Yes, Australia is well known for some weird and wonderful animals. Our snakes are no different. Many are highly feared, but beautiful creatures.
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 10 pick of the most dangerous snakes in Australia – some of them highly venomous, some extremely nervous, some you're just more likely to see slithering away in your backyard.
Here are some beautiful samples:
RED BELLIED BLACK SNAKE
Clancy's comment: They look pretty, but they are also pretty mean if confronted.