Taipan

Taipans are very poisonous snakes.

They are very long snakes.

They live in the hot north part of Australia.

They eat rats, birds, lizards and small animals.

Australia has 30 different kinds of venomous (poisonous) snakes. The largest and most poisonous of them is the taipan (say tie-pan). It is in fact considered to be possibly the most venomous snake in the world.

The taipan grows to over 2.5 metres in length. There are two species, or kinds, of taipan. The more common one found in the far north of Australia, in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia where winter temperatures are above 18ºC.

The inland taipan (left) lives in a very remote part of Australia, in the centre, and is rarely seen, so little is known about it.

The taipan is a pale creamy colour on the head. The body is light brown, dark brown, copper or olive in colour.

The taipan has excellent senses of smell and eyesight. It quickly moves in on its prey, strikes fast, draws back and waits for the poison to work. As soon as the poison has worked, the snake eats the prey. Their preferred food is rats, and so taipans are often found in the Queensland cane fields where rats are plentiful. Taipans also eat birds, mice, lizards and small marsupials.

The female taipan lays 10-20 eggs after mating.

Taipans are the most intelligent, nervous and alert of the Australian venomous snakes. They generally stay away from humans, escaping before they are noticed. However, the taipan will defend itself fiercely if it is cornered or threatened, often delivering several bites.

Taipans are 'milked' of their venom by getting them to inject venom into a jar through a rubber cover. The venom is used to make medicine to help save people who are bitten by a taipan.

Like all snakes, the taipan has its place in the environment.
Snakes generally avoid people, rarely strike unless threatened, and should not be hunted out and killed.


If you use any of this information in your own work acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Taipan (2000). [Online], Available: www.kidcyber.com.au

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updated September 2007