Taipans live in humid or dry tropical forests and savannas in Australia. They can exceed 3 meters in length, and not at risk according to the IUCN list. In Australia there are three species: the common taipan, the less common indoor taipan, and the Oxyuranus temporalis, discovered in Australia in 2007.
The common taipan is divided into two subspecies, the coastal continental taipan and the Papuan taipan which is native to the southern coast of Papua New Guinea. Their diet primarily consists of small rodents, especially rats and bandicoots.
The coastal Taipan is usually dark brown in color, fading to a lateral cream color, although when young they are light in color. The Papuan taipan is black or purplish-gray, with a copper-colored stripe on the back. They are easily found in sugar cane fields due to the abundance of rats, their main food source.
The indoor taipan is believed to be the most venomous land snake in the world. With an LD50 of 0.025 mg / kg, it is approximately 7 times more venomous than a Mojave rattlesnake and 50 times more venomous than a common cobra.
The venom from a single bite of the inland taipan is likely to be powerful enough to kill around 250,000 mice, the equivalent of 100 humans or 2 male elephants. This species generally lives in non-densely populated areas. Like many snakes, outback taipans are generally shy and do not usually bite unless they are feeling threatened or are in their breeding season when they can get very aggressive.
No fatalities have been attributed to this species, and all known bites have been related to people holding them in captivity or actively searching for them outdoors. The common taipan is the third most venomous snake on Earth.
The danger brought by the coastal taipan was brought to public awareness in Australia in 1950, when the young herpetologist Kevin Budden was fatally bitten in an attempt to extract the first available sample of venom for an antidote.
However, the anti-poison treatment is extremely effective if done promptly, when the damage of the various toxins is still limited.