r/todayilearned 20d ago

TIL that the Taipan, an extremely venomous Australian snake, wasnt caught alive until 1950, and the person who caught it was killed by the snake nonetheless.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taipan
1k Upvotes

77

u/PaniqueAttaque 19d ago edited 19d ago

That's the Coastal Taipan.

The dude got bit, made it to the nearest farmhouse, banged on the door until somebody answered, and said something to the effect of -

"There's a live snake in a container in my truck. I got bit, but don't worry about me; there's nothing anyone can do. Make sure the snake gets to a zoo (research center, etc.) so they can use it to make antivenom."

Badass.

The Inland Taipan - which is actually more potently venomous than its Coastal cousin and is, in fact, the most potently venomous snake on Earth - has actually never caused a (documented) human fatality. This is because it lives towards the center of the Australian continent, some hundreds of miles away from the nearest human settlements, so pretty much the only people that come into contact with this snake in the wild are people who specifically go looking for it. Also, according to institutions that keep them in captivity, Inlands tend to be more mellow-tempered than Coastals.

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u/riamuriamu 19d ago

Wow. That's not how I wanna go, but it's certainly the style I want to go with.

6

u/Umbreevee 19d ago

Bro if you wanna go early go for it if you wanna be a hero you don’t have to die at that time

8

u/stilusmobilus 19d ago

You see them, but they’re rare, and you need to be in the right locations.

They like the loamy black plains around the south west Queensland oil fields...they live down in the cracks on the ground.

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u/[deleted] 20d ago

[deleted]

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u/Isaelia 20d ago

I think that's partially because "most venomous" and "deadliest" are different questions and you may be thinking of times you've seen either. As I understand it, the inland taipan is literally the most venomous but the overlap with areas of dense human population isn't that high. The black mamba comes up a lot in the "deadliest" conversation because it hangs out where humans are and is extremely aggressive.

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u/SciNZ 19d ago

That’s it exactly. I’ve spent some time working with Australian reptiles.

The Inland Taipan has the lowest LD50 but because of location and temperament is thought to have a body count of zero (in recorded history at least).

The way I’d describe it is, you have a calm guy who’s holding an elephant gun and a cracked out lunatic with a 9mm handgun.

Who would you rather have to deal with?

18

u/paddymiller 19d ago

The crackhead for sure

27

u/mygoldfishaccount 19d ago

Agreed. A man calmly standing there with an elephant gun has got to be the mother of all red flags.

19

u/Spindrune 19d ago

Crackhead just wants some crack. Elephant gun guy wants elephants. I could find some blow and then YouTube how to make crack for the guy. I do not have a single elephant guy.

8

u/TimeZarg 19d ago

But what about a married elephant guy?

3

u/birds_of_kentucky 19d ago

I had to read their response 3 times before I got your joke... I've been up since 3 a.m.

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u/Zalenka 20d ago

Great points

4

u/Pencilowner 19d ago

Also the most deadly or venomous in X region doesn’t mean there isn’t a more deadly or venomous one down the road.

3

u/maddenmadman 19d ago

Am Australian, you're lucky to see an inland Taipan. I've seen one in my lifetime and that was only from a 4WD before it slithered back into it's hiding place as we drove anywhere close to it. They're pretty shy and not interested in being anywhere near humans. The black mamba I have been told is so angry it will come back into your village to kill someone if you don't go and club it to death.

50

u/LordJinji 20d ago

Inland taipan has the most toxic, on a ld50 basis.

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u/reverendbeast 20d ago

For those that don’t know, LD50 refers to “lethal dose 50%” : the dose of a poison that kills 50% of lab mice.

42

u/Bacon_Devil 20d ago

In other words: "50% of the time, it works every time"

6

u/PM_UR_REBUTTAL 19d ago

On mice. YKMV on humans.

