Coastal Taipan

Snakes of South East Queensland

Coastal Taipan

Oxyuranus scutellatus
Other common names: Taipan
Coastal Taipan

Species Profile

Significance to Humans:

Highly Venomous
Bites from this species have caused human fatalities. A nervous, ready biter it will defend itself with multiple strikes if threatened. Often referred to as Australia’s most dangerous snake. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.

General description:

Head long with distinct angular brow. Snout and face generally paler than body colour, otherwise uniform colouring along upper body ranging from pale brown to almost black. Belly cream with orange spots and blotches. Midbody scale rows at 21-25 rows.

Average Length:

Average up to 2 metres, but although rare, individuals have been recorded to nearly 3 metres in total length.

Habitat in SE Qld:

Dry open forest, grassy woodlands and cane-fields.

General habits:

Mostly active during the day, especially warm and hot mornings. Also recorded active on roads at night. Secretive, highly alert snake that is rarely seen even in areas where they are apparently common.


Specialises in mammals like mice, rats and bandicoots.

Local distribution:

The Taipan is uncommonly sighted throughout the Greater Brisbane region with the majority of records within the last 30 years being of road killed specimens. Recent localities include the Samford Valley, the lowlands west of Mt Glorious, Beaudesert and Borallon, North West of Ipswich. Snake catchers Brisbane recently recorded a Taipan in Pullenvale, west of Brisbane. This specimen is the closest ever recorded to the Brisbane CBD and is the first to ever be recorded in Brisbanes western suburbs.

Around the home:

The discovery of a Taipan around the home would be considered an extremely rare occurrence within South East Qld. Correspondence with licensed snake relocators across the known distribution of the species have not accounted for a single specimen within a residential property over the past 20 years. However the recent discovery of a specimen at Pullenvale by Snake Catchers Brisbane in December 2011 constitutes the first reliable record by a snake catcher for the South East.

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