Image copyright Cogger, 1992.
Description: The Taipan is the name given to two species
of the genus Oxyuranus, scutelatus, the
Coastal Taipan, and microlepidotus, the Fierce Snake or Inland
Taipan. The Taipan can be identified by their long, narrow head that
is separate from the neck, which broadens for 1/3 of the snake's total
body length until maximum body diameter is reached (Venoms). The
Inland Taipan's coloration varies from medium to light brown with dark
edges on the scales forming various patterns. It can be up to 10
feet. The Coastal Taipan is smaller, only 6-7 feet, and is usually
darker than the Inland Taipan. Futhermore, it also has paling on
its sides and a creamy colored head that is lighter than the rest of its
body (Cogger 1992).
Distibution: The Inland Taipan is found in the
arid interior of central Australia, in western Queensland, north-western
South Australia, and western New South Wales. The Coastal Taipan
is found on the northern and north-eastern coasts of Australia (Cogger
Habit: Both species of Taipan are diurnal, and
feed on small mammals. They are oviparous, with a clutch size of
16 (Cogger 1992). The Taipan are generally considered to be Australia's
most dangerous snakes, though their restricted range and sparse distribution
in populated areas has kept mortality rates low. When threatened,
a Taipan will raise its neck in an s shape and its body and tail will twitch
nervously (venoms). Its neck will flatten and it will elevate one
or two coils of its body off the ground and wave its tail back and forth
in an elevated position. Unlike other elapids that, after striking
a victim, will hold on and chew, the Taipan will repeatedly strike and
inject venom. Often times, it strikes so fast that victims may not
have time to react before being bitten several times. Most of the
venom is injected on the first strike (Kellaway 1929).
This page is an assignment for Biology 312, Animal Physiology, and is
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