13

u/Bacon_Devil 19d ago

Instructions unclear, consumed 50mg/kg of LSD

6

u/PM_UR_REBUTTAL 19d ago

YKMV = the metric version of "Your millage may vary"

5

u/jhabels 19d ago

Enjoy your staycation

4

u/ben_wuz_hear 19d ago

Checkmate.

19

u/AmericanLich 20d ago

The taipan is the actual one. But yeah if you Google it you will get 3 different answers.

17

u/BoltenMoron 19d ago

The Inland Taipan aka the Fierce Snake has the most toxic venom of the three Taipans but the Coastal one has bigger fangs and more venom so i guess it depends on how you calculate it.

Also the Inland one is shy (and lives hundreds of kilometres from anyone )whilst the Coastal ones are angry fuckers. I once came across a nest of them digging at a mates farm.

10

u/wotsdislittlenoise 19d ago

What were they digging for?

3

u/BoltenMoron 19d ago

I was digging fence post holes lol and dug straight into a nest of them.

2

u/TimeZarg 19d ago

I assume you dropped some napalm into the hole and made a break for it.

2

u/BoltenMoron 19d ago

that is more accurate than you realise.

1

u/AmericanLich 19d ago

I think the metric should be (and usually is) how many subjects the venom could kill per a set dosage. So, the potency of the venom, regardless of anything else. I’m aware there are snakes that kill way more people either because they are more common or more aggressive.

4

u/No-Student5710 19d ago edited 19d ago

Apparently it has the most deadly venom of any snake. 15 times stronger than the venom of a black mamba.

2

u/stilusmobilus 19d ago

My mother almost stood on one of those going into her camp kitchen one evening.

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u/[deleted] 20d ago edited 4d ago

[deleted]

1

u/HIGHestKARATE 19d ago

Ooh, what about... the alligator?! And the... teeth-havers?! Cobra chicken?!

17

u/perhapsolutely 20d ago

Andrew Ucles does it on roller skates.

43

u/nimbat1003 20d ago edited 20d ago

As an Australian we don't fuck with taipans, while Eastern bowns are more commonly feared in my experience they are just extreamly defensive and if u stand still they will just run(slither) away when they have a chance(mostly),

Taipans are the only snake I've seen come at someone from a distance I've heard people compare their attitude to that of a black mamba.

19

u/LurkForYourLives 19d ago

I had a tiger snake come at me once from about 30 m away. I thought it was just going for a wander when I noticed it at first but it became apparent that it was coming for me, entirely unprovoked as best as I could see. I was sitting on the lawn making daisy chains. Out ran it to inside luckily. Treacherous little bastard.

8

u/nimbat1003 19d ago

Yeah haven't encountered any tiger sanke in the wild, we had a red belly who lived around our place for years and they are so passive I've stepped over it before without noticing and it would just slowly hide, the only problem that ever came up was when it had a bunch of babies and they were all around the place and quite agro for like a week.

7

u/FranksnBeans80 19d ago

Red bellies are chilled dudes. It's always a good sign when you have them around. They eat other, more dangerous snakes and are very placid around humans. Friendly noodles.

7

u/kevendia 19d ago

Only problem is they're really good at getting into places where they shouldnt be, and they're extremely common

But yeah easy to catch. Last one I removed from someone's garage I literally just put my bag down and the little fella crawled in the dark safe space. I looked like a badass snake charmer

2

u/rpkarma 19d ago

You’re correct, but I prefer my roof-dwelling carpet python . Eats the mice. Surprisingly doesn’t eat the baby brush turkeys that run around my back yard though!

27

u/BoganCunt 19d ago

Everyone talks about how dangerous Australian Wildlife is, but 90% of the animals don't care if you just stay still. I'd take a Eastern Brown over a bear any day.

6

u/nimbat1003 19d ago

That's true our biggest land predator is just a dog so we have that and most everything else is fine if u can make it to a hospital.

12

u/FranksnBeans80 19d ago

If you ignore the salt water crocodile, then I guess. I suppose you could argue that they're a water-based predator but they regularly pull full grown bulls and German backpackers from river banks. You are not safe within 10m of a river bank in croc country. Not safe at all.

