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Coastal taipan

Scientific Name: Oxyuranus scutellatus

Did You Know?

The venom the coastal taipan injects is specially designed for warm blooded mammals. One neurotoxin knocks out the prey’s nervous system so its muscles won’t work, and another toxin stops the prey’s blood from clotting, so it bleeds to death.

Australia’s deadliest snake also has huge fangs, which grow up to 12 millimetres long! It uses these to inject a powerful venom into the body. The coastal taipan is commonly about 1.5-2 metres long, but can grow to 3m. Sporting a slender light to dark brown body, and a cream/yellow belly with pink or orange flecks, the snake’s head is often a lighter brown than its body.

Habitat:

Along the coast from northern NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory through to north-eastern Western Australia. It is found in forests, heaths and grassy beach dunes, and also favours cane fields.

Diet:

Strictly mammals such as small rodents, bandicoots and quolls. Although many human deaths have resulted from taipan bites, it rarely attacks humans except in self defence.

Reproduction:

7-20 large, pill-shaped eggs are laid which take up to 68 days to hatch. The young are around 30 cm long.

More Australian venomous snakes
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