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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Taipan Facts You'll Never Forget

Taipan facts are fascinating to read

If you are interested in venomous snakes, then these taipan snakes might just make you want to learn more! Taipan snakes are native to Australia and are a group of venomous snakes with three species: the inland taipan, coastal taipan, and the Central Ranges taipan. They live in semi-arid Australian regions and on the island of New Guinea.

Their venom is highly toxic and this venom is known to be strong enough to kill a fully-grown human in just 45 minutes. The inland taipan is known to be generally a gentle species, however, the coastal taipan can be aggressive. Either way, nobody would like to encounter them in the wild!

Taipans communicate with each other using pheromones to send chemical signals. Other snakes receive and intercept these signals with their vomeronasal gland. They live a solitary life, however, they do look forward to forming a breeding pair in breeding seasons. On average, 12-24 eggs are laid during one breeding season. Neonates are hatched after two or two and a half months.

To learn more, we have collected a set of interesting facts about this snake for you to read. You can also learn more about different wild animals and snakes by reading our black rat snake and coral snake facts.

Taipan Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a taipan?

Taipans are a group of three snakes including the inland taipan, the coastal taipan, the and Central Ranges taipan. They belong to the Oxyuranus genus and they are highly poisonous snakes.

What class of animal does a taipan belong to?

Taipan snakes belong to the Reptilia class of the Animalia kingdom and the genus Oxyuranus.

How many taipans are there in the world?

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, all three species of taipan have a stable population and are classified as Least Concern.

Where does a taipan live?

Taipan snakes are native to East Australia. They can be spotted throughout the different regions of Australia, including in Diamantina National Park, Queensland, Sturt Stony Desert, and more. The coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)  can be spotted in Papua New Guinea as well.

What is a taipan's habitat?

The inland taipan can utilize cracks and holes found in the ground in semi-arid desert regions. They live in these cracks, and also in the holes and burrows of mammals. If there is a cover, they can take shelter in rocky outcrops as well. The coastal taipan, also known as the eastern taipan, prefers the eastern side of the New Guinea island. They are unable to live in areas with a winter temperature below 68 F (20 C).

Who do taipans live with?

Taipan snakes live a solitary life. They prefer to live and hunt alone. However, during breeding seasons, they find a partner.

How long does a taipan live?

The average lifespan of taipan snakes is 10-15 years. There is one recorded instance where an inland taipan lived for 20 years in an Australian zoo!

How do they reproduce?

The inland taipan mates in the late winter. Male snakes often take part in fights with other males to keep competitors at bay. Their courtship ritual is similar to those of other snakes. The gestation period for the female is about two to three months long. After that, they lay 12-24 eggs. The eggs are laid in the abandoned burrows of other animals, and in deep cracks in the ground. It takes neonates about two to two and a half months to hatch out of these eggs. Neonates are around 18 in (45.7 cm) long when they hatch.

What is their conservation status?

Taipans are listed as a Least Concern species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Taipan Fun Facts

What do taipans look like?

The Inland taipan, depending on the season, can be beige, gray, light brown, and dark brown. They may have black-colored scales on their sides and tail. They don't have keels on their dorsal scales.

The Coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) has a narrow and long head. In general, they are reddish-brown or light olive. They can be brown or black as well. Unlike Inland taipans, they have lighter shades on the sides.

The coastal taipan is the largest elapid snake in Australia.

How cute are they?

Snakes can be pretty scary and, whilst taipans may look stunning, they are very venomous and a taipan snake bite is extremely dangerous.

How do they communicate?

Taipans communicate using pheromones as a medium. They can emit pheromones through their glands, and use them as a chemical signal. The signal may include pieces of information such as age, sex, territory, and more. Other snakes can receive these signals via their vomeronasal organ. We all also are aware of the famous hissing sounds of snakes. The glottis in their throat is responsible for this sound and they use it mainly as a defense technique to evade predators and humans.

How big is a taipan?

An average taipan is about 5-8.2 ft (1.5-2.4 m) in length. Their fangs are about 0.1-0.2 in (3.5-6.2 mm) long and the recorded length of the longest coastal taipan snake was 9.5 ft (2.9 m). Some biologists believe there might be coastal snakes with a length of 11 ft (3.3 m)! Even the fangs of a coastal taipan are larger than those of inland taipans. Taipans are nearly half the length of a python, the longest ever python snake was 31.5 ft (9.6 m) in length!

How fast can a taipan move?

A taipan can move at a speed of 12 mph (19 kph).

How much does a taipan weigh?

An average taipan is about 2.2-6.6 lb (1-3 kg) in weight. The heaviest ever coastal taipan weighed 14 lb (6.3 kg). Their weight mostly depends on their diet, and if they are fed a good amount of rodents, they can grow well and fast.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Snakes don't have any particular names for males and females.

What would you call a baby taipan?

A baby taipan is called a neonate or a snakelet.

What do they eat?

Like other snakes, they are carnivorous. The inland taipan, also known as the western taipan or 'fierce snake', is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. They chase and mercilessly corner their prey into soil cracks or burrows and rapidly bite them in multiple bursts whilst injecting their venom. They are fast and precise enough to bite eight times in just a couple of seconds. The venom makes its prey's body numb, as it is neurotoxic. An inland taipan bite is lethal enough to kill humans in just 45 minutes. Their diet includes small rodents, bandicoots, and chicks, and the long-haired rat is the favorite food of an inland taipan.

Are they aggressive?

In terms of aggressive behavior, the inland taipan and the coastal taipan are opposites. The inland taipan is quite reserved and shy and tends to avoid humans. On the other hand, the coastal taipan is quite aggressive. They show their aggression when they are cornered or threatened and taipan venom is highly toxic. Taipan bites can kill humans if proper medical attention is not provided in time. However, antivenoms have been developed to neutralize their venom.

Would they make a good pet?

Buying and selling venomous snakes is illegal in many states and countries and owners require a special permit to keep one. Therefore, check the laws of your state or country before you consider owning a venomous snake like a taipan. They are one of the most venomous snakes in the world so do not make a good pet.

Did you know...

Taipans are referenced in the world of gaming too! In 'GTA' games, there is a car called the Cheval Taipan.

The western taipan also goes by the name 'small-scaled snake'.

They are the most venomous snake of the Oxyuranus genus and one of the most venomous snakes in the world. There are only a few people in the world who have survived a taipans' bite! Their killer taipan venom is toxic enough to kill humans with ease. However, with proper treatment, death can be evaded from the bite of this venomous snake.

They possess one of the most useful adaptive abilities as they can alter their body color depending on the season. They switch to lighter shades in summer and a darker shade in winter.

Unlike other snake species, they have excellent eyesight and hearing abilities. It helps them to catch their prey with fierce speeds and amazing accuracy.

How many species of taipans are there?

A taipan is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. There are three species of taipans in this world: the inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), and the Central Ranges taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis).

The coastal taipan has two more subspecies under it: the Papuan taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus canni), which lives on the southern side of the island of Papua New Guinea, and the short scaled taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus). The short-scaled taipan is the longest of all venomous Australian snakes.

What is the largest Australian elapid?

The largest known Australian elapid is the coastal taipan. The longest one ever caught was 9.5 ft (2.9 m) in length.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including the copperhead snake, or the cottonmouth snake.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our taipan coloring pages.

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