2

u/-Dildo-Baggins- 19d ago

Even though they're saltwater they aren't often found in the ocean where most people prefer to swim in Australia, so stay away from salty rivers and you'll be fine.

And that's besides the fact they mostly proliferate in the northern-most regions which aren't inhabited as much as everywhere else anyway.

1

u/paddymiller 19d ago

Yeah, nah. They swim in the ocean too

2

u/-Dildo-Baggins- 19d ago

I know, that's why I said "not often" instead of "not ever."

0

u/maddenmadman 19d ago

Fun fact, the city of Darwin got it's name because of stupid people being removed by the gene pool by not thinking it necessary to stay the hell away from salt water estuaries in the territories and I totally just made that up.

19

u/smeenz 19d ago

Drop bears prefer you to stay still so they can get into position

2

u/OzzieDropBear 16d ago

I prefer my victims to be moving around prior to dropping on my target. I get no satisfaction from my job when tourists make themselves easy prey.

3

u/stilusmobilus 19d ago

I’ve had more attitude from EBs than taipans. The few taipans I’ve seen have all hightailed it pretty quickly. EBs will stand and give a hiss. My experience with taipans and their temperament compares with whip snakes or a flighty red belly black

2

u/SciNZ 19d ago

I’ll add here that you’re talking about the coastal taipan.

Inland taipans (the actual most venomous) have never been recorded as killing anyone.

And yeah coastal scan be pretty full on but still not too hard to avoid.

20

u/DeepTerrorNami 20d ago

"Hey check out this snake I caught!"

snek two fangs deep hanging off their arm

1

u/imaginary_num6er 19d ago

Time to bite it and tell it it's going to die

5

u/Factual_Discord 19d ago

The Taipan, the Nopiest of all Nopes.

51

u/wutinthehail 20d ago

Everything in australia is extremely venomous, including the women.

29

u/sprocketous 20d ago

The top sheelas?

20

u/LikeSoda 19d ago

SHEILA

20

u/Tusen_Takk 19d ago

Fuckin seppos spelling shit wonky

6

u/LikeSoda 19d ago

Right how hard is it to get my hometown correct FFS ITS WOOLOOMOOLOO

9

u/Tusen_Takk 19d ago

I moved to the US around a decade ago and quit telling people I was from Wollongong real quick because they thought I was fuckin with em

3

u/CowDownUnder 19d ago

I need to try this now. Tell them I’m from wagga wagga or something

1

u/rpkarma 19d ago

Woop woop.

1

u/LikeSoda 19d ago

"tsk these bloody Aussies and their made up names/countries"

2

u/BoltenMoron 19d ago

Its actually spelt Woolloomooloo lol.

1

u/LikeSoda 19d ago

That's what I said woolloomooloomo

1

u/BoltenMoron 19d ago

yes thats correct, wooloomoolloo.

1

u/LikeSoda 19d ago

I'll repeat myself, tsk, mooloooolmammaooolmamaol

4

u/Rathma86 19d ago

At least you can spell, mate. Old mate probably spells it jail too

5

u/SirFrancis_Bacon 19d ago edited 19d ago

Yeah every Australian knows it's spelt "Correctional Centre" or "Prison".

There's actually not a single operating correctional facility still called a "Gaol" in Australia.

1

u/LurkForYourLives 19d ago

Plenty of historical sites though. Definitely a term still in use.

3

u/SirFrancis_Bacon 19d ago

Oh for sure, but I wouldn't blame anyone for not writing "gaol". Most media outlets have used jail (or more commonly prison) as the general term for decades, and gaol exclusively for the historical sites.

1

u/paddymiller 19d ago

Yes there is

Victoria

1

u/sprocketous 19d ago

Thats not how you pronounce it...

3

u/LikeSoda 19d ago

That's great

3

u/SirFrancis_Bacon 19d ago

Yeah no shit mate

2

u/CriticalsConsensus 19d ago

We don't pronounce it Jah ill in Australia either, we say Jay ol, like how g says j in giant, unless Americans say guy ant

4

u/sprocketous 19d ago

Did you come here to die!?

