30 Most Poisonous Animals Around the World

The world is full of beautiful, strange and even deadly things. Sometimes, the prettiest animals pack the deadliest punch. Poisonous animals exist all around the world, some are deadlier than others are and some have very fearsome reputations. This article will give you a little bit of insight into some of the world’s deadliest and poisonous animals.

01. Boomslang

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 24-28 hours

The boomslang is a tree snake, spending much of their lives in trees or bushes and they have excellent natural camouflage just for that purpose. Because these poisonous snakes are so expertly camouflaged, they can be hard to see, until it is too late and you are bitten.

The boomslang is known as being the South African snake with the most potent venom but thankfully, it is not an aggressive snake. One of the dangers of the boomslang is that the venom is very slow acting. The venom of the boomslang has anti­clotting properties and if bitten, a person will die due to internal and external bleeding, in the later stages of their death; they will bleed from every orifice. The danger is that symptoms do not develop for several hours after the bite, but once they develop, death occurs rapidly.

02. Cone Snail

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Varies – from minutes to days

Cone snails have beautiful shells, which is why divers tend to get stung most often. The cone snail has a venom-injecting tooth that can shoot out several feet. There are nearly 500 types of cone snails and some are more venomous than others are. They also can produce several types of toxins, some with more severe symptoms than others.

The danger with cone snail toxin is that with the more severe toxins they can cause paralysis of the muscles of the body, including the diagram. If injected with that particular type of poison, coma and death from not being able to breathe can occur. Because of the wide range of toxins that the snails produced, it is necessary to get help immediately to be on the safe side.

03. Poison Dart Frog

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: If poisoned by touch – death is unlikely however if poison is in the blood stream – within five minutes

Poison dart frogs are brilliantly colored with bright colors, making them very pretty. However, like much of nature, if it is colorful, it is very likely that it is deadly. These frogs excrete poison through their skin as a defense mechanism against predators.

There are only three kinds that can kill a human, two of these three would need to have the poison directly in the bloodstream to be deadly but the third, the Golden Dart Frog, just touching it will cause death in a human. All other species, a touch will certainly sicken you, but you will not die from a touch, the poison must enter your blood stream to be deadly.

04. Yellow Bellied Sea Snake

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: thirty minutes to one hour

These sea snakes are beautifully colored with vibrant yellow bellies and a black back. They are not aggressive snakes, thankfully because they are very deadly. One drop of venom can kill a man, or two. They usually only bite humans in defense but because they are sea creatures, if you are bitten, help is not nearby. Their toxin targets the respiratory system and the muscles, causing painful muscle contractions and it takes about half hour to an hour for the respiratory system to fail, causing death. Those who have lived have said that the pain was nearly unbearable and it is common for people to pass out from the shock of the pain they experience. The only way to save somebody who was bitten is to perform CPR until help arrives.

05. Blue-Ringed Octopus

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Five to ten minutes

These beautiful but deadly octopi are among the deadliest animals on the planet. These small dangerous species have many blue rings of color on their body and when agitated, they pulse brightly. Because of their small size, the blue-ringed octopus uses a neurotoxin to paralyze its prey.

One bite can kill a person in a manner of minutes and there is no antidote to their venom. The venom is produced by bacteria that live inside the salivary glands of the octopus and the venom is a potent neurotoxin. Within minutes after being bitten, the victim will be paralyzed fully, including their heart and lungs. There is not antidote but if CPR is performed, you can keep the victim alive long enough to survive until the toxin leaves their body.

06. Death Stalker Scorpion

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 3-4 hours

Unlike most venomous creatures the death stalker scorpion is not brightly colored, this desert animal is a muted green or yellow color, which makes it look more like a plastic toy than a lethal scorpion. These are aggressive scorpions and are usually found in sandy areas, hence their muted colors; it allows them to blend into the sand.

