It is difficult to identify the most dangerous snake in the world, because the effect of a snakebite depends on the combination of many factors above and beyond the species itself: the age, weight and health of the victim, the size of the snake, the number of bites and the volume of venom injected; and, of course the speed and efficiency of first aid treatment. However, taking into account the five most widely accepted features for comparison (venom toxicity, venom yield, fang length, temperament and frequency of bite) the saw-scaled or carpet viper (Echis carinatus) is generally considered to be the most dangerous snake in the world. Ranging from West Africa through the Middle East to India and Sri Lanka, it probably kills more people in the world than any other species. In Asia alone, it is reported to kill 800 people annually. Its venom is more toxic than any other viper, it is small and easy to overlook and, above all, it becomes extremely aggressive when frightened or disturbed. Indeed, many snake experts put it on the top of their list of short-tempered species.
The beaked sea snake (Enhydrina schistosa) is generally considered to be the worlds most dangerous sea snake. Blamed for many deaths in southeast Asia, in particular, it normally grows to about 1.2m (4ft) long and hunts catfish in shallow estuaries and tidal creeks.