community on the other side of the world?

Frank and his herpetologist pals managed to make contact with the Irulas, and to their surprise, the snake-catchers showed interest in helping them. Granted, the Floridians would have to shell out thousands of dollars and agree to some unusual methods.

Miami Herald

Hard as it was to believe, the Irulas didn’t use any state-of-the-art tools for finding and capturing snakes. Instead, their weapon of choice was something found in any garage: a tire iron.

Video Blocks

Contrary to what you might think, they didn’t intend these tire irons for a Simpsons-style Whacking Day. The Irula used them to clear a path through the brush and pick up snakes, but ultimately they tried to capture the reptiles alive when possible.

Simpsons World

So, Frank welcomed the best Irula hunters, Masi Sadaiyan and Vadivel Gopal, to the Everglades. While both men were in their 50s, they were at the top of their game. But the Floridians got nervous when the Irulas said they’d never before hunted snakes so large.

However, Masi and Vadivel smiled when they shared this fact. They were eager for the challenge, the chance to put their skills to the ultimate test. Granted, their brand of animal control was not without its risks.

From the start, the Irula’s tactics puzzled Frank and his friends. They insisted on marching blindly through the thickest part of the swamp. When a snake’s trail ended, Masi and Vadivel made everyone sit down, pray, and smoke a cigarette.

Frank’s hopes began to wane until one of the Irula’s pointed to a shimmer in the mud. Brandishing their trusty tire irons, Masi and Vadivel scooped up a fully-grown python! That was only the beginning.

Mother Nature Network

With a few more captures under their belts, the Irulas fearlessly plunged into an old missile shaft where herpetologists spotted a nest. The sharp-eyed hunters grasped a muscled python tail and spent hours wrestling it out of tree roots.

Miami Herald

In that one afternoon, the hunters pulled out four monstrous pythons from the overgrown missile shaft. They soon brought their total up to 14 over their first two weeks. While the Irulas couldn’t stay in the Everglades forever, they did the next best thing.

Masi and Vadivel shared their wisdom with the local wildlife management team, which never could’ve located these pythons with conventional techniques. The Irula knowledge could stem the invasion, so the Floridians wanted to give them something in return.

Besides paying the Irulas over $4,000 per python, the Floridians wanted to give them the real American experience. In between expeditions, they watched NFL games and ate hot dogs at Arbetter’s, their favorite greasy spoon.

Roadfood Forums

After a month, the Irulas returned to India feeling invigorated by the hunt of their lives. The Floridians knew they were quite fortunate to find experts to turn back the snake invasion, but of course, it wasn’t always possible to have heroes on hand.

Sometimes, everyday people have to use their wits to survive a deadly animal encounter. In the spring of 2017, a mother of four named Bianca Dickinson drove her youngest child, Molly, to the end of the long driveway cutting through her ranch in Victoria, Australia. There, she’d meet a snake.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

But first, to pass the time while waiting for the school bus to drop off her older kids, Bianca had two-year-old Molly pose for a few photographs. For 15 minutes, the duo played and snapped silly pictures — until the fun came to an abrupt halt.

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

With the school bus in view down the road, Molly posed for one last photo beside a wire fence. She wore a huge grin and pointed behind herself, towards the grass blowing in the wind. It was the perfect photo… or was it?

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

“I was looking through my camera lens and was looking at my daughter,” Bianca told ABC Australia. “I saw something move in the corner of my eye and actually thought it was bark coming off the tree.” But it wasn’t bark.

Doug Hyland / Purdue

What Bianca first assumed to be tree bark was actually an eastern brown snake, aka the second-most venomous snake in the entire world. And it was slithering right behind her little girl!

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

Venom from the eastern brown snake can paralyze victims and make their blood so thin that it seeps through their pores. Without immediate treatment, a single bite from this critter can send you to an early grave — and it has enough venom to kill 20 adults.

Sky News

So it was no surprise Bianca’s insides twisted into a cold heap when she saw one of these snakes just inches away from her baby girl. “I think [the snake] was touching her boots,” Bianca said. “It was that close.” But what could she do?

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

“All my instincts wanted to run and pick her up and scream and run away,” Bianca said. However, that move, she knew, could’ve had deadly repercussions. If she did that, there was a chance the snake would feel threatened — and strike.

The Sydney Morning Herald / YouTube

Complicating the situation, Bianca had to convey to her daughter that there was a big, deadly snake behind her and not to make any sudden movements or take any violent steps backward…

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

So what did the mother do? She just froze. In doing so, she communicated non-verbally to Molly that she should do the same. “Luckily,” Bianca said, “she copied me.” And the snake?

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

Much to Bianca’s relief, the eastern brown snake slithered away, leaving Molly unharmed. As it disappeared into the tall grass, the school bus dropped off her three older children. But Bianca’s panic hadn’t subsided yet…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

“I just started yelling at my other three kids to get in the car,” she said. “I got in the car and I was shaking.” And who could blame her? Her kids immediately noticed she wasn’t quite right.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

While on the drive back up the driveway, her 13-year-old daughter, Imogen (far left), asked, “What happened? Did you see a snake, mum?” Bianca nodded. “Yes,” she told the kids, and “it was at least two meters.” Her kids didn’t buy it.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

“Oh mum, it wasn’t that big!” Imogen said. But naturally, mother knew best. Back at home, she pulled out her camera and showed her kids the venomous reptile that’d come within inches of their little sister. And it shook them all.

Bianca Dickinson / Facebook

After seeing just how close Molly had come to the wrong end of a snake, Bianca’s older three kids didn’t want to go outside anymore. Worse, in showing the kids the photos, Bianca uncovered another nasty shock…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

She’d been taking pictures of Molly for a while before the school bus showed up, and when she reviewed those photos, she learned just how long the snake had been in striking distance. The eastern brown snake posed beside Molly in three photos!

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

In the aftermath, Bianca couldn’t look at those now-infamous photos and didn’t sleep well for weeks. “Every time I shut my eyes I see that big snake and what could have happened,” she said. “I see Molly being taken away in an ambulance.”

But how did the two-year-old react to her brush with death? Well, when Bianca showed her daughter the photo, the toddler considered it for a moment. And then she said the funniest thing…

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

“That’s me!” Molly said gleefully, pointing at herself, blissfully unaware of the snake in the photo. Bianca couldn’t help but laugh. At least one of her kids wouldn’t end up scarred by the moment!

Bianca Dickinson / Daily Mail

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