Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Inland Taipan - Fierce Snake

The inland taipan, also known as the fierce snake, is a venomous snake found in east-central Australia. It is considered by biologists to have the most powerful venom of any land snake in the world, with a bite that is reportedly 50 times more lethal than that of an Indian cobra.
Inland taipans are approximately 6-8 feet long and have scales that are brown or brownish olive-green depending on season. Dark chevrons are usually visible on the body and the head and snout are nearly black. Taipans change the shade of their scales seasonally, becoming lighter during the summer to reflect light and darker during the winter to absorb it.

The taipan’s diet consists of rodents, small mammals and birds. Native rats are common in much of the inland taipan’s habitat, and in years where the rats are plentiful they will become the snake’s primary food source. They hunt by stunning their prey with a single bite, after which the taipan retreats to a crack in the arid dirt or other safe place while its venom takes effect. Once the prey has expired the taipan will return to consume it.

Despite their dangerous reputation, inland taipans are very reclusive and there has never been a report of a bite to a human other than to herpetologists actually handling the snake, and all bite victims survived through the administration of antivenin.

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