Taipan

Oxyuranus scutellatus

SUBFAMILY

Hydrophiinae

TAXONOMY

Oxyuranus scutellatus Peters, 1867, Rockhampton.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This species often reaches a length more than 79 in (2 m). Its coloration is generally light to dark brown with no obvious pattern.

DISTRIBUTION

Eastern Queensland, northeastern Western Australia, and Northern Territory.

HABITAT

The taipan inhabits forest to open savanna.

BEHAVIOR

This snake is mainly active during the day.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The taipan specializes on small mammals.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The female lays up to 20 eggs.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The taipan is considered the second most venomous snake. Only its close relative, the inland taipan, or fierce snake, is more venomous. Few fatal bites occur, however, because taipans inhabit inhospitable areas where people tend not to live. The taipan also is very shy and always retreats if it can. ♦

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