Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)

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DESCRIPTION – Variable, yellowish-brown to black, some with reddish vertebral stripe, head usually cream-white. Ventral scales pale, with or without red-orange flecks. Australia’s longest venomous snake. Around 240cm, can grown over 3m. 21-23 mid body scales, 220-250 ventral, 45-80 sub ventral, anal single. Family: Elapidae.

DISTRIBUTION – Coastal area of QLD/NSW border to north QLD, across northern Australia to Kimberly region, WA. Dry forests and woodlands, grasslands, heaths, savannahs, and rainforest edges. Very rarely seen in Brisbane region, only in outer reaches e.g. Pullenvale, Samford areas.

ECOLOGY – Largely diurnal, nocturnal in warm weather. Terrestrial, feeds on small mammals (up to bandicoots), rarely birds. Very alert, cryptic, rarely seen in southern range. Oviparous, 5-22 eggs.

VENOM – HIGHLY VENOMOUS – Dangerously powerful neurotoxic, coagulopathic, and myotoxic components. Long fangs, incredibly agile, and nervous temperament. Rightfully considered one of the world’s most dangerous snakes.

Updated November 2019 from Eipper, S. & Eipper, T. (2019) A Naturalists Guide To The Snakes Of Australia. John Beaufoy Publishing.