Description

One of Australia’s most notorious snakes has fangs which can grow 1cm in length! It uses these to inject a powerful venom into the body. The coastal taipan commonly measures 1.5m – 2m in length, however specimens have recorded at an impressive 3m. A slender snake, it sports a 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. Coastal taipans are active throughout the year; however, they are most commonly encountered in late winter and spring.

Habitat

The species is found along the coast of Australia from northern New South Wales, through to Queensland. It’s location then spreads across northern Australia including the Northern Territory through to north-eastern Western Australia. It is found in forests, heaths and grassy beach dunes, and also favours cane fields.

Diet

Coastal taipans prey strictly on 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

Breeding season for coastal taipans is usually observed between August to September. Courtship between adults follows the basic pattern seen in many other snake species. Upon encountering a receptive female, the male becomes highly excited and moves up and along the body of the female, continually tongue-flicking and rubbing his chin against her. Female coastal taipans can lay anywhere between 7-20 large, pill-shaped eggs. The eggs can take up to 68 days to hatch with the hatchlings measuring around 30cm – 40cm long.

Snake Antivenom Program

 

The coastal taipan is a part of the Australian Reptile Park’s antivenom program and the facility remains the only place in Australia to milk the species for its raw venom to make into antivenom.

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