Do You Know These Facts About Deadly Snakes?

Zoe Samuel

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Deadly snakes strike horror into many hearts, but they are also an object of fascination even to those who don't like them. From snake-handling cults who believe that you can score points with God by taking up serpents, to the terrifying adder with its outsize fangs, to the Bible's original and wiliest snake - the one whose true poison is his silver tongue - snakes stay in our stories, our minds, and our nightmares.

Large parts of the world are free of deadly snakes, and any fear of them is probably an evolutionary hangover. However, other parts contain snakes that are not only deadly, they're also great at disguising themselves, likely to disrespect boundaries such as where your home starts and stops, and ornery as heck. Some can make you feel very ill and others can kill you in seconds. Some are deadly only to smaller creatures, and some can kill a full-size human, or even something bigger. Either way, snakes are not to be trifled with. This quiz is full of facts about these scary and wonderful reptiles, so click on through and ssssssee whether you can ace this one - and if you don't know, hazard a guesssss!

Where did black mambas get their name?

The black mamba is common in South Africa. It is considered the world's deadliest snake, even though it isn't.

One major family of venomous snakes is neurotoxic; another is cytotoxic. What is the third?

Neurotoxic snakes include coral snakes, sea snakes, and king cobras. Hemotoxic ones include vipers.

Why do snakes have venom?

Snakes don't just use their venom to kill prey: they also use it to protect themselves. Occasionally, constricting snakes (ones who strangle) also have enom, but this is rare.

What percentage of snake species are venomous?

While about 33 percent of snakes are venomous, only 10 percent are deadly.

How many snake species are deadly?

About 250 species can kill you with a single bite. Others might manage it if you give them a long-term opportunity, though, so... don't!

Which country has the highest yearly number of fatal snake incidents?

India has the highest number of deadly snakebite incidents, and the highest number of deadly snake species

How many snake bite fatalities does India have yearly?

India has a lot of deadly snake incidents partly because there are simply a lot of snakes, but also because of issues with medical infrastructure and distances.

What is the biggest venomous snake?

The king cobra is up to 18 feet and weighs a mere 20 pounds, making it very scrawny indeed.

Of the Indian "Big Four" venomous snakes, which is the smallest?

This is one of the most aggressive snakes and also very small indeed!

What is snake venom actually made of?

Enzymes in snake venom include 5'-nucleotidase, phosphodiesterase, Cholinesterase, and L-amino acid oxidase.

What are the two ways that venomous snakes hunt?

Venomous snakes either wait for their prey then jump out, or they track it and then chase it down.

What snake kills the highest number of people in Asia?

Russell's Viper is an ambush hunter that uses camouflage to avoid being spotted until its prey is close enough to strike.

What does the Common Krait eat?

Kraits can be open-minded about what they eat, but they love rodents the best. They like to live in rat holes, old houses, and watery places where rats gather.

Where did the Five-Step Snake get its name?

The American soldiers gave this name to the Blue Krait, which bit some of them in Vietnam.

Snakes need three things to deliver venom. Glands and fangs are two of them. What is the third?

The venom travels down a canal from gland to fang where it is released into the prey..

What way is it safe to consume snake venom?

This is not something to try at home, but it might actually be safe to drink snake venom provided you have zero lacerations in your mouth and gut. Since you cannot guarantee this, don't try it.

How many people die of a snakebite every year in the U.S.?

While 45,000 Americans are bitten, most of them don't die, thanks to good baseline health and access to medical care and anti-venin.

Which snake is responsible for the highest number of bites in the USA?

The copperhead is not to be confused with the coppermouth. It bites 15,000 Americans a year.

Where does the puff adder make most of its kills?

While the death rate is low for puff adder bites, it is still the case that improved treatment and infrastructure would radically lower deaths still further.

What snake causes most snakebite deaths in South America?

Lancehead snakes are very adaptable and don't mind being around humans, which is why they end up with more opportunities to bite us!

What is a common result of rattlesnake bites?

Rattlesnake bites are very toxic, but it is somewhat localized. That means if you get yourself to a doctor, you might be saved by removing the limb (and don't worry, usually you don't even have to go that far).

What is the means by which snakes swallow something bigger than its own diameter?

Snakes' jaws sort of float within their heads, meaning they can unhinge them big enough to allow bigger creatures into them. Sometimes though, they bite off more than they can swallow, and die in the effort.

Which snake has the biggest fang relative to its head size?

The burrowing asp has such big fangs that they stick out like those of a saber-tooth tiger. That way they can stab their prey without even moving their jaws.

How can you recognize the biggest viper in Africa?

The Moorish viper mostly sleeps in the daytime and then comes out at twilight to hunt. It likes rocky terrain.

How does the cottonmouth snake hunt?

The cottonmouth is averse to confrontation and prefers ambush. It grows up to four feet long.

What size is a gaboon viper?

The gaboon lives in the rainforest or savanna, and it is very sturdy. It grows as long as 5 feet.

What is the name of the famous Rudyard Kipling story about a brave creature who fights off a krait?

Rikki-Tikki Tavi is a very brave mongoose who protects the family home from the dreaded snake even after everyone loses faith in his ability to do so. Kipling lived in colonial India and wrote a great deal of his stories about creatures he saw there.

What is the only U.S. state where coral snakes are found?

The coral snake is found where there are coral reefs, as its name suggests. Within the U.S., it is only found in Florida.

Where in South America are most lancehead snakes found?

Lanceheads are really ornery, so avoid them if you see them. They will bite you just for the heck of it.

How is the cottonmouth different from other snakes?

The cottonmouth is related to the copperhead, but it is bigger. It lives in wet environments and grows as big as four feet.

How big do bushmasters typically get?

Bushmasters are a viper that mostly lives in Central and South America. There is a myth that they are attracted to fires, but this is untrue: they don't want to bother you if you don't bother them.

How do you measure the toxicity of snake venom?

Snake venom is defined by how much LD50 is in it, as tested on mice. It's quite a controversial way to ascertain levels. Fortunately, things can be tested in a lab now.

Where do boomslang snakes like to make their nest?

Boomslang snakes are tree snakes, meaning they make their home in a tree to sleep. They very rarely bite humans, unless you get in their way.

What is the name of the Horned Viper's more deadly relative?

The Horned Viper lives in African deserts and travels with only its horns and eyes above the sand. The Carpet Viper is far more aggressive and has killed many people.

What snake has the lowest LD50 value (ie the deadliest venom, per drop)?

The inland taipan hails from Australia, living mostly in the state of Queensland. When it bites a mouse, it delivers enough venom to kill it 33 times over.

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