Their sting if incredibly painful and the area will begin to swell immediately. Left untreated, the poison can close off your airways, which usually takes a few hours but in the meantime, the victim will be in intense pain and often goes into shock. Even with the anti-venom, the poison has been known to cause headaches and joint pain for months after being stung. As with any poison, if somebody is allergic to the poison, death can occur in minutes.

07. Assassin Caterpillar – Lanomia

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 24 hours

Many people are surprised that a caterpillar is on this list however, there have been hundreds of deaths in Brazil because of this caterpillar. Most people who get stung have been stung because they did not see the caterpillar and ended up putting their hand on it or stepping on one. In order to be deadly, one must be stung between 20-100 times, but if you put your hand down upon it, which is how many times you would be stung. Its body is covered in poisonous spikes, each filled with toxin.

When injected, the toxins will adversely affect the blood cells, making them swollen as if bruised; obviously, with damaged blood cells, your body will begin to hurt and shut down. Additionally, the toxins will prevent clotting and cause bleeding so with 24 hours, victim will hemorrhage and die.

08. Funnel Web Spider

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 15 minutes to 3 days

The funnel web spider is one of the most poisonous spiders in the world. They are either brown or black and their bodies tend to be glossy and shiny. These are aggressive spiders with large fangs, their fangs are large enough to go through clothing, and not every bite will contain venom but just in case, seek immediate help.

Their bite is very painful, the toxin in their venom will cause muscle spasms, vomiting, excessive sweating, and the victim will begin to have trouble breathing. Children are the most prone to dying from a bite, in as little as 15 minutes, it can take up to 3 days for an adult to die but without anti-venom, the bite will very likely be fatal unless it is a dry bite without venom.

09. Red Back Spider

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: varies – from several hours to a week

It is the female of the species that is the most dangerous and they have a distinctive red marking on their black bodies. The males lack red markings and their bite, while painful, is not deadly. Thanks to anti-venom, there have been no recent deaths, but there are about 250 bites annually that require anti-venom.

It can take upwards of 3 hours for symptoms to show and in some people, up to 3 weeks before they begin to get sick enough where death can occur. Death typically is the result of hypertension. Once bitten, the area becomes painful and the pain spreads, excessive sweating will happen and then hypertension and vomiting. Death is not a given if untreated, but it can occur and the faster you get help once bitten, the easier it will be to fight off the toxins with the anti-venom.

10. Belcher Sea Snake

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 30 minutes

Also known as the faint-banded sea snake, these sea dwelling snakes are among the most poisonous. They have light bodies with darker bands of color around them. These are not aggressive and they will often only bite if feeling threatened and even then, 75% of the time they bite it will be a dry bite without venom. They have short fangs that cannot penetrate wetsuits.

However, if one does bite you and injects poison, you will begin to lose feeling in your limbs and then your organs will become paralyzed and you will die from suffocation or heart failure, depending on if your lungs or your heart stop working first. CPR is necessary to keep a bite victim alive.

11. The Box Jellyfish

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: As quick as three minutes depending on severity of the sting

These jellyfish look delicate but they are one of the most dangerous ocean creatures and deadliest animals in the world. The underside of their bodies have four corners instead of being round and the larger they are, the more punch their poison has. The box jellyfish are hunters, and will hunt their prey and then stun it using their poison filled tentacles.

The pain is so bad that people have gone into shock or worse, instant cardiac arrest from the pain. Fully body contact can kill an adult in 3 minutes and a very mild sting will cause intense pain but will not result in death. Because the toxin causes cardiac arrest, CPR needs to administered quickly.

12. Stone Fish

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Several hours – depending on severity of the sting

Stonefish are certainly not beautiful fish: they are masters of disguise and are perfectly colored to fit into the rocky bottom of the shallow sea floor. That is why so many get stung; they do not see the fish until it is too late and have either handled it or stepped on the fish.

The stonefish does not bite, but it has spines filled with venom on its body that protect the fish from predators. The pain from the venom is intense and the venom causes paralysis and death of the tissues surrounding the sting. Left untreated, it can be fatal. Thankfully, anti-venom exists and deaths are rare however, it will cause pain, even after treatment.