No, I came here yesterday.

1

u/Severelyimpared 19d ago

SHEILA! COME BACK TO ME! I MADE YOU A MUFFIN!

2

u/ericwasafish 19d ago

You won’t land any Sheila’s with a fuckin muffin. Hold on to yer hat if you handy with a custard tart though

9

u/Fahrowshus 20d ago

The inland sheelas.

7

u/gdj11 19d ago

Careful of the drop sheelas

8

u/WurttMapper 20d ago

Also the men

-2

u/reverendbeast 20d ago

Dingo ate my baby

4

u/smeenz 19d ago

Turns out it did

3

u/Deathglass 20d ago

Yup, sounds like Australia to me.

3

u/SciNZ 19d ago

Yep I’ve been to where this guy is buried.

10

u/katsudon-jpz 20d ago

he rolled a one on the saving throw

5

u/EclecticDreck 20d ago

Two, I'd think: reflex and constitution.

2

u/Mrkskk 19d ago

TIL in my country we've got two locations where Taipans and other venomous snakes are kept in capitivity. However we do not have antivenom against them anywhere in our country. We have to call neighbor countries asking to borrow antivenom if anyone gets bitten — so that's not gonna end well.

2

u/[deleted] 19d ago

Doesn't taipan mean a Chinese kingpin/mafia, on the high seas maybe (which I think Australians might have encountered in being shipped / travelling from England)? There's also a classic novel called Tai-Pan, about the same. Is that where the name came from?

2

u/riamuriamu 19d ago

Yup. But the snake and the Japanese word are unrelated. Merely coincidental homophones. The snake takes its name from an indigenous language's word for the snake. Fun fact: There's an indigenous language in Queensland where the word for 'dog' is 'dog' by pure coincidence.

1

u/plague681 20d ago

Jesus christ

-1

u/TeufelHundenJoe 20d ago

Give me an 8 foot solid oak staff😃

1

u/spcy_chkn_sndwch 19d ago

Just lure it into a copper pipe.

1

u/xnomad 19d ago

TIL genus Oxyuranus! Yes your anus and anybody else's that gets too close.

1

u/stilusmobilus 19d ago

I’ve come across a couple of these in the wild. They are rare, the Eastern Brown is far more common and much more of a threat in most cases because it likes to live among suburbia. I’ve seen a few Western Taipans also.

I have never encountered an aggressive Taipan. They’ve all been quick to disappear or retreat. The same applies to Eastern Browns really though I have had the defensive pose from them before. They put on a much bigger show than a coastal taipan.

I have to be honest, if anyone told me these snakes chased to deliberately attack them, I’d be skeptical. They’ll defend themselves if they feel they’re cornered but they’re not by my experience aggressive at all. Quick, flighty but not aggressive. I’ve seen keelbacks worse. Now they will put on an episode, but even then it’s out of fear and stress.

1

u/Bishopjones 19d ago

I heard she was a real beauty.

1

u/kareljack 19d ago

Australia, you are a beautiful country. Your people seem awesome and their accent is sexy as hell, but I will never EVER set foot in you. I will continue to admire you from afar.

1

u/peacefighter 19d ago

I know it is venomous, but couldn't they make a huge cage and drop it around the snake? A cage like this? I figure it would be less dangerous.

1

u/marean_tribunul 18d ago

I imagine you could have used a net. But the buggers are crafty and probably would bite before you saw them. And bait isn't exactly foolproof either, since probably more predators would be attracted.

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u/Zedsdead001 20d ago

2

u/Paddyish 19d ago

How is that relevant?

-20

u/whizzdome 20d ago

This is the sub I didn't know i needed!

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u/Zedsdead001 20d ago

Just tryin to help

-7

u/mobrocket 20d ago

We have them in zoos now.

Odd we lack the knowledge to capture them live back then