Coastal Taipan Facts!
The coastal taipan is the world’s third-most toxic land snake and Australia’s largest venomous snake, growing up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) long. It rarely attacks humans, however, preferring instead to flee. But if it is cornered and can’t flee, it can be very aggressive. Its coloration is usually light olive to dark russet brown, which helps it blend into the forests, grassy beach dunes and cane fields where it lives.
The taipan feeds on small mammals and birds. It hunts for prey with its head slightly raised off the ground, scanning the surroundings with its keen eyesight. When prey is spotted, the snake pauses momentarily, then hurls forward and stabs the prey several times. Young taipans may hold on to prey until they can eat it. Adults, however, allow wounded prey to stagger away while the venom starts to take action, then follow the victim’s scent to find where it has collapsed. This hunting technique ensures that the taipan is not harmed by prey trying to strike back — for example, rats can cause mortal damage with their claws and teeth.
Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus s. scutellatus)
Footage from Kentucky reptile zoo of the Coastal Taipan being milked for its venom.