Coastal Taipan Snake Facts! Well, we are talking of snakes and not just any ordinary snake – we are talking of one of world’s most venomous snakes you can ever come across. These Coastal Taipans are a bit shy when it comes to showdown with an opponent in an open area. However, when it comes to a closed place with close-quarter combats, Coastal Taipans can be really deadly. Instead of slipping into a vanishing act as in case of an open arena, these snakes will opt for holding their ground and attacking in case of surprise and close encounters. Let us find out 30 interesting Coastal Taipan snake facts and learn about their distribution, habitat, behavior, anatomy and more…You ready?
Interesting Coastal Taipan Snake Facts: 1-10
1. Coastal Taipan is the common name. However, this snake is also known by two other common names – Eastern Taipan and Common Taipan.
2. The unusual name Taipan was actually given by Wik-mungkan people who inhabited the Cape York Peninsula of Australia.
3. The term Taipan was introduced for general use by Dr. Donald Thomson – an anthropologist. Dr. Thomson was the first person in this world to have captured a live Coastal Taipan and milk it. In case you are not aware, milking of a snake actually refers to the act of removal of venoms from a snake’s fangs.
4. These snakes are capable of growing up to 6.6 feet on average but there are specimens that are about 10 feet in length. They have a very robust body build up. However, one of the easiest ways to identify a Coastal Taipan is to look at its head and neck.
5. The neck of a Coastal Taipan is pretty slender compared to the head, which has a deep rectangular shape. In particular, the head has a shape similar to a coffin.
6. The color of Coastal Taipans varies. Some may be yellowish in color. Some may be nearly black and some may be reddish brown or sometimes dark brown.
7. Interestingly, Coastal Taipans actually undergo seasonal color changes. During the winter months they turn a slightly darker in hue while in the summer months, they take lighter hue.
8. The head again is a distinguishing body part here. The head of the snake is always paler compared to the body of the snake, especially in case of juveniles.
9. As the snake grows older, the head starts becoming darker in color. However, the head still remains slightly paler and especially, the snout is way paler than the body.
10. The dorsal fins of Coastal Taipans are pretty smooth but at times, the fins may be slightly keeled, particularly on the neck.
Interesting Coastal Taipan Snake Facts: 11-20
11. The underside or the ventral surface of Coastal Taipans are yellowish in color but can be even lighter in shade, narrowing down to almost cream in color. Orange blotches can be found scattered all over the ventral surface.
12. These snakes have very interesting eyes. They have round pupils and the iris have an intense orange-brown color. The eyes of a Coastal Taipan are pretty large.
13. Identification issues – sometimes Coastal Taipans are confused with elapids of brown color. It is very common to confuse a Coastal Taipan with the following snakes of elapid family:
- Pseudonaja textilis or the Eastern Brown Snake.
- P. nuchalis or the Western Brown Snake.
- Pseudechis australis or the Mulga Snake.
14. Compared to the Coastal Taipan, the Eastern Brown Snake, the Western Brown Snake and the Mulga Snake have thicker necks and smaller heads. Even their snout is either of the same color as the body or darker in shade.
15. There are two subspecies of the Coastal Taipan. They are the Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus and the Oxyuranus scutellatus canni.
16. Coastal Taipans are found only in New Guinea Island and Australia. The Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus is found along the arc formed from eastern coast of northeastern New South Wales, running all the way through Queensland. They spread out to northern areas of Northern Territory and all the way to north-western side of Western Australia.
17. The Oxyuranus scutellatus canni on the other hand is found all across New Guinea Island, especially along the southern side of the island. The maximum concentration of this sub-species of Coastal Taipan is in Papua New Guinea.
18. Do remember that in places where the winter temperature can drop below 20°C, Coastal Taipans do not live in those places.
19. Though the Coastal Taipans are known for staying active all throughout the year, their activities increase more during spring and late winter. That is when the possibility of encountering these snakes is highest.
20. Most preferred habitats of Coastal Taipans are coastal regions that have tropical or temperate weather and are wetter. However, they also prefer woodlands, dry and wet sclerophyll forests.
Interesting Coastal Taipan Snake Facts: 21-30
21. They can also be found the grassy areas that are artificial or natural such as cane fields, disused rubbish tips, grazing paddocks. These areas are selected by these snakes because they can find rats in abundance.
22. Yet another favored habitat of these snakes is introduced lantana thickets. They are usually found taking shelter in abandoned litter, vegetation piles, hollow logs and animal burrows etc.
23. Most interesting of all the Coastal Taipan Snake facts is that it has a very interesting feeding habit. It is very selective about its diet. When it comes to food, this snake will eat only warm-blooded animals like birds, rats, mice and bandicoots. In captivity however, Coastal Taipans are known to feed even on skinks.
24. Coastal Taipans are known for actively scanning for possible food. They mostly make use of their eyesight, which is very well-developed.
25. These snakes are known for travelling with their heads held high above the ground so that scanning for prey becomes easy. Once a prey is spotted at a striking distance, they will actually freeze for some time.
26. After a few moments of freezing, the Coastal Taipan will then hurl forward and deliver one or multiple lethal bites at lightning fast speed.
27. Most interesting of Coastal Taipan snake facts is its hunting strategy. Unlike many other snakes, the Coastal Taipan will not grab the prey immediately after delivering a poisonous bite. It will rather allow the prey to stagger away.
28. The reason why this strategy is adopted is that some mammals like rats have long incisors which can be effectively used for retaliation. Under such circumstances, the snake can get hurt pretty badly. By allowing the prey to stagger away, the snake avoids any such possibility.
29. The bitten prey then collapses because of the poison. However, by the time the poison plays its dirty trick, the prey may actually manage to move to a different location, which might be at significant distance from the point where it was bitten.
30. Coastal Taipan will then start tracking the prey using its scent. The snake will make use of its flickering tongue to capture the scent and finally reach the collapsed prey. Once found, the snake will peacefully devour the prey.