World Cup Snake Battle Royale
November 4, 2018
It's the question everyone is asking, which snake would win in a Hunger Games-style battle?
Here's the scenario:
- Get a small island, maybe 100 feet by 100 feet. It is surrounded by beach, with some trees in the middle, some rocks, sandy areas, and other things snakes like.
- Each continent sends its top two snakes for a battle royale, like in Hunger Games.
- NO sea snakes! The ocean doesn't count as a continent
- Assume the continents have no idea what the other continents will send.
- See which snake wins the fight.
Africa is home to many deadly snakes. In a single episode of Snake City, the host will come across spitting cobras, black mambas, boomslangs, puff adders, and more -- all terrifying. Sadly, between 7,000 and 20,000 people die from snake bites in Africa each year. (It is difficult to get a good estimate, as snake deaths aren't always reported). But how do you choose two snakes to send to the battle royale? Do you go by most venemous, most fiersome, most fatal bites, or some other factor?
The Black Mamba checks so many boxes. It is Africa's largest venemous snake, and the fastest. It is aggresive and can go anywhere -- climbing trees or into burrows no problem. And it can lift a third of its huge body off the ground, making it almost as tall as a human. And it is incredibly venemous. One bite from this and a human will die in under an hour.
Can you spot the snake in the picture above? Africa's vipers scare me more than any other snake, they are big and fat, and have perfect camoflauge. The Gaboon Viper in particular is well camoflauged, they look like a pile of leaves, which is perfect, as they live in the rainforest. This terrifying snake isn't the most venomous, however it does inject more venom more than any other snake. And it strikes extremely fast AND HOLDS ON. Normally, vipers strike fast and go back. These snakes latch on and inject a ton of venom. What a way to make a scary snake even scarier. The Gaboon Viper is Africa's back-up plan, hoping to blend in and stay hidden until all the other snakes kill each other.
No snakes live on Antarctica (sadly?), so they don't send anyone. Central America is taking its place.
The world's largest continent has some seriously scary snakes.
The King Cobra is the longest venemous snake in the world, and it specializes in eating other snakes, even venemous ones. Maybe that is why it is so long, it needs to fit all the other snakes inside after it eats them. It is highly venemous too, with its venom even able to kill elephants. It is immune to the other highly-venomous snakes in Southeast Asia, making it a strong contender in the battle royale.
Despite being the smallest continent, Australia has the world's scariest animals--especially snakes. The most venemous snakes in the world are here. However, the Inland Taipan, the most venemous snake in the world doesn't make the list. It's venom is meant to kill mammals, not other snakes.
The Eastern Brown has the lamest name of any competitor in this battle. Don't let that fool you, these are highly venemous--the second most venemous non-sea-snake on Earth. They raise up before striking, and can eat other snakes.
This badass Australian snake lives among the deadliest--and eats them. The Mulga eats both Inland Taipans and Eastern Browns, and is partially immune to their venom. Immunity and hunting these snakes makes the Mulga a must for the battle royale.
Is Central America considered North or South America? Nobody knows. Home to some fiersome snakes, both North and South wanted to claim it. But Central America will compete on its own.
This terrifying viper has been described as "the ultimate viper". The Fer-de-Lance is fast, unpredictable, and is responsible for most snake bites in Central America.
The Bushmaster is the longest viper in the western hemisphere, growing up to 13 feet long. Thankfully not commonly encountered by humans, the Bushmaster's bite can be fatal.
Europe is not known for venemous snakes, though there are a few.
North America, famous for its wild west, conjures up images of menacing rattlesnakes slithering and rattling through the desert. But there are more than just rattlers. When I would bike ride in Louisiana I saw a new snake every single ride, and I was always on the lookout for the venemous Coral Snake, Water Mocassin, and Copperhead.
Often confused for the highly venemous Coral Snake, the Kingsnake is not venemous. But it makes the cut for this fight because it eats other snakes--including venemous ones. It is immune to local snake venom, and does eat rattlesnakes.
The largest and heaviest rattlesnake in North America, the Eastern Diamondback is not one you want to mess with. Typically they don't weigh more than 10 pounds, but they have been found weighing up to 35 pounds! Even though it isn't the most venemous snake, it is so big, I think the other snakes would struggle to eat this rattlesnake because of its huge size.
Home to many terrifying snakes, we all know how scary it is after watching Anaconda.
The Mussurana specializes in eating other, venemous snakes. Of course this snake is ready for the battle royale. Though these are venemous, it is not particularly dangerous to humans.
The largest snake in the world, this snake can even eat Jaguars. Not venemous, but a powerful constrictor. I don't think the Anaconda is afraid of any other snake.
The snakes all parachute in from their airplane and quickly take their positions on the island. Many of the snakes are excited and getting hungry, as their favorite food is other snakes. Mainly, the Kingsnake, King Cobra, Krait, Mussuana, and Mulga Snake. They are ready to feast. But they play it cool, as they saw the Anaconda jump from the plane too, and can't believe a Godzilla monster like that is on their island. Plus the anaconda would never fit in their mouths if they could eat it. All of those snakes have immunity to venom, but only to snakes in their local regions. There is no telling what will happen in this international battle.
The Black Mamba quickly climbs a tree. The Gaboon Viper hides in some leaves. This would be a really crappy island to be on! The King Cobra is very jealous that another snake there is called "king" and seeks out the Kingsnake. The Kingsnake is way too cocky, not realizing it isn't immune to these scary snakes. It too, wants to be the only "King". The King Cobra and Kingsnake have a faceoff. It is like a western movie--"This island ain't big enough for the both of us", they hiss. The rattlesnake starts rattling in the distance. The King Cobra laughs when it sees how small the Kingsnake is, just 4 feet long compared to its 15 feet. The Cobra swiftly bites the Kingsnake and promptly swallows it whole.
"Crap, that was my fellow American", the Rattlesnake thinks. He knows he is no match for the cobra, but decides he might be able to sit on it and crush it with its large size--after all, it is a typical, large American. The rattlesnake goes to climb a tree, only to stumble upon the Gaboon Viper in the leaves below the tree. The well-camoflauged viper promptly bites the rattlesnake and slithers away. The rattlesnake dies.
The Mussuana sees the rattlesnake die, and being hungry, decides to go eat it. This is a very poor choice on the Mussuana's part. Rattlesnakes are extremely dangerous even when they are dead, as their reflexes let them strike for the next 24 hours! As the Mussuana opens its mouth to swallow the rattler, the dead rattlesnake reflexively chomps down, right on the Mussuana's head, killing it too. No one is safe from the zombie-rattlesnake. In the tree above, the Black Mamba is like "WTF just happened down there", and jumps out of the tree to escape the madness. As it jumps, it grabs a vine. But it isn't a vine! It is another snake! It is the Eastern Brown! The Black Mamba and Eastern Brown fall out of the tree in a tangle. They try to get away, but can't. In the chaos, they have tied themselves into a knot. They decide to team-up, and be a double snake, though they are slow as they struggle to slither together.
When the Bushmaster landed, it immediately went to find a bush to be the master of. The European snakes, slowly slithering along, decided to also find a bush. The Bushmaster saw this, and quickly went to kick them out, they couldn't be "bush masters" too. They all ended up biting each other, and all died, leaving no true "bush master".
The large Anaconda was in a swimming mood. The island seemed perfect, surrounded by water. But when it tasted the saltwater, it was grossed out, and slithered back to the island. As it slithered, it climbed a tree, right above the camoflauged Gaboon Viper. The giant anaconda is hard to miss, and the Fer-de-Lance saw it climb the tree, and saw its tail hanging down. "Perfect", the Fer de Lance thought. I'll bite its tail and get away. This didn't go as planned! As the Fer-de-Lance chomped the Anaconda's tail, the Anaconda panicked, and fell out of the tree! It let out a screech as it fell and landed directly on the Fer-de-Lance and Gaboon Viper, crushing them both under its 150 pound body.
