5 Dangerous Reptiles You Should Avoid

Learn about the five most dangerous reptiles and why you should avoid them.

Jul 4, 2023By Tamara Bray
dangerous reptiles you should avoid

Reptiles are cold-blooded creatures with around 11,700 different species. Of this large species, some reptiles are friendly and are often kept as pets, while others should be admired from a safe distance! Here are the five most dangerous reptiles in the world.

5. Gila Monster

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Gila Monster

At 22 inches, these black and orange lizards are considered the largest lizards in the United States and one of the most venomous lizards in the world. The Gila monster is native to Mexico, California, and Arizona because of the hot desert conditions.

These beautiful but dangerous lizards have been hunted for reasons that might surprise you. Some scientists believe that the venom can be used to treat type 2 Diabetes. However, in Arizona, these lizards are now a protected species.

The poisonous venom administered from its lower jaw and large teeth makes this lizard so dangerous. When the Gila monster chomps down on its prey, it holds them for up to ten minutes to release the venom through the grooves in the teeth.

They typically hunt smaller animals like rodents, smaller lizards, frogs, and eggs.

While Gila monsters do not view humans as a food source, you should still keep your distance from them as their bite is super painful, and there is no antivenom for a Gila bite!

4. Inland Taipan

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Inland Taipan

The Inland Taipan is labeled as the most venomous snake in the world, and if you’re planning a trip to the Australian Outback, you should definitely avoid this small snake. Luckily, this is easy enough to do as the Inland Taipan is quite shy and spends most of the time underground.

The Inland Taipan is mostly active during the early morning when they hunt for prey like rats, forage amongst the rocks, and bask in the sunlight.

If provoked, the Inland Taipan can strike and bite. The venom of this snake is so deadly that one full bite, around 100mg, is enough to kill a human within 45 minutes. Other symptoms include headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and kidney failure.

This is because there is hyaluronidase in the venom, which is an enzyme that increases the speed and rate at which the venom absorbs. If bitten, it is so important that you get anti-venom as soon as possible.

Knowing what to do if you spot a snake is key to avoid getting bit!

3. Black Caiman

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Black Caiman 

This member of the Alligatoridae family is neither a crocodile nor an alligator. It is a Black Caiman. The Black Caiman is the largest apex predator in the Amazon Basin and other rivers in South America and one that many of the locals avoid.

Some Black Caimans can grow up to 20 ft in length and will be found in slow-moving freshwater and even wetlands.

Contrary to much folklore, the Black Caiman does not eat humans. They mostly eat fish, like piranha and catfish, and smaller animals, like cats, dogs, capybaras, and even deer.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should try to approach them, as their jaws will bite down with a force of 6 metric tons. This means they can shatter a turtle shell with a single bite. The saltwater crocodile only has a bite force of 1.5 metric tons!

2. Alligator Snapping Turtle

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Alligator Snapping Turtle 

This turtle is nothing like the smooth-talking turtle from the popular animated film Finding Nemo. Instead, this turtle is known for its spiked shell and powerful jaws, making it look rather prehistoric.

The Alligator Snapping Turtle is not an alligator, but rather is part of the turtle family. They are also known as the largest and heaviest freshwater turtles. Some of these turtles can weigh up to 198 pounds!

They are mainly located in fresh waters across the United States. However, in South Africa, this turtle is considered an invasive species being introduced to the country through the pet trade and now may only be kept for commercial use with a special permit.

The Alligator Snapping Turtle hunts fish, frogs, snakes, and other small mammals that are in or near the water. During the day, these turtles will lay still with their mouth open in the water, ready to catch some unsuspecting creature.

If you’re in an area where these turtles live, you better watch where you step, as their bite is known to snape bone!

1. Komodo Dragon

komodo dragons fighting
Komodo Dragons Fighting 

The most dangerous reptile on our list has to be the Komodo Dragon. These are the largest lizards in the world, some growing up to 10 ft and weighing up to 300 pounds.

What makes these lizards so dangerous is that they are very aggressive. They have long, thick tails that they use to fight and low claws.

Not only are they incredibly strong, but they have a poisonous bite as well, which is why they’re number one on our list.

Their shark-like teeth are serrated and can release dangerous venom. If this isn’t enough warning to keep away, what makes a Komodo bite unique is that they bite and rip the flesh off their prey.

Komodo dragons are a protected species which makes them an eco-attraction, especially since they only live on a couple of Indonesian Islands.

When visiting any of these islands, you should be very careful and pay attention to your guide. Over the years, there have been numerous fatal Komodo attacks, making these lizards the most dangerous reptile that you should avoid!

Tamara Bray
By Tamara Bray

Tamara is an animal lover from South Africa with years of experience researching and writing about reptiles of all sizes. She has three dogs, Lulu, Ciri, and Rafiki, all from a rescue organization. In her spare time, Tamara likes to go on trail walks and often has her nose buried in a book.