10 Fastest Snakes In The World

Whether you find snakes interesting or repulsive, you must admit that they are some of the most amazing animals on our planet. They have been around for millions of years, dating even to the time of the dinosaurs.

These fantastic creatures have been heavily featured and have influenced cultures all around the globe. From religion to literature to depictions in popular culture, snakes have had a notorious reputation.

And for a good reason, people are most afraid of getting bitten and are fearful of how quickly they can attack.

Exactly how fast are they, then? And which snakes are the fastest? Luckily, we’ve compiled and ranked a definitive list of the world’s fastest snakes below.

#10 Chrysopelea (Flying Snakes)

Speed: 8-10 meters per second (gliding speed)
 Habitat/Range: Jungles and forests of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and southern Thailand
Scientific Name: Chrysopelea
 Average Lifespan: 10 years

Chrysopelea (Flying Snakes)photo source: Encyclopedia Brittanica

Flying snakes are members of the Chrysopelea genus. It also goes by the name “gliding snake.” A flying snake glides in the air in an aerobatic maneuver to get away from its enemies and go from one tree to another. They are widely dispersed throughout Southeast and South Asia.

The capacity of flying snakes to change their body shape aids in their ability to fly in the air. A typical species of flying snake is the paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi).

These snakes’ venom, which is employed to subdue its prey, is not fatal to humans. A bite from one of these snakes should still not be taken lightly, though, as it might result in discomfort and swelling.

People are frequently given over-the-counter pain relievers and, if necessary, a tetanus vaccine.

Did You Know:

Flying snakes are solitary animals, although they will be social when necessary.

#9 King Cobra

Speed: 7 miles per hour (maximum speed)
 Habitat/Range: Jungles, forests, and plains of South and Southeast Asia   
Scientific Name: Ophiophagus hannah
 Average Lifespan: 20 years

King Cobraphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

The king cobra is an indigenous venomous snake found in forests from Southeast Asia through India.

The king cobra’s lethal fangs measure 8 and 10 millimeters in length, or around 0.5 inches. They must be short because they are connected to the upper jaw. If they were any longer, they would pierce the floor of its mouth.

By injecting venom through their fangs, they can kill their prey. The toxins stop the victim’s breathing and heartbeat. A cobra will only strike out at a person if it feels threatened. As with any venomous snake, a cobra bite can be fatal if not properly treated.

Did You Know:

A single bite from a king cobra can result in the death of one elephant or about twenty people due to the venom’s extreme potency.

#8 Cottonmouth Viper

Speed: 2.98 meter per second2 (striking speed)
 Habitat/Range: Southeastern United States, Near areas with water
Scientific Name: Agkistrodon piscivorus
 Average Lifespan: 10 years

Cottonmouth Viperphoto source: Flickr

The water moccasin, or cottonmouth snake, is a highly venomous pit viper that primarily lives close to the water.

One of the very few semi-aquatic snakes in the world is the cottonmouth. They occasionally swim in both freshwater and saltwater environments. There are two distinct main species: the Florida cottonmouth and the northern cottonmouth.

Cottonmouths can pursue animals on land or in the water. Fish, tiny mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, including other snakes and even smaller cottonmouths, are among the things they eat.

Cottonmouths can be seen day or night; however, they forage primarily at night during the hottest portions of the season. They can be spotted all year round throughout a large portion of their habitat, even on sunny winter days.

Did You Know:

The term “cottonmouth” refers to the pale cotton-looking interior of its mouth, which it exhibits when threatened.

#7 Texas Rat Snake

Speed: 5.97 miles per hour (striking speed)
 Habitat/Range: Primarily Texas but can also be found in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma
Scientific Name: Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri
 Average Lifespan: 10-15 years

Texas Rat Snakephoto source: Flickr

The rat snake (or western rat snake) can be found in southern Louisiana and eastern Texas. The average adult length of this species is 42 to 72 inches; however, the longest recorded measurement was 86 inches. They consume eggs, nestling birds, rodents, and other small animals.

When cornered or captured, they become extremely hostile. They will make an “S” shape with their bodies raised above the ground, hold their mouths open, hiss, or strike. They will also vibrate their tails, release a foul smell, and bite if threatened.

Did You Know:

Texas rat snakes are excellent climbers capable of scaling a brick wall straight up. Due to their frequent habit of devouring chicken eggs in barns, they are frequently called “chicken snakes.”

#6 Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Speed: 175 miles per hour (striking speed)
 Habitat/Range: Southeastern United States
Scientific Name: Crotalus adamanteus
 Average Lifespan: 15-20 years

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakephoto source: Flickr

One of the biggest venomous snakes in the world is the eastern diamondback rattlesnake. It is undoubtedly the largest in the Americas at 8 feet long.

Rattlesnakes are part of the pit viper family. This is because they have tiny temperature-sensing holes on either side of their heads, which enable them to locate prey in the dark.

The unique black band that covers its eyes and is bordered by two pale lines, as well as the diamond-shaped pattern down its back (which gave rise to its common name), make this species easy to recognize.

On each side of its face, there is a sizable pit between the nostril and the eye, and it has vertical, cat-like pupils.

The Eastern Diamondback Rattler lives in the southeastern part of the U.S. They inhabit various environments, including marshes and woods. However, they prefer to live in the tunnels dug by mammals like gophers.

Did You Know:

A group of Eastern Diamond Rattlesnakes is called a “rhumba.”

#5 Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Speed: 1 meter per second (swimming speed)
 Habitat/Range: Tropical regions in the Indian and Pacific oceans
Scientific Name: Hydrophis platurus
 Average Lifespan: 2-4 years

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snakephoto source: Australian Geographic

This venomous snake lives in the tropical waters of every ocean except the Atlantic. As a result, the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake has one of the largest global distributions of any snake.

This snake is easily recognizable from other species of sea snakes thanks to its distinctive bicolor pattern, which consists of a yellow underbelly and a brown back (as the name suggests).

The yellow-bellied sea snake has adapted perfectly to a marine environment. As they dive and swim at the water’s surface, these snakes can absorb up to 33% of the oxygen they need through their skin.

The lower jaw of sea snakes is home to a specialized salt gland that was once thought to remove excess salt from the snakes’ diet, but this theory was debunked when it was discovered that sea snakes prefer to drink fresh water.

Did You Know:

The yellow-bellied sea snake can swim backward and use this skill to catch fish on the ocean’s surface.

#4 Common Death Adder

Speed: 0.15 seconds (striking speed)
 Habitat/Range: Eastern Australia
Scientific Name: Acanthophis antarcticus
 Average Lifespan: 15 years

Common Death Adderphoto source: Flickr

Australia is home to the Common Death Adder, one of the world’s most venomous land snakes. These snakes have a wide, flattened, triangular head and thick body with bands of red, brown, and black.

Their bellies are grey, cream, or pink. The fangs of a death adder are the longest of any Australian snake.

The species stay away from deserts, but many can be found near trees or grassy areas. These reptiles are very good at fitting in with their surroundings, which lets them sneak up on their prey. A female Death Adder can have three to more than thirty live babies.

Did You Know:

The fangs of the common death adder are the longest of any Australian snake.

#3 Southern Black Racer

Speed: 4 miles per hour
 Habitat/Range: Southeastern United States
Scientific Name: Coluber constrictor priapus
 Average Lifespan: 10 years

Southern Black Racerphoto source: Flickr

The southern black racer is a frequent variant of Eastern snake racers. It’s non-venomous and is found in the Southeastern United States.

Adults are usually thin, with a jet-black dorsal side, a gray belly, and a white chin. The juveniles have a consistent tail color and noticeable reddish-brown patches that are gray.

The term “racer” refers to how quickly these snakes move.

Southern black racers are found throughout the southeastern United States. They live in forests, pinelands, open woodlands, grassy areas, brush, hardwood hammocks, prairies, sandhills, deserts, scrub, and cypress strands. Also frequently observed in suburban yards and fields.

Did You Know:

Despite their scientific name, Coluber constrictor, black racer snakes are not a constricting species like boa constrictors.

#2 Sidewinder

Speed: 18 miles per hour (maximum speed)
 Habitat/Range: Southwestern United States and Mexico
Scientific Name: Crotalus cerastes
 Average Lifespan: 10-20 years

Sidewinderphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Sidewinders belong to the rattlesnake family. Although they are pretty venomous, they are shy and mostly nocturnal, so they don’t bite people very often. Almost all of what they eat is rodents and lizards.

At night, they go for long walks and smell the air and the ground to find food. During the day, they use a unique wiggling movement to bury themselves in loose sand. They always do this in the shade of a bush to stay cool in the hot sun.

In this half-buried coil, with their heads just above the ground, they wait for prey to come too close. The bite kills and paralyzes the victim quickly.

After eating, snakes go down into holes made by other animals so they can digest their food. Sidewinders are known for their unique and well-studied sidewinding behavior, but they can also move in different, more traditional ways.

They don’t do this very often, though. Instead, the sidewinding way they walk helps them move on shifting sands and other surfaces, like hardpan desert soil and roads.

Did You Know:

The sidewinder is also called the “horned rattlesnake” because the scales above its eyes are raised and look like horns.

#1 Black Mamba

Speed: 15 kilometers per hour
 Habitat/Range: Southern and Eastern African savannas
Scientific Name: Dendroaspis polylepis
 Average Lifespan: 11 years

Black Mambaphoto source: Flickr

At the top of our list is the Black Mamba, the fastest snake in the world, with a maximum speed of 15 kilometers per hour.

The Black Mamba is a snake found in eastern and southern Africa. It is very venomous. It is second only to the King Cobra in length among venomous snakes.

Black mambas have heads that look like coffins, with a brow ridge and medium-sized eyes. The colors of these snakes are very different. They can be olive, yellowish brown, khaki, or gunmetal, but they are rarely black. Some people may have a purple sheen to their scales.

Black mambas are carnivores and mainly eat small vertebrates like birds and rodents. They usually eat animals with warm blood, but they will also eat other snakes.

Did You Know:

Black mambas have round pupils, which makes them stand out from other venomous snakes.

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