Australia’s Top 3 Most Dangerous Snakes

Okay, let’s kick off 2012 with my favourite subject.

Snakes!

The Coastal Taipan is one of Australia’s most dangerous snakes. This very reclusive reptile is rarely spotted, even up north where it is believed to be much more common.

Where I live, which is Western Suburbs of Brisbane, we have plenty of snakes. I had a snake in my house recently, you may recall.

There have been many reported sightings of the Coastal Taipan in this area, but none have officially been recorded as being found here.

Until now.

About 5 kilometres from where I live is a suburb called Pullenvale. When local snake catcher Bryan Robinson caught a Coastal Taipan at a property there, it was the first ever recorded in the Brisbane Western Suburbs and the closest Coastal Taipan to inner Brisbane that’s been found to date.

I’m not surprised there have been many false sightings though. Eastern Browns, quite common around here, and the Coastal Taipan, presumed to be rare, look remarkably similar.

This is the Eastern Brown….

Eastern BrownAnd this is the Coastal Taipan…..

Coastal TaipanNow you might be thinking “Oh, come on Bob, one’s got a smooth skin and the other one’s scaly!” And that is the problem with snake identification, even snakes of the same species can look very different from each other.

Eastern Browns, for example, come in many shades of brown as well as shades of other colours like grey and charcoal.

This is an image of a Coastal Taipan, courtesy of AllenMcC and taken from the Wikipedia page about Coastal Taipans.

Another Coastal TaipanNot so easy, is it?

By the way, the top two photographs were taken by me, some time ago, during a visit to the Australia Zoo. That’s the zoo made famous by much missed Steve Irwin, who was also known as “The Crocodile Hunter”.

He was pretty handy with snakes too. For the record, the Coastal Taipan is the third most venomous snake in Australia and the Eastern Brown is second.

Here’s some absolutely stunning footage of Steve with THE most venomous snake in all of Australia, the Inland Taipan, also known as the Fierce Snake. Do not miss this one….

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Doug October 17, 2015, 4:31 am | Link

    Hi Bob
    Most snake bites actualy occure when people try to catch or kill a snake.
    If given the opertunity snakes will try to avoid confrontation with humans , even eastern browns and tiger snakes (the so called most agressive ones) will try to flee.
    Thanks
    Doug

  • Geoff Coombe April 9, 2014, 2:39 pm | Link

    The most recent reference on Australian reptiles shows that Coastal Taipans are found in the eastern regions of Queensland from the NSW border to Cape York. They occur in a wide range of habitats from tropical forests to open woodlands & canefields.

    They can shelter in hollow logs or abandoned burrows, & seem to be most common where there are well-timbered grassy slopes.

    Eastern Brown Snakes in Qld sometimes have cream-colouring on the head similar to a Coastal Taipan, but their eyes are brown compared to the Taipan’s orange eyes.

    Information is available in Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia by Harold Cogger, published March 2014 by CSIRO Publishing. Readers can also check A Field Guide to Reptiles of Queensland by Steve Wilson, published in in 2005 by New Holland Publishers.

    • BobinOz April 10, 2014, 8:42 pm | Link

      Seems they are not called ‘Coastal’ Taipans without reason, looks like they are here on the East Coast and one may well have been between the feet of Ian.

      Nice.

      Thanks for chiming in here Geoff, much appreciated.

      Bob

  • Ian finnis April 8, 2014, 7:26 pm | Link

    Hi I am a beekeeper in the Bundaberg (qld) area, while working my bee hives today near the Elliott river which is south of bundy. I looked down to see snake between my feet. (No boots or long pants) I have lived in the bush all my life and can identify most snakes but I have never seen one like this one. I used my phone to get a picture . On checking this site aim sure this was a costal taipan I was pretty lucky it was only a small snake. ? Do you know if there is any records of this breed of snakes being found in this area.

    • BobinOz April 8, 2014, 9:37 pm | Link

      You had a Coastal Taipan standing between your legs and you took a photograph? Good man!

      Anyway, as you can see from the above article, a Coastal Taipan was found just up the road from me in somebody’s back garden. In fairness, the back garden backed onto the foothills of the range extending south from the D’Aguillar. The suburb in question, Pullenvale, is extremely leