Venoms: Striking Beauties

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Deadly Beauties

These animals possess some of the world's most potent venoms:


 

Inland Taipan
Oxyuranus microlepidotus

A bite of Inland Taipan venom is toxic enough to kill 15,000 mice. Found only in Australia, this is the most toxic snake on Earth. Luckily, antivenom is available; few people survived a bite from this snake before it was developed.

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Inland Taipan
 
Photo by John Weigel

 

 

Blue-ringed Octopus
Hapalochlaena lunulata

When the tiny Blue-ringed Octopus is threatened, its faint blue rings become bright and vivid. The color warns predators to back off, and with good reason — it’s one of the most deadly venomous animals on Earth.

The octopus bites prey with its jaws, then injects a potent venomous saliva into the bite wound. This venom contains tetrodotoxin, one of the most potent neurotoxins known. Human death from heart and respiratory failure can occur within minutes. However, this non-aggressive octopus only bites people in self-defense.

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Blue-ringed octopus
 
Photo by Roy Caldwell

 

 

Death Stalker Scorpion
Leiurus quinquestriatus

The Death Stalker Scorpion may be small, but it is the most toxic scorpion on earth. In general, scorpions with slim and narrow pincers are equipped with more toxic venom. Powerful venom compensates for the scorpion’s weaker pincers and lack of brawny strength. This scorpion’s sting delivers extremely toxic venom that can cause extreme pain, convulsions, paralysis, and even death by heart or respiratory failure. The Death Stalker Scorpion is found in North Africa and the Middle East.

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Death Stalker Scorpion
 
Photo by John S. Reid

 

 

Sydney Funnel-web Spider
Atrax robustus

Males of this large, aggressive, Australian species have the most toxic venom of all spiders. Painful bites can release a neurotoxin that could kill a person within 15 minutes; quick treatment with anti-venom can prevent fatalities.

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Sydney Funnel Web Spider
 
Photo byTRIP/Eric Smith


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