13. Inland Taipan

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 30 minutes to 1 hour

The inland taipan is a very reclusive snake that lives in Australia, mostly in the arid central region but it does range as far as the East coast. These are large snakes, averaging almost 6 ft. in length and they can reach a length as much as 8 ft. Thankfully, for people, these are shy snakes and will typically flee rather than attack.

The inland taipan is considered to be the most venomous animal in Australia and in the world, but thankfully, thanks to anti-venom and their shy nature, reported deaths due to being bitten are rare. Their venom is a very potent neurotoxin and unless treated with anti­venom, death will occur within the hour. Instead of attacking once and waiting for the toxin to take effect, these snakes will attack multiple times, increasing the risk of death.

14. King Cobra

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 30 minutes

The king cobra is a very large snake, averaging about 10-11 ft. in length. They primary prey is other snakes so the king cobra is very fast and its venom is incredibly toxic. The king cobra does not have the most powerful venom but because they inject so much in a single bite, it can quickly cause death.

The toxins attack the central nervous system, causing pain, paralysis and then cardiac distress, a coma usually ensues and then respiratory failure follows. Anti-venom is a must if you are bitten. King cobras are usually only aggressive when provoked and will posture and hiss in warning before striking. These Asian animals can strike a long distance though, so if you think you are far enough away, continue to back up.

15. Black Mamba

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 30 minutes for severe bites and 2-3 hours for moderate to mild

The black mamba is highly feared for its toxicity. This amazing snake itself is not black, it is usually a greenish-grey but the inside of its mouth is black, hence the name. The black mamba is an aggressive snake but will typically try to flee from humans, however, when cornered; it can be vicious and deadly. These are also the fastest snake, which makes them dangerous when cornered; they are highly aggressive and will even stand their ground against large predators such as lions in defense of their territory or eggs.

Out of all of the snake venom in the world, theirs is the fastest acting. The neurotoxins in their venom cause cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological symptoms to begin nearly immediately. Death follows quickly unless anti­venom is obtained.

16. Brazilian Wandering Spider

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 45 minutes to 1 hour

The Brazilian wandering spider, also known as a banana spider, is the most venomous spider in the world. They are especially dangerous animals because they are large, with a leg span of about 5.5 inches on average and they are very aggressive. These spiders wander around at night, hunting, and hide during the day in banana plants or under rocks and logs.

These are the most venomous spiders in the world; their neurotoxin causes muscle paralysis and will cause death by asphyxiation in the case of a severe bite. Even small bites are dangerous because the venom causes tissue death around the bite. For men, there is another side effect, which is priapism that can last for hours, leading to permanent impotence; this aspect of their venom is being studied as a cure for impotence.

17. North African Desert Scorpion

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Several Days

These scorpions are common and very deadly. These hardy scorpions can weather out a sandstorm without seeking cover thanks to their strong armored exoskeleton. The North African desert scorpion can be as large as 10 centimeters long and it has a very thick tail, which it uses to deliver a powerful sting to inject its venom.

Children and the elderly are most susceptible and the severity of the symptoms depends on the size and the health of the victim as well as the sting location. A sting where the venom is introduced into the bloodstream can cause death without anti­venom, as the toxin will end up eventually causing a paralysis of the lungs after a few days, causing death if untreated. Other symptoms are sweating, cramps, pain, numbness, vomiting, and incontinence.

18. Komodo Dragon

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: hours to days

These large lizards are very formidable, growing up to 10 feet in length. They have only one natural enemy, humankind. They are at the top of their food chain where they hunt birds, mammals and invertebrates. They are very aggressive and will often play with their prey, biting at their prey’s feet and legs and then letting it get away.

There are two ways that the komodo dragon kills you, neither is very pleasant. Their mouths are full of bacteria and a bite, if left untreated will quickly go septic, causing death in a few days. The komodo dragon will stalk prey that they have bitten, waiting for death, and their next meal. Their saliva inhibits clotting and it causes a decrease in blood pressure in their prey; once bitten, prey will bleed out rapidly or die from shock.

