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  • The 24-36 inch copperhead is responsible for approx. 35 % of all venomous bites in USA. Read More
  • Cottonmouth snakes forage by ambushing their prey, and will avoid humans at all costs. Read More
  • The average death rate from krait bites in Asia is 7 %. It is highly feared in India. Read More
  • The puff adder can strike with lightning speed and most of its victims are from Africa. Read More
  • Cobra's are the largest and deadliest snakes in the world. Read More
  • Known by its triangular head. The venom from the Russel's viper causes renal failure within hours.
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  • The coral snake is not as dangerous as people think and fatalities are uncommon.
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  • The gaboon is a rather calm snake, but deaths from its venom occur fast.
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  • Lancehead snakes accounts for approx. 90 % of all snake envenomations in South America.
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  • The rattlesnakes rattle is composed of scales. Amputations from its bite are common.
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  • The taipan snake has the lowest LD50-value of all snakes. 0.030 mg/kg can kill 50 people.
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  • Bushmasters are the largest vipers and lengths of 6 feet are common.
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  • The black mamba is largest and deadliest snake of Africa. Most, but not all, survive its bite.
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  • Fangs of sea snakes are mostly to short to penetrate human skin. Related to Cobras!
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  • Tiger snakes are roaming around Australia, including islands such as Tasmania.
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  • The death adder can attract prey by wiggling its tail. Its venom is slow to take effect.
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  • The boomslang is long and slender perfectly camouflaged African snake.
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  • Burrowings asps have the longest fangs relative to their head size of any snakes.
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  • The Moorish viper is the largest viper in Africa. It has a zig-zag pattern on its body.
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  • The horned viper is a typical ambusher. Usually, its bite is not deadly.
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  • The night adder is responsible for most venomous snake bites in Africa - it is not deadly.
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  • The most common types of antivenom and how it is produced and used.
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  • Read about people who has survived snake bites and see how bites affected them.
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  • See annotated videos of venomous snakes from around the world.
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  • See annotated images of venomous snakes from around the world.
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  • How did snakes evolve and how is the geological record of snakes.
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  • See a top 5 list of the most venomous snakes in the world.
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Tiger Snake: Belly White Like That of Tigers

By Anders Nielsen, Ph.d.

Tiger snakes got their name because they are usually banded with their belly lighter than the rest of their body. They are fairly large (6 feet) and live in Australia and islands around Australia, such as Tasmania. The fact that there are isolated populations (Tasmania is 150 miles from the mainland) and the coast shore of Australia is almost endless gives rise to a number of local variations of tiger snakes—some of which are considered sub-species.

Venom and Bites

The tiger snake is perhaps most infamous because of its highly potent venom. A way to estimate the toxicity of different venoms is to compare their LD50-values. The LD50-value tells which concentration of the venom was sufficient to kill 50 percent of a mice population. For the tiger snake, this value is 0.214 mg/kg (value from www.seanthomas.net). The value is sub-cutaneous, which corresponds to the venom being injected during a bite.

One must keep in mind that not all snakes are capable of injecting the same amount of venom. Larger snakes will not only be able to deliver a higher dose of venom, their fangs will also penetrate human skin. The tiger snake being a fairly large and strong snake, this should not be a problem.

Tiger Snake Antivenin

Antivenin exists against its venom, but if it is not administered in time, the chances of dying from paralysis are high.

Scientific Investigations

One would think that these snakes are so dangerous that no one would dare to collect them and subject them to experiments.

However, this is not the case. Tiger snakes are often collected by biologists and herpetologists, and it is not only to extract its venom to find out if it can be used for medical purposes.

One example is a recent study (Aubret et al., 2007, in AMPHIBIA-REPTILIA), where a group of Australian scientists found out that the foraging behavior of tiger snakes was related to how hungry they were. They collected a number of young tiger snakes, and raised them on two types of diets: one diet with lots of food and one diet with only enough food to sustain themselves. The snakes were then subjected to conditions where they were at risk of being eaten. These special conditions got the tiger snakes raised on a low diet to take more chances during their foraging than their well-fed companions.

This phenomenon is known as "predation risk-associated foraging." This study was about to find out if that is present within the Notechis scutatus genus.

References

Aubret F. et al Food versus risk: foraging decision in young Tiger snakes, Notechis scutatus AMPHIBIA-REPTILIA 28(2) pp 304-308 (2007)

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