Snakes have such a bad reputation that seeing one — even the most harmless, least poisonous among them — is enough to ruin a person’s day. Maybe someday, people will know enough about them to realize that they don’t have to be slithering monsters. There’s a caveat, though: knowing more about them means knowing that they can be absurdly poisonous.
That’s the case with a newly discovered species — though “re-classified” might be the better term. Once thought to be a member of the death adder family, researchers at the Western Australia Museum have done genetic testing to spot the differences, and dubbed it the Kimberley death adder in honor of the region that houses it. The snake is recognizable thanks to its diamond-shaped head and the pattern of its scales; more to the point, its venom is so deadly that it’s jumped straight into the top ten of the world’s most poisonous.
The irony is that despite the sheer lethality it possesses, the Kimberley death adder is actually under constant threat from foes, feral cats, and even humans. They’re not built for speed, which means that even if they’re camouflaged, they can’t escape a predator bold enough to approach. Still, maybe it’s for the best that they’re slow; one untreated bite from them is all it takes to spell certain doom.