List of venomous animals

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Many venomous animals, such as this greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata), are brightly colored or can display bright colors to warn potential predators

Numerous animal species naturally produce chemical toxins which are used to kill or incapacitate prey or as a defense against predators. Venomous animals actively deliver their toxins (called venom) into their target through a specially evolved mechanism, such as a bite or sting, by using a venom apparatus, such as fangs or a stinger, in a processes called envenomation.[1][2] They are often distinguished from poisonous animals, which instead passively deliver their toxins (called poison) to their victims upon contact such as through inhalation, absorption through the skin, or after being ingested.[1][2][3] The only difference between venomous animals and poisonous animals is how they deliver the toxins.[3] This list deals exclusively with venomous animals.

Venoms have evolved to serve a wide variety of purposes. Their intended effects can range from mild fleeting discomfort to paralysis and death, and they may be highly selective in which species they target, often making them harmless to all but a few specific co-evolved organisms; what may be fatal to one species may be totally insignificant to another species. Because the definition of "venomous" can be extremely broad, this list includes only those animals with venom that is known or suspected to be medically significant for humans or domestic animals.




Strictly speaking, all spiders and scorpions possess venom, though only a handful are dangerous to humans. Spiders typically deliver their venom with a bite from piercing, fang-like chelicerae; scorpions sting their victims with a long, curved stinger mounted on the telson.

Latrodectus mactans, one of several venomous North American black widows

Of more than a thousand known species of scorpion, only a few dozen have venom that is dangerous to humans,[6] most notably the bark scorpions, including:


Other arthropods[edit]


  • Cone snails of the family Conidae are a diverse group of predatory marine gastropods, mostly tropical in distribution, which hunt and immobilize prey using a modified harpoon-like radular tooth that can deliver neurotoxic conopeptides. All cone snails are venomous, though the danger posed to humans varies widely by species.

Many species of octopus, squid, and cuttlefish make use of venom when hunting their prey.

  • The blue-ringed octopodes (Hapalochlaena spp.) produce tetrodotoxin, which is extremely toxic to even the healthiest adult humans, though the number of actual fatalities they have caused is far lower than the number caused by spiders and snakes, with which human contact is more common.[8]




Synanceia verrucosa, a species of stonefish, is lined with dorsal spines that deliver an intensely painful and lethal venom. It is sometimes called the most venomous fish in the world.

There are at least 1,200 species of venomous fish, including:



The black mamba has one of the deadliest bites of any snake



Some scientists have proposed that Sinornithosaurus had a venomous bite, but recent evidence suggests otherwise.[12]


Though there are numerous poisonous amphibian species capable of secreting lethal toxins through their skin, relatively few amphibians are truly venomous.




Only a few modern mammal species are capable of producing venom; they are likely the last living examples of what was once a more common trait among the mammals. The definition of "venomous" becomes less distinct here, however, and whether some species are truly venomous is still debated.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The venom is produced only by the male and only during the breeding season.


  1. ^ a b Gupta, Ramesh C. Reproductive and developmental toxicology. Saint Louis. pp. 963–972. ISBN 978-0-12-804240-3. OCLC 980850276.
  2. ^ a b Chippaux, JP; Goyffon, M (2006). "[Venomous and poisonous animals--I. Overview]". Médecine Tropicale (in French). 66 (3): 215–20. ISSN 0025-682X. PMID 16924809.
  3. ^ a b "Poison vs. Venom". Australian Academy of Science. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  4. ^ Funnel-web Spiders Archived 27 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine at the Australian Museum, Sydney
  5. ^ Jone SC. "Ohio State University Fact Sheet: Brown Recluse Spider". Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2006.
  6. ^ "Poisonous Animals: Scorpion (Scorpiones)". ThinkQuest. c. 2000. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  7. ^ "Meet the World's Only Known Venomous Crustacean". 8 January 2014.
  8. ^ Jacups, Susan & Currie, Bart. (2008). Blue-ringed octopuses: a brief review of their toxicology. Northern Territory Naturalist. 20. 50–57.
  9. ^ "Stinging Mechanism". Jellyfish Art. 16 August 2010. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012.
  10. ^ Grady, Denise Venom Runs Thick in Fish Families, Researchers Learn The New York Times 22 August 2006.
  11. ^ Ternay, A. "Dangerous and Venomous Aquarium Fish" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2014.
  12. ^ Gianechini, F.A., Agnolín, F.L. and Ezcurra, M.D. (2010). "A reassessment of the purported venom delivery system of the bird-like raptor Sinornithosaurus." Paläontologische Zeitschrift, in press. doi:10.1007/s12542-010-0074-9

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