19. Giant Centipede

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Varies – often a few hours if the bite is fatal

The giant centipede grows up to 12 inches in length and they are very aggressive, which is not a good behavior for something so toxic. Giant centipedes are very nervous, which adds to their already high aggression. They will eat tarantulas, insects, and smaller vertebrate animals, even bats. They coil up around their prey and cut into it with their mandibles while injecting their poison.

Although they often do not often cause death in humans, they can be fatal if the bite is in a vital area, such as the throat, or over an artery. Even though it might not cause death in all cases, the bite is very painful, causing swelling, vomiting, and a fever. However, if you are allergic, death to the venom occurs in minutes.

20. Gaboon Viper

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: half hour to several hours

The gaboon viper has wickedly long fangs that can be up to 2 inches long, the longest fangs of any of the snake species. They are not the most venomous but they have a large venom yield per bite, the largest of all venomous snakes, which is why they are so deadly. These are not very aggressive snakes and tend to move sluggishly however when they strike, they strike very quickly.

A bite will quickly cause pain and swelling as well as shock; loss of control of the bowels and bladder is common as is losing control of the muscles; convulsions will continue until the victim loses consciousness. The venom causes the tissue around the bite to die, the longer it goes untreated, the more danger the limb is; amputation is common, even with anti-venom.

21. Rattlesnake

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Hours to days

Some of the rattlesnake species in the United States are the eastern diamondback, the diamondback, the sidewinder and the Mojave rattlesnake. Most rattlesnakes are not aggressive. They receive their name from the rattle at the end of their bodies, which they shake as a warning to anything that gets too close.

However, rattlesnakes, although their fangs are not the longest, they inject large amounts of venom with each bite and that is why their bite is so dangerous. Some species of snake has venom that can cause paralysis, and death is caused by suffocation or due to cardiac arrest from that. All rattlesnakes have venom that destroys tissue around the bite and then that necrosis will spread, additionally, their venom prevents clotting, hastening death.

22. Blowfish

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 24 hours

Blowfish, also known as puffer fish are deadly when eaten, if not prepared properly. This is a diverse type of fish, with several species, all with varying degrees of toxicity. The puffer fish gets its name from its defense mechanism of inflating itself when threatened; causing the spines that normally lay against its body to point outward. Although the skin of the blowfish is toxic, higher concentrations are found in the organs.

When improperly prepared, the flesh of this fish can be deadly. It causes a loss of sensation in the mouth, a numbness that will spread to the entire body, with a prickling pins and needles sensation. The blood pressure will decrease but the heart rate increases and the victim will feel dizzy and begin to vomit. The diaphragm will become paralyzed, leading to death. Even thought, it is also one of the cutest animals of the world.

23. Black Widow

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Several hours to several days

There are many species of black widow spiders and they are found nearly worldwide. Their Australian counterpart, the red back spider has already been featured on this list but different species of the black widow are found around the world. The female is the larger of the species and is black except for red markings on the body. In the United States, the red marking is an hourglass on the bottom of the abdomen. In parts of Europe, the spider has red spots on their body; the marking varies by species.

Children and the elderly are most likely to die from a bite. A single bite will make somebody very sick but will not often kill, but symptoms can last for at least a week or more. People who die from being bitten often die from paralysis of the lungs.

24. Lionfish

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Several hours to a day

These are very distinguished looking fish, which is why they are often sought after for aquariums. The fish, with their long fins, also have long fin spines that are venomous. Being pricked by one fin will rarely cause death, unless the person is allergic to the toxin, but it will cause a great deal of pain.

The spines will inject potent venom that makes the afflicted area begin to swell; it causes paralysis, convulsions and vomiting as well as paralysis. Deaths often occur if somebody is diving and brushes against a fish and they are unable to get to the surface before symptoms occur. Untreated wounds from the spine will develop gangrene, another danger to the victim. Recovery is long, slow and painful.