The Mulga Snake slithered along, hungry and ready to find another snake to eat. It sees the Eastern Brown awkwardly slithering in the distance. "Perfect!", and the Mulga Slithered over towards it. Then the Mulga realized the Eastern Brown was attached to the Black Mamba. "Those jerks are teaming up", thought the Mulga, "and I'll just eat them both." So the Mulga slithered over. The Eastern Brown and Black Mamba try to fight back, but being tied in a knot made it too difficult to fight, and the Mulga bit both of them, and waited for them to die. The Blue Krait saw this too, and slithered over to eat them too. But the Mulga wasn't willing to share. The Krait decided to bite the Mulga, and did, but it didn't phase the Mulga. The Mulga bit the Krait in retaliation, and the Krait fled. The Mulga feasted on the dead Mamba and Eastern Brown. The Krait soon died from the Mulga's venom.
The frustrated Anaconda's tail was beginning to hurt as the Fer-de-Lance's venom began taking effect. In the distance, the zombie rattlesnake was going crazy, rattling and chomping. This scared the Anaconda, who decided to slither away and try to get some peace away from all these psycho snakes. The King Cobra saw the large Anaconda and decided to fight it. The Cobra slinked over and bit the Anaconda! The Anaconda was fed up, and decided to strangle the Anaconda. The King Cobra realized it was a mistake to pick a fight against this large snake, but it was too late. The Anaconda was squeezing the King Cobra so tightly! The Cobra died, but so did the Anaconda, as the Fer-de-Lance and Cobra venom was just too much to handle.
This left the Mulga as the champion of the island. And with all the dead snakes around, it was going to have a lot to eat over the next few weeks.
Hopefully you had fun learning about the dangerous snakes of the world, I definitely did putting this together. I am very thankful to live in Utah where our only venomous snakes are rattlesnakes, which are kind enough to warn you when you get too close. I didn't realize how common snake bites are in other parts of the world, hopefully those go down someday.
Honorable Mention Snakes
Africa - Puff Adder
Like the Gaboon Viper, the Puff Adder is a huge, well camoflauged viper. They can weigh over 13 pounds which seems crazy! Their bite is extremely dangerous, and can even penetrate a rhino's tough skin as explained in this Smithsonian video.
Africa - Spitting Cobra
As if regular cobras weren't scary enough, there are spitting cobras too. These cobras can spit venom up to 10 feet and they know to aim for the eyes. The venom is supposedly very painful, and can cause blindness in some circumstances. I imagine it works on other snakes' eyes too, making the spitting cobra a strong choice for Africa.
Africa - Carpet Viper (also in Asia)
The Carpet Viper is officially the world's deadliest snake, as it kills more people with its bite than any other. It is aggressive, and most people are bit at night. However, this doesn't gaurantee it a spot in the tournament, as it doesn't necessarily have the best venom, it just sadly has the most fatal confrontations with humans.
Africa - Boomslang
The Boomslang, meaning tree snake in Dutch, is Africa's most venemous snake. To me, they look like how a snake would in an anime cartoon, with huge, oversized eyes. And like an anime character, it can open its mouth insanely wide when it eats. Boomslangs don't bite humans very often, just a few times a year.
North America - Water Mocassin AKA Cottonmouth
The Water Mocassin is a swimming, tree-climbing, go-anywhere pit viper. It is large, aggressive, and eats other snakes. The snake I least-wanted to see in Louisiana. It is also called the Cottonmouth because it opens its mouth when threatened, showing off its fiersome white mouth.
Fun Science Fact - Poisonous vs Venemous
An animal that is poisonous is harmful if eaten or touched. An animal is venemous if it injects its toxins into another animal, like through a bite or sting. Snakes are venomous, not poisonous, though supposedly ingesting snake venom can cause bad allergic reactions, so I wouldn't try eating them despite them not being poisonous.