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Updated by GOAT Series Staff on Apr 17, 2018
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Greatest Venomous Species of All Time

What is the greatest venomous species of all time?

1

Sea Wasp Jellyfish

Sea Wasp Jellyfish

The most lethal jellyfish in the world. The Chironex fleckeri, or Sea Wasp, has killed at least 63 people in Australia since 1884. The most wicked cubuzoan to have yet been discovered by man, the sting from these gossamer devils is so painful that it can trigger instaneous cardiac arrest. A swimmer will drown before they even have a chance to cry for help. With 10 foot long tentacles covered in tiny dart-like cnidocytes, the Sea Wasp will release a searing venom into its’ victims with each sting. The blinding pain from a sting is described as being branded by a hot iron. If you do survive the initial encounter, a victim must seek immediate medical attention, as the tentacles will adhere to the skin and continue releasing venom. Access to new anti-venoms has made fatalities rare, but the Sea Wasp still strikes fear into the hearts of beach-goers throughout the Pacific.

Species: Chironex Fleckeri | Nickname: Sea Wasp| Distribution: Coastal waters, Australia to Vietnam | Size: Tentacles extend up to 10 feet

Venom Type: Protein Toxins | Potency: One animal has enough venom to kill 60 human adults | Human deaths: 63 recorded deaths from 1884 to 1996 | Envenomation symptoms: Sting causes excruciating pain and intense burning. Cause of death is most often Hyperkalemia (raised Potassium in the blood, leading to heart failure).

2

Fattail Scorpion

Fattail Scorpion

The most dangerous scorpion on earth. The Fattail scorpion is one of the baddest looking critters in the universe. Their name originates from the Greek words “Man Killer”, an apt name for these assassins of the desert. With a range that spans from Morocco to India, the Fattail is feared by desert populations throughout Africa and the Middle East. They cause an unknown number of deaths each year, as a single sting releases an incredibly potent and fast working neurotoxin. The venom causes almost immediate paralysis and victims soon perish from respiratory failure. Death usually results in humans after 5-15 hours, so it is imperative that bite victims seek the antivenom as quickly as possible. Between their stuff of nightmares appearance, and their lethal venom, the Fattail scorpion is certainly one of the greatest venomous species on earth.

Genus : Androctonus | Nickname: Man Killer | Distribution: Desert regions from Morocco to India | Size: Up to 4 inch length

Venom Type: Neurotoxins | Potency: Death in as little as 1 hour | Human deaths: Dozens per year | Envenomation symptoms: searing pain, sweating, salivation, drowsiness, paralysis of neck, respiratory failure, death

3

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The most venomous spider on Earth. The Phoneutria, colloquially known as the Brazilian Wandering Spider, or the Banana Spider, is one of the creepiest animals to ever crawl the dark underbelly of the Amazonian jungle. With a venom that is nearly twice as toxic as that of the Black Widow, the Brazilian Wandering Spider strikes fear into the jungle-dwellers of the South American nations that it calls home. The spider’s deadly neurotoxin venom causes the loss of muscle control, paralysis and eventual asphyxiation. Another strange symptom caused by Phoneutria bites in humans is Priapism, a painful, uncontrollable erection of the penis that can last for several hours and can eventually lead to impotence. The spider gets its’ name from its nomadic nature, creating even more potential run-ins with unsuspecting humans. But while these spiders are incredibly toxic, the good news is that they rarely release enough venom in a bite to cause harm. Dangerous or not, they are a truly rare example of extreme venom in the animal kingdom and a strong contender for the throne of GOAT.

Species: Phoneutria nigriventer | Nicknames: Armadeiras, Banana Spider | Distribution: Jungle regions from Costa Rica to Northern Argentina | Size: 5.9 inch leg span

Venom Type: Neurotoxin | Potency: Median lethal dose of 0.0067 mg/g | Human deaths: Unknown (Likely multiple children per year) | Envenomation symptoms: Intense painful bite, Priapism (uncontrollable erection, followed by impotence), loss of muscle control, paralysis, asphysixation, death

4

Blue-Ringed Octopus

Blue-Ringed Octopus

Quite possibly the most venomous animal on earth. This tiny octopus packs some of the most lethal venom of any marine creature. The venom features a deadly cocktail of at least 7 different toxins, including an extremely powerful neurotoxin called tetrodoxin. This tetrodoxin component alone is over 1200 times more toxic than cyanide. A bite from one of these 8 legged demons can cause death within minutes if not treated. Once envenomated, a victim will experience intense motor paralysis and almost immediately enter cardiac or respiratory arrest. No antivenom currently exists. It is said that each octopus carries enough venom to kill 23 adult humans. Let these lessons be a reminder to curious divers everywhere, octopi are some of the coolest creatures of the sea, but if you happen to see one with blue spots, its best to swim away as fast as you can.

