The Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) is a reptile in the Elapidae family of venomous snakes. It is an elapid. It is also known as the Western Taipan, the Small-Scale Snake, or the Fierce Snake. There are two types of Taipans in Australia: Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) and Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus). It is the most venomous snake in the world.
The Inland Taipan is dark-tan to brownish light-green, depending on the season. Its colour becomes darker in winter in order to absorb light and heat from the sun (called thermoregulation). Its underbelly is pale-yellowish. It has dark-marked scales in diagonal rows. It has a rounded head wiith dark eyes. It has venomous fangs.
It measures about 180 centimetres (71 inches) long.
The Inland Taipan is found only in central east Australia in semi-arid regions, such as black soil plains. It lives in holes and burrows in the ground, to keep away from the severe heat of outback Australia.
It is fast and accurate when it strikes its predator, often striking multiple times (up to 8 times). It is extremely venomous, and the most venomous snake in the world. A human can die within 30-45 minutes if not treated. However, it is quite a shy snake.
It eats mammals, such as rats, mice, and small animals. It has only one predator – the Mulga Snake (Pseudechis australis).
The Inland Taipan is oviparous. The female lays 12-24 eggs in a burrow, which hatch after about 8 weeks. The young snakes are called snakelets.
Location of photographs: Canberra National Zoo and Aquarium, Australia
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM