Inland Taipan : One of the most dangerous snakes in the world
You have before you the holder of the most powerful venom in the world, but you have nothing to fear because he hasn't killed anyone! Here are a few questions that you might ask yourself and that we will try to answer!
- Why has this species developed such a powerful venom?
- Why are these snakes so rarely encountered by most Australians?
- Why Taipan is the most dangerous snake in the world?
- What are the first steps to take in case of a bite?
This blog will make you an expert on Taipan snakes, you will know everything you need to know.
Here is a collection that may interest you: Snake Rings
WHO IS THE DESERT TAIPAN?
Being part of the Elapidae family, the Taipan has a venomous but above all, it has fixed fangs to allow a harder fixation on its prey. People often think that it is the most venomous snake on our planet but this is not the case for the inner taipan unlike its "cousin" the coastal taipan which knows no mercy when it comes to killing its prey 🔥. But it is necessary to know that this reptile is so far away from human habitations that it is not in any case confronted with the presence of humans.
THE SCALE OF THE DESERT TAIPAN
If you want to know how to identify a snake you just have to look at the number of scales in the middle of its body but also their shapes on the head and tail. Some have a rather peculiar body shape, and some scale patterns are unique, but in general, the color is very variable. The scales on the belly are cream to pale yellow, with a darker back edge.
On the rare occasions you encounter a snake in the Australian bush 🏞, what you usually see is an anonymous flash of dark scales, when the tail disappears under the nearest pile of leaves or in a hollow trunk. Most likely when you see a snake in Australia it is to see a shadow that you have been able to detail as a few scales before you see the rear part of the snake go through a bush.
But this blog is not just about understanding this creature. But it's also the acquisition of a certain science that will allow you to be ready for any eventuality with these snakes in your area.
The head of the Inner Taipan is not distinct from the neck, as is the case on the Coastal Taipan🌴. The body is aerodynamic. The scales on the back vary from one individual to another, ranging from light brown to rich olive-brown or even black. There are seasonal variations in color, many snakes become darker during the winter months. Many scales have darker edges forming indistinct bands, especially towards the tail. The head can be black. The iris is very dark brown.
LENGTH OF THE TAIPAN
Normally their length is around 2 meters but the maximum recorded size is 2.7 meters. But it should be noted that the Coastal is a little larger than the Inland. When incited to defend itself, the inner taipan flattens its body into low S-shaped curves with its head pointing straight toward the perceived threat. Most often, if approached, it takes refuge in a shelter.
WHERE THE TAIPAN LIVES?
The good news is what? Taipan abides in an area that begins in the far west of New South Wales at the northeast corner of South Australia and the southeast of the Northern Territory. This means areas where the population is smaller and even almost non-existent. In order to survive in such extreme situations, the snakes hide their prey 🐭 under the ground or in cracks in rocks or pits.
WHAT DOES THE TAIPAN EAT?
In the Australian lands Taipan feeds on very different species, we have rodents, mammals, and birds. But the favorite of the snakes is the long-haired rat. This species of snake is used to hunt during the daytime avoiding also hot days by becoming rather nocturnal. The Taipan will push its prey to an enclosed area where the snake can bite without any problem and allow the venom to act without any problem. To know this venom acts so fast that the rat has no possibility to react.
Plague rat populations fluctuate considerably from year to year. The indoor taiga adapts to these variations by becoming quite large in years of abundance and losing weight or changing prey in years when plague rats are scarce. Alternative prey includes small and medium-sized mammals such as the Kultarr (a small carnivorous marsupial) and the introduced house mouse.🐁
THE ATTACK OF THE DESERT TAIPAN
The fish will use two senses to detect their prey: smell and kinetics. But also their eyesight has nothing to envy to other snakes. Their tongue allows them to detect the signal that will pass through the Jacobson's organ to the brain 🧠.
The snake is then confronted with its prey, usually a large rat, which can often be much larger in diameter than its own body. Snakes cannot tear their food apart, so they must swallow their victim whole. This is a great phenomenon! Imagine how difficult it would be for you and me to swallow a whole melon without chewing it into small pieces 😨!
Snakes have amazing abilities to swallow their prey :
THE SNAKE'S JAW
To start the snakes will align themselves with the largest axis of their prey to be able to swallow them with a certain ease and will also avoid going against the coat.
The secret lies in the jaw. The two halves are glued together with flexible ligaments and muscles that allow an incredible increase in mouth diameter. Usually, people think that the jaw is loose but it's not quite that, the lower part of the jaw is so flexible that it can adapt perfectly to the size of the prey 😮. The mobility of the food resides in movements from left to right to move the prey deeper and deeper into the throat. The saliva secreted during this movement will be used as a lubricant.
HOW DOES THE SNAKE EAT ITS PREY?
Snakes have particular anatomy that allows them to adapt to the size of the prey. The ribs 🦴 are not attached to a sternum, unlike many species. The elasticity of the skin of this reptile also allows it to stretch and allows the increase of the diameter of the Taipan.
The Taipan will take several hours to swallow its prey, that's why it will put itself under the sun to maintain the temperature necessary for the digestion of food 🍖. Another help will be the venom that has been injected to the snake which thanks to its numerous enzymes will allow it to digest the animal more easily. The ability to swallow very large amounts of food means that a large snake does not need to expend energy for frequent hunting activities. It may only need to eat a few meals a year.
One of the most important specificities of this snake is its habitat far from human beings. The habitat is so remote that the information about this snake is limited to a few studies about Taipan in captivity. So we might discover a lot more about this species.
Spring as you know is the mating season for many species. Inland and coastal Taipan will face a period of ritual fighting. In which two males will fight over who to mate with the female. The fight ends when the strongest male beats the other male and crushes his head 💪. If the connection between the female and the male is good, then he will twist his chin and insert one of the genitals (he has two). This mating can last several hours but may not be the only one for the female.
THE EGGS OF THE TAIPAN
It takes only two months for the female to lay between 16 and 20 eggs. The older ones can be much more efficient than the younger ones thanks to their experience. Taipan eggs have an elongated shape, with a hard, permeable shell. Important information is the lack of repetition related to reproduction for the females, they will avoid reproducing every year because of the high energy demand but also the risks related to reproduction.
The hatching of the eggs takes place 2 months later and the female will abandon the nest directly. For this species, the young grow very quickly if you give them the right conditions. Males and females do not have a big difference in size, they reach maturity after 16 to 28 months. Captive snakes generally live 10 to 15 years. A taipan from the Australian zoo lived until the age of 20 years!
WHAT IS THE MOST DEADLY VENOM?
DESERT TAIPAN VENOM
The snake venom ☠ that we will tell you about on this blog belongs to the Taipan snake and it is the most powerful venom on earth 50 times stronger than the Indian cobra. This venom is a mixture of many molecules. We have enzymes, molecules that allow the paralysis of nerve endings but also the destruction of muscle cells causing great blood loss.
In the 1970s at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory (CSL) in Melbourne, the criteria for the dangerousness of venom were chosen. We searched for the minimum dose of venom that would kill 50% of the rat population: LD50 (or lethal dose 50). So the smaller this number is, the more powerful the venom is. Taipan has an LD50 of 0.025mg/kg which means that 250,000 mice 🐁 would have died just from one bite.
DESERT TAIPAN BITE
It is difficult to characterize the danger of a bite only by a criterion. There are several notions that take into accounts, such as the quantity of venom injected, the length of the fangs, the sensitivity of the victim to the toxin, and the probability of being bitten.
The Inland Taipan has shorter fangs and injects less venom per bite than the Coastal Taipan. But also a very important characteristic is its shyness and loneliness so the probability of such a snake coming into contact with a human is very low. They prefer to stay in their corners and not disturb their surroundings.
No deaths have been recorded coming from them. However, the only bites have been on snake handlers or forest rangers. Unlike cobras or vipers, which as a species will cause tens of thousands of deaths every year all around our planet 🌍.
DESERT TAIPAN VS. BLACK MAMBA
There is no doubt that Taipan venom is the most powerful of all venoms against rodents, especially mice. On the other hand, the black mamba wins by the time, it is extremely fast.
The problem with the Taipan venom is its action, in fact, it interacts with the blood too slowly which would do no harm to the big black mamba. On the contrary, the venom of the black mamba is designed to kill larger creatures such as birds whose ancestors are dinosaurs 🦎, so be very careful!
TAIPAN VS MAMBA
It should be known that these two snakes have really different weapons, they have advantages as well as disadvantages. But their size allows us to expect a real fight because their size is quite similar.
So who would win?
Even if we would like to talk about venom, given their hyper-powerful venom. But the reality is quite different, the size is much more important than the venom. So the biggest snake would always win the fight, so the anaconda is the lucky winner.
This species of reptile is very impressive in its way of thinking because it will never try to attack an animal 🍗 bigger than it in any case.
FIRST AID IN CASE OF SNAKEBITE
During a bite, the venom should not be spread systemically, so anyone in the Australian bush should wear large elastic pressure bandages and ask for medical help:
Immediately call a doctor 👨⚕️.
Here are a few tips you might remember from a snake bite:
- Reassure the victim and keep them calm.
- Avoid any movement, muscle contraction should be reduced to a minimum.
- Do not cut or wash the bite area.
- Wrap the site with the pressure bandage (or another fabric bandage).
- Wrap the bitten limb starting from the extremities and working your way up to the bite. This prevents the venom from spreading into the lymphatic system.
WRAP THE BITE OF THE TAIPAN
The priority will be to immobilize it to allow as little movement as possible. To immobilize the member in question with a splint. And your second responsibility will be to find a hospital. In Australia all hospitals have anti-venom. They can even identify it without the risk of going looking for the snake and therefore know the species in question, they often have antigen samples with which they make the person's antibodies react.