Kamis, 12 Februari 2009

Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), Dangerous Snake

The taipans are a genus of large, fast, highly venomous Australasian snakes.

There are three known species: the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), the less common inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) and a recently discovered third species, the Central Ranges taipan (Oxyuranus temporalis). The coastal taipan has two subspecies: the coastal taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus) and the Papuan taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus canni), found on southern coast of Papua New Guinea. Their diet consists primarily of small mammals, especially rats and bandicoots.

One species, the inland taipan (also known as the fierce snake and small-scaled snake), has the most toxic venom of any snake species worldwide, although it is not the most deadly. The venom clots the victims blood, blocking arteries or veins, and using up clotting factors. The taipan was named by Donald Thompson after the word used by the Wik-Mungkan Aboriginal people of central Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia.

Taipans can grow 6½ to 12 feet long (2 to 3.6 meters). The coastal taipan is usually pale to dark brown in color, fading to a lateral cream, although juveniles are lighter in color. The Papuan taipan is black or purplish-gray, with a copper-colored stripe on its back. They are often found in sugar fields due to an abundance of rats—their main food source. They feed upon these two or three times a week.

In several aspects of morphology, ecology and behavior, the coastal taipan is strongly convergent with an African elapid, Dendroaspis polylepis (the black mamba).

Description
The Coastal Taipan is a dangerous venomous snake that can bite repeatedly when cornered. It is light to dark brown above with paler sides. The underside is cream to yellow often with orange spots or flecks. The head is large and distinct, paler than the body, particularly on the snout. The iris is orange-brown.

Size
up to 2m long

Environment
found in variety of habitats, including the sugar cane growing areas of Queensland, where it thrives on introduced rats and mice

Food
small mammals such as rats, mice, bandicoots

Breeding
7-20 eggs are laid by this snake in summer. Hatchlings measure 28 - 50cm

Range
The Coastal Taipan is found along the coast and nearby areas of Queensland and far north NSW. It is also found in tropical parts of the Northern Territory, including Melville and Bathurst Islands, the West Kimberley’s of Western Australia,

Notes
The Coastal Taipan is one of the deadliest species of snakes in the world. It has large fangs and highly toxic venom. The poison from the bite causes headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and dizziness. Blurred vision follows, sometimes accompanied by convulsions and, in severe cases, coma. The poison is also a myotoxin - it eats away at muscle tissue. Kidney failure is a common complication in serious snake-bites and can cause death. The snake rarely attacks humans except in self-defense.

Classification
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata (Serpentes)
Family: Elapidae
Genus: Oxyuranus
Species: scutellatus
Common Name: Coastal Taipan

Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), Dangerous Snake Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Mel_anie

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