Taipan

From Academic Kids

This article is about the Australian snake. For the Chinese term for a "big shot", also the title of a novel by James Clavell, see Tai-Pan.

Taipans
Missing image
FierceSnake_Olive.jpg
Olive colored Fierce Snake


Fierce Snake, Oxyuranus microlepidotus
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata
Family:Elapidae
Genus:Oxyuranus
Species

O. scutellatus
O. s. scutellatus (Coastal Taipan)
O. s. canni (Papuan Taipan)
O. microlepitodus (Fierce Snake)

Taipans are large (up to 3 metres in length), fast, highly venomous Australian snakes, which have the most toxic venom of any land species worldwide. There are two species - the Taipan and the less common Fierce Snake (also known as Inland Taipan and Small Scaled Snake) (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) - as well as two subspecies of the Taipan. Those subspecies are the widespread Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus) and the Papuan Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus canni) which is native to the southern coast of Papua New Guinea. Their diet consists primarily of small rodents, especially rats.

The Coastal Taipan is usually pale to dark brown in color fading to a lateral cream color although juveniles are lighter in color. The Papuan Taipan is black or greyish-brown in color with a copper colored stripe on its back.

Venom and toxicity

The Fierce Snake is by far the most venomous land snake on Earth. With an LD50 of 0.01 mg/kg it is about 50 times as venomous as a Cobra and 950 times as venomous as a Diamond Rattlesnake. The venom yield of a single bite is high enough to kill about 250,000 mice, or 100 men.

The Coastal Taipan is the third most venomous snake on Earth and the biggest venomous snake of Australia. Even though not the most venomous species it is regarded by experts as the most dangerous because of its aggressive character, great size and speed.

The danger posed by the Coastal Taipan was brought to Australian public awareness in 1950 when young herpetologist Kevin Budden was fatally bitten in capturing the first specimen available for antivenin research.

External links

fi:Taipaani

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