Australia's 10 most dangerous snakes
Australia is known for its dangerous snakes, and we have many, but in reality few people die from bites.
WHEN IT COMES TO self-defence, Australia's snakes have got things pretty well covered. We share our continent with about 140 species of land snakes, some equipped with venom more toxic than any other snakes in the world.
But bites are actually quite rare in Australia and, since the development of anti-venom, fatalities have been low - between four to six deaths a year.
"This is in contrast to India, for example, where bites may reach one million a year, with over 50,000 deaths," says Associate Professor Bryan Fry, a herpetologist and venom expert at the University of Queensland. "Snake bites are very, very rare [in Australia] and often the fault of the person being bitten. Most bites occur when people are trying to kill a snake or show off."
Most snakes would rather slither away from humans than fight them. "Snakes don't perceive humans as food and they don't aggressively bite things out of malice. Their venom is used to subdue prey that would otherwise be impossible for a snake to eat," says Dion Wedd, curator of the Territory Wildlife Park, NT. "If their only escape route is past a human with a shovel, then they are likely to react in the only way they can."
So if you're standing between a snake and its escape route, prepare for a fearsome display. Although all species are potentially dangerous, here's our top ten pick of the most dangerous Australian snakes - some of them highly venomous, some extremely nervous, some you're just more likely to step on in your backyard.
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