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Coastal Taipan

Oxyuranus scutellatus

Highly Venomous

Other common names: Taipan

Coastal Taipan
Coastal taipan profile pic of head

Species Profile

Coastal Taipan

  • Significance to Humans

    Highly Venomous

    The Coastal Taipan is a highly dangerous snake, and its bites have resulted in human fatalities. It is nervous and quick to strike when threatened, often earning the reputation of Australia’s most dangerous snake. Immediate treatment and correct first aid are crucial in the event of a bite from this species.

  • General Description

    The Coastal Taipan has a long head with a distinct angular brow. Its snout and face are generally paler than its body colour, which ranges from pale brown to almost black along the upper body. The belly is cream with orange spots and blotches. Midbody scales at 21-25 rows.

  • Average Length

    On average, up to 2 metres in length, but rare individuals have been recorded to reach nearly 3 metres in total length.

  • Habitat in SE Qld

    Can be found in dry open forests, grassy woodlands, and cane-fields.

  • General habits

    The Coastal Taipan is mostly active during the day, particularly on warm and hot mornings. It has also been recorded to be active on roads at night. This snake is secretive and highly alert, making it rarely seen even in areas where it may be relatively common.

  • Diet

    Specialises in preying on mammals such as mice, rats, and bandicoots.

  • Local distribution

    Within the Greater Brisbane region, sightings of the Taipan are uncommon. Most records within the last 30 years have been of road-killed specimens. Recent localities include the Samford Valley, the lowlands west of Mt Glorious, Beaudesert, Borallon, north-west of Ipswich. A significant find by Snake Catchers Brisbane was a Taipan discovered in Pullenvale, west of Brisbane, which represents the closest reliable record to the Brisbane CBD and the first in Brisbane’s western suburbs.

  • Around the home

    The discovery of a Coastal Taipan around a home in South East Queensland is an extremely rare occurrence. Over the past 20 years, licensed snake catchers across the known distribution of the species have not encountered a single specimen within a residential property. However, the recent discovery of a specimen in Pullenvale by Snake Catchers Brisbane in December 2011 constitutes the first reliable record by a snake catcher for the South East Queensland region. Caution should be exercised in areas known to have Coastal Taipan populations, and professional assistance should be sought for any snake encounters to ensure safety and appropriate handling.

Coastal Taipan Gallery

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