25. North American Coral Snake

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 2-3 hours

Coral snakes are brightly colored and very poisonous. Several non-poisonous snakes mimic the coloring of a coral snake because the bright red/yellow/white and black coloring are very distinctive and warn predators to not eat unless they want to die.

Coral snakes are small, averaging about 3 feet in length but they can get up to 5 feet. They are shy snakes and when confronted they will slither to safety rather than attack if they have the option to escape. Their fangs are small and the venom is not fast acting. When they bite, they hold onto their prey tightly in order to inject more venom. Coral snake bites are rare in the United States because they are non-aggressive snakes. Death comes within hours because the neurotoxin will paralyze the diaphragm.

26. Harvester Ants

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Uncertain

Harvester ants, also called Maricopa ants, deliver bites that are not only painful, but they can be fatal as well. These ants are between half and inch to an inch long and the Maricopa ant is one of the most venomous insects in the world. Their anthills are easy to see, towering as much as three feet above ground, but they also extend to as much as six feet below the surface. Each anthill can have as many as 10,000 ants.

When an ant stings, injecting its toxin, it also releases a pheromone that tells the rest of the colony to come to attack as well. Several bites will prove to be fatal quickly. When bitten, the toxin tends to spread quickly to the lymph nodes, which can have deadly reaction. One bite is bad, many bites are worse, so your best bet is to avoid the anthills.

27. Carpet Viper

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: Days to a week

There are eight species of carpet vipers and all are highly venomous. The carpet viper prefers to live in dry conditions. Out of all of the deaths annually due to snakebite, the carpet viper is responsible for the most deaths due to bite. They are known to strike and bite without giving a warning, and due to their coloring, they are hard to see until it is too late.

Carpet vipers are aggressive snakes and make a hissing type noise when threatened; the snake makes the noise by rubbing its scales together while coiling its body. The venom is a hemotoxin that causes uncontrolled bleeding in the body, including the internal organs. Death is quicker if the toxin causes bleeding within the brain, otherwise, it can take days to a week for somebody to bleed to death.

28. Irukandji

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: hours to days

The irukandji is a jellyfish. Because it has a body that is less than .5 of an inch, these fingernail-­sized jellyfish are the smallest venomous creature on the list. Despite their tiny body, they have long thing tentacles that can grow up to as much as 3 feet long. The irukandji has stingers on their tentacles, like most jellyfish, but they also have stingers on their body as well.

These are so dangerous because they are so small; they are easy to miss when swimming. A sting will warrant a trip to the hospital and if left untreated, it can lead to death. Their sting causes intense pain, cramps in all of the muscles, sweating, increased heart rate, and vomiting. Often an increase in blood pressure happens as well.

29. Tiger Snake

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 2-6 hours

Tiger snakes are found along the coast, in wetlands and by creeks. There are several kinds of tiger snakes but they all live in Tasmania and Australia. The coloring of the snake varies by species but they all typically have bands of color along their body. Tiger snakes can grow up to 10 feet in length.

Their venom is very potent. If untreated, there is between a 40-60% mortality rate. There is anti­venom for bites, and there are many bites annually from these snakes. A bite will cause immediate pain, numbness, sweating and then paralysis, which can lead to death by affecting the victim’s ability to breathe.

30. Eastern Brown Snake

Most Poisonous Animals

Time until death if left untreated: 1-2 hours

Also known as the common brown snake, the eastern brown snake is the second most poisonous snake in the world. Eastern brown snakes grow to be around 4-6 feet long on average and they are brown in color. These are common in Australia, which is why there are so many bites, they are often found in populated areas.

Eastern brown snakes are very aggressive and very fast. When provoked, they have been known to chase people. A bite will cause dizziness, convulsions, renal failure and cardiac arrest.

Although there are other poisonous animals in the world, these are the most venomous and the deadliest. All of the animals on this list are better seen from a distance, or better yet, just viewed online, in the safety of your own home.

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