Species: Hapalochlaena lunulata | Nickname: BRO | Distribution: Tide pools and coral reefs from Japan to Australia | Size: Up to 8 inches

Venom Type: Tetrodotoxin, Histamine, Tryptamine, Octopamine, Taurine, Acetylcholine, Dopamine | Potency: 1200x more toxic than cyanide | Human deaths: Unknown | Envenomation symptoms: nausea, respiratory arrest, heart failure, paralysis, blindness, death. Victims can die within minutes.

5

Australia Funnel-Web Spider

Australia Funnel-Web Spider

The most deadly spider in the global capital of venomous animals. The Australian Funnel-Web Spider makes the Black Widow look like a ladybug. With a tarantula-like appearance, and massive rounded black fangs, Funnel-webs look like something straight out of a Stephen King novel. Their creepy appearance is matched only by their painful bite and highly potent venom. The deep fangs inflict an extremely painful puncture wound in the victim. The fangs release a complex Atracotoxin venom. If your family vacation to Sydney is one day punctuated by an evil Funnel-web, you can anticipate several phases of increasingly horrific torture. You’ll first begin to sweat and feel an ominous tingling sweep through your blood stream. After a few minutes you’ll begin vomiting and become short of breath; confusion and muscle spasms will take over. Eventually you’ll begin twitching uncontrollably and your brain cavity will fill with liquid, causing excruciating pain. The agony will finally render you unconscious and you’ll soon welcome the relief of death. No need to beg Expedia for a change of plans just yet though . . . . . nobody ever dies from Funnel-web bites in Australia anymore, thanks to the wide availability of antivenom, but you might want to check under the bed just to be safe.

Sub-Family: Atracinae | Nickname: Sydney Funnel-Web | Distribution: Australia | Size: 5 inch leg span

Venom Type: Atracotoxin | Potency: Unknown | Human deaths: 27 recorded deaths in the last 100 years | Envenomation symptoms: Large fangs cause an extremely painful bite. Phase 1: sweating, tingling, elevated heart rate. Phase 2: nausea, shortness of breath, confusion. Phase 3: dilation of pupils, muscle convulsions, unconsciousness, death.

6

Asian Giant Hornet

Asian Giant Hornet

The largest hornet species on earth. Seeing an Asian giant hornet in person is like an encounter with a freakish alien bug of death. These massive bugs are responsible for at least 30 deaths in Japan every year, and they probably kill many more throughout their east-Asian habitat. The sting from an Asian giant hornet feels like a hot nail being driven into the victims skin, and due to their size and the amount of venom released, a single sting can kill a humans with allergies. The neurotoxin venom causes anaphylactic shock or cardiac arrest in allergic victims, and even people who are not allergic can be killed from just 10 stings. As one of the largest and creepiest stinging bugs in the world, the Asian giant has a reserved seat at the table for the greatest venomous species of all time.

Species: Vespa mandarinia | Nickname: Yak-Killer hornet | Distribution: Higher altitude forests from India to Japan | Size: Up to 2 inch length, 3 inch wingspan

Venom Type: Neurotoxin | Potency: Mild | Human deaths: 30-40 deaths in Japan each year (often allergy related) | Envenomation symptoms: Multiple stings can cause anaphylactic shock, organ failure, skin hemorrhaging and necrosis

7

Bullet Ant

Bullet Ant

Responsible for the most painful sting of any animal. The Parponera clavata, known commonly as the Bullet Ant, ranks as the most painful on the Schmidt sting pain index. Many describe the pain from a Bullet Ant sting as the feeling of getting shot. Victims will often enter a delirious state of throbbing pain and semi-consciousness. The sensation of a Bullet Ant sting is so life-altering that the Satere-Mawe tribe of Brazil will intentionally sting young members as an initiation rite before they can become a warrior. This insane practice is achieved by lacing two gloves with hundreds of sedated ants. Aspiring warriors, often adolescent boys, will place their hands in these gloves for a full 10 minutes. They will receive hundreds of stings, and their hands and arms will become temporarily paralyzed. A boy will often shake for days after the ceremony. The truly scary part of this tradition? It’s not a “one-time and you’re in” type of ritual. A warrior must undergo the process 20 times before he becomes official. The most painful sting on earth? Yea, that’s a strong contender for the title of GOAT venomous species.

