The Inland Taipan, Oxyuranus microlepidotus, also called the Fierce or Small-scaled Snake, is a large rich brown or olive brown snake. It has 23 rows of mid-body scales, a single anal scale and 55-70 divided subcaudal scales. It may exceed 2 metres in total length.
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd
Distribution and habitat
The only Victorian specimens were collected near the junction of the Murray and Darling rivers in 1857. It lives in areas of cracking soils of river overflows, flood plains or on gibber plains.
Biology and bite
Active by day, the Inland Taipan feeds on small mammals. Females lay 12-20 eggs in a clutch.
The Inland Taipan is extremely venomous, possessing the most potent venom of any snake. However, humans rarely come into contact with this snake and no one has died as a result of a bite. If bitten on a limb, apply a pressure bandage, immobilise the limb and seek medical advice immediately. If bitten elsewhere, apply continual direct pressure to the bite site. Do not wash the wound as the venom can confirm the identification of the snake.
Coventry, A. J. and Robertson, P. 1991. The Snakes of Victoria – A Guide to their Identification. Department of Conservation & Environment/Museum of Victoria.
Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books.
Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.