posted 04 Jul 2012, 14:44
The Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus), also known as the Small Scaled Snake and Fierce Snake, is native to Australia and is regarded as the most venomous land snake in the world based on LD50 values in mice.It is a species of taipan belonging to the Elapidae family. Although highly venomous, it is very shy and reclusive, and always prefers to escape from trouble (the word "fierce" from its alternate name describes its venom, not its temperament).
The Inland Taipan is dark tan, ranging from a rich, dark hue to a brownish olive-green, depending on season. Its back, sides and tail may be different shades of brown and grey, with many scales having a wide blackish edge. The round-snouted head and neck are usually noticeably darker than the body (glossy black in winter, dark brown in summer), the darker colour allowing the snake to heat itself while only exposing a smaller portion of the body at the burrow entrance. The eye is of average size with a blackish brown iris and without a noticeable coloured rim around the pupil. It has twenty-three rows of mid-body scales, between fifty-five and seventy divided subcaudal scales, and one anal scale. The Inland Taipan averages approximately 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) in length, although larger specimens can reach lengths of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft).
The Inland Taipan consumes mostly rodents, small mammals and birds. Unlike other venomous snakes that strike with a single accurate bite then retreat while waiting for the prey to die, the Inland Taipan is known to deliver up to eight venomous bites in a single attack.
The Inland Taipan's venom consists of Taipoxin and protease enzymes, the average quantity of venom delivered by this species is 44 mg and the maximum dose recorded is 110 mg. The median lethal dose (LD50) for mice is 2 μg/kg (ppb) for pure Taipoxin and 30 μg/kg (ppb) for the natural venom mixture. Its venom consists mostly of neurotoxins. As of late 2003, all positively identified inland taipan bite victims have been herpetologists handling the snakes for study, and all have been treated successfully with antivenom—no incidents have been fatal.
[P.S.-No P.S this time]