Species: Parponera clavata | Nickname: Conga Ant | Distribution: Rainforests from Nicaragua to Paraguay | Size: Up to 1.2 inch length

Venom Type: Neurotoxin | Potency: Moderate | Human deaths: Very rare | Envenomation symptoms: The most painful sting of any insect, feels like being shot with a hot bullet, waves of burning, throbbing, all-consuming pain. Symptoms last for up to 24 hours.

8

Black Mamba

Black Mamba

The most feared snake in Africa. The Black Mamba has terrorized the human populations of sub-Saharan Africa for millennia. It is a snake of many superlatives: longest venomous snake in Africa, fastest moving snake on earth, most feared snake in Africa. And while it is not the most deadly snake in Africa, that honor belongs to the Ocellated Carpet Viper, the snake is extremely aggressive and deadly. The highly lethal dendrotoxin venom can kill an adult man in as little as 20 minutes, and without the proper antivenom, human death from a Mamba bite occurs nearly 100% of the time. With slithering speeds over 6 mph, you’ll need to be quick if you hope to escape the attack of any angry mamba. With numerous stories of both truth and legend, the Black Mamba is certainly one of the most important venomous species of all time.

Species: Dendroaspis polylepis | Nickname: Black-mouthed Mamba, Death Incarnate | Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa | Size: Up to 15 foot length, weight of 3.5 lbs

Venom Type: Dendrotoxin | Potency: lethal dose of 0.28/0.32 mg/kg | Human deaths: Unknown | Envenomation symptoms: Rapid onset dizziness, coughing, paralysis, cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, death

9

Inland Taipan

Inland Taipan

The most venomous snake in the world. Australia is like Mecca for venomous animals, and the Inland Taipan is the most extraordinary fatal snake among them. Nicknamed the “Fierce Snake” due to its lethal venom, and not its temperament, the Inland Tapian is quite reclusive and rarely seen by humans. A single snake is believed to contain enough venom to kill 100 men. With an astronomical venom potency of .025 mg/kg, the Inland Taipan is far more toxic than any sea snake. Bite victims undergo a gut-wrenching journey of pain and suffering. The local pain from a bite is pretty standard, but soon a victim will feel an onslaught of poison effects, including: headache, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, convulsions, neurotoxicity, organ failure, and finally death. Taipan antivenom is widely available in Australia, but any victim of this deadly serpent will attest that the pain and suffering is in many ways worse than death.

Species: Oxyuranus microlepidotus | Nickname: Fierce Snake, Western Taipan, Dandarabilla | Distribution: Central Australia | Size: 6 foot length

Venom Type: Neurotoxins, Hemotoxins, Myotoxins, Nephrotoxins, Haemorrhagins | Potency: Median Lethal Dose .025 mg/kg | Human deaths: Very few | Envenomation symptoms: Local pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, convulsions, various organ failure, death.

10

Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon

The largest species of lizard on Earth. The Komodo dragon has inspired both wonder and fear in the hearts and minds of millions. These real-life dinosaurs have existed on Earth for over 3.8 million years. With a horrifying length of 10 feet, and razor sharp teeth and powerful jaws, these beasts would be one of the last things you’d want to stumble across at night in the jungle. A tiny population still dominates the food chain on the remote Indonesian islands of Komodo, Ruinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. While they typically scavange or use their brute strength and predatory dominance to kill their prey, it is believed that Komodos do release a toxic venom when they bite. This venom may thin the blood, making the prey weak and easier to dismantle. With such a remote natural population, few will ever see a Komodo in the wild, but we stand in appreciation from afar at the sheer awesomeness of these living monsters.

Species: Varanus komodoensis | Nickname: Komodo monitor| Distribution: | Size: 10 feet long, 200 pounds

Venom Type: Protein toxins | Potency: Mild | Human deaths: Zero recorded | Envenomation symptoms: rapid swelling, reduced blood clotting, shooting pain