couldn't help myself and made the page anyway, because the snake is so notoriously poisonous.
is also called firece
small scaled snake, and it is the
most poisonous snake in Australia, as well as the most
poisonous snake in the world.
Ironically, then, it is also one
of the shyest and does everything it can to get out of
your way, not even eager to bite when provoked (it finally will).
What Does It Look Like?
It is a dark
with colouration varying from black
seasonal adaptation of changing its colour to lighter during the hotter, and darker during the cooler months.
The longest reported specimen was 2.5 metres however a more common
length is about 1.7
The head and neck are
often darker than the rest of the body, allowing the snake
to heat itself with only head exposed (the same adaptation as the
Inland taipan can look similar to eastern brown snake and western brown
Where Is It Found?
The inland taipan is not found in Cape York
(I just wanted to include this snake as it is the most poisonous in
Australia as well as in the world. We do have the coastal taipan).
Like its name says, it
is found in the inland, more exactly in south western
Queensland, south eastern Northern Territory, and north eastern South
It is particularly known to be found in black soil areas
where the borders of the three states meet.
It is also known to be associated with soil cracks and rock crevices where it hides
as there is not much vegetation in its range.
It can also live in burrows
of other animals.
They are not very easy
to come across as they don't spend a lot of time above the
ground during the day time.
In cooler months they show a bit more surface activity,
but during the hot months they are only active in early mornings and
stay under the ground the rest of the day.
Diet and Hunting
diet of the inland taipan is small
mainly rodents and dasyurids.
Prey is commonly cornered in a soil crack or burrow, and then striked,
with multiple bites
(most other Australian poisonous
snakes only deliver one).
The extremely toxic venom
kills the small prey instantly.
The numbers of inland taipans fluctuate with prey numbers - in good
years with lots of rain and lots of food there are lots of them, while
during drought years and diminishing prey numbers the inland taipans
Mating and Breeding
can fight, the mating
occurs in the end of
winter (our Dry Season), and the female lays a clutch of
about 10-20 eggs
a few months later, in a soil crack or abandoned burrow.
The eggs take about 10 weeks before they hatch and the newly born hatclings are almost
half a metre long.
Bite, Venom and Treatment
its more aggressive cousin the coastal
taipan, the inland taipan is a shy snake and will
do its best to get out of your way.
However, if cornered,
it does come to the point where it defends
itself like any other animal would do.
First it makes a warning
signal, holding itself in S-shape while stearing at the
If that is ignored it strikes, and unlike most other Australian
venomous snakes, it can deliver multiple
is more venomous
than any other snake's in the world, by far.
It mainly consists of neurotoxins,
and the symptoms
The good news is, the
world's most toxic snake is far from the most deadly.
No human fatalities
have occured thanks to antivenom.
Taipan is the largest venomous snake in Australia.
It is a
bit less venomous
its cousin the
inland taipan, but it is more
aggressive, and unlike the inland taipan it is found in
Also unlike the inland species the coastal one has been recorded killing people,
as recently as in November 2012 (and probably later by the time you
read this), when the Ergon Energy worker Andrew Vaughan was bitten
working with a backhoe operator in dense Lantana bush - one of the
snake's favourite habitats.
What Does It Look Like?
It is a large snake - the
largest poisonous snake in
individuals have been
recorded, however one and a half to two metre specimens are much more
The body is
It is most often olive to reddish brown,
but may also be grey or almost black.
The sides of the body
in colour, and the belly
cream, yellowish or light grey, sometimes with pink or orange dots.
particularly the snout,
is lighter in colour
than the body -
many other snakes have darker head instead.
Another distinguishing characteristic is the relatively big head,
rectangular shaped as
opposed to the neck.
Like some other snakes, coastal taipans have the seasonal change of
during the hotter, and darker colouring during the cooler months
It can be confused with a
poisonous snakes, such as Eastern Brown, Western Brown,
Where Is It Found?
found in the southern
Papua New Guinea and the coastal
regions of eastern and northern Australia, which include
the whole Cape York
(also the whole Top End of Northern Territory and almost the whole
Kimberley region, elsewhere narrower coastal regions between Derby in
the west and about the Queensland-New South Wales border in the east).
Its distrubution covers the area where Australia's wettest and hottest climate
overlap (south of
the Kimberleys is too dry, south of northern NSW it's too cool).
It lives in many different habitats
such as moonsoon forest, open and closed forest, heath and open
woodland (the latter particularly in Cape York).
known to be seen at unused rubbish
tips, in grazing paddocks and lantana
thickets, and particularly in sugar
cane fields where it feeds on small rodents.
Like many other snakes it shelters in hollow
logs and abandoned animal
When Is It Around?
They are active all the year around,
common to see during the late Dry Season (about August to November).
They are mostly active
(particularly early to mid mornings and early evenings) but may become
nocturnal during the hottest part of the year.
Diet and Hunting
taipans eat small mammals,
as their venom is
adapted to warm
it moves around
with its head raised, using eyesight to look for prey.
When it sees a small rodent, quoll or bandicoot,
it first freezes and then moves quickly forward, delivering multiple
Its toxin collapses the prey's nervous system so it cannot move, and
makes its blood really thin so it bleeds to death.
Unlike the inland taipan, the coastal
taipan releases the prey once injected (to avoid the injuries from the fight), then tracks
it down once it's dead.
Mating can occur all
year around but
peaks in late Dry Season (August - September).
and male combat
have been reported.
Two-three months after mating the female lays 7-20 large, soft shelled eggs
hollow log, cavities in the ground or under tree roots.
The eggs take between two and three months to hatch, depending on
are almost half
a metre long and ready to take off on their own. Young
taipan snakes are eaten by goannas
birds of prey. The only enemies of the adults are humans.
Bite, Venom and Treatment
taipan does not
usually attack a human unless threatened, however it is known as one of the more nervous snakes.
If it has the space it will most likely escape, but if you corner it
(which may well
happen uninentionally if you don't know the snake is near you), it will
(without any warning or after
stance, with its forebody and head raised).
taipan is the kind of snake that gives multiple
and they are efficient and accurate. Some studies have shown that their
second and third bite are just as venomous as the first one.
Their venom contains different kinds of neurotoxins, that collapse
nervous system (paralysis
you cannot move) and blood's ability to clot (internal bleeding).
kick in quickly
and include vomiting, nausea, headache, kidney damage, destruction of muscle tissue
Death can be quick
(as soon as
after 30-90 minutes),
application of first aid and seeking of medical attention has to be
immediate. Untreated bites have
mortality rate, which was also the case before the
introduced in 1956 (after the first aid you need to get to the hospital
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my partner
Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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This site uses British
English, which is the English we use in
best efforts have been made to ensure that all the information on this
website is correct, this site is not to be blamed should there be a
My full time project of 2020-21 is to improve every single page on this website with more information and more, better photos. With almost 300 pages and so many photos to go through, it is very time consuming work, but it is gradually happening, right now :-)
This is the ORIGINAL Cape York Travel Guide run Locally on the Peninsula.