According to http://www.bukisa.com/articles/76525_worlds-most-venomous-snakes, cobras are more venomous than rattle snakes. Although it seems neither one of them is the most venomous, the title going to Belcher’s Sea snake.
That will depend on the particular species, as there about 20-22 cobras and 32 rattlesnakes. Let’s pick the biggest ones for comparison: Crotalus adamanteus, largest rattlesnake and heaviest venomous snake in North America, vs. King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), longest poisonous snake in the world.
C. adamanteus can provide about 400-450 mg and up to 1000 mg of poison of LD50 (median lethal dose) of 1.3-2.4 mg/kg. The venomous mixture of proteins causes bleeding and necrosis of the affected tissue, among other effects. Estimated dose to kill a human – 100-150 mg, so we get about 3-10 deadly doses per bite.
King Cobra packs 380-600 mg of venom with an LD50 of 0.34 mg/kg in one bite. The neurotoxic and cardiotoxic protein mix affects the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, resulting in paralysis, shock, coma, and respiratory failure. That’s sufficient to kill 20-40 adult humans – or even an elephant.
That clearly places the King Cobra as the winner.
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