New Guinea Taipan
Oxyuranus scutellatus canni


Quick Facts

New Guinea Taipan

Found:  Papua New Guinea

Size:  Up to 13 feet long
Diet:  rodents, small mammals, birds
Life Span:  Unknown
Status: Common

Taipan snake venom is one of the most potent of all known snake venoms.  The inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) possesses the most toxic venom of any snake in the world.  The New Guinea taipan has the highest venom yield and the longest fangs.  Taipans are capable of ferocious self-defense and may inflict multiple bites in rapid succession using a ‘snap and release’ strategy, where larger amounts of venom are injected with each subsequent bite.  Taipans also strike higher than other venomous species with bites occurring on the calves or even above the knee.  The two most important components of taipan venom are (1) an irreversible neurotoxin that destroys nerve endings, and (2) a powerful activator of a blood clotting factor (prothrombin), which leads to the non-coagulation of the blood seen in many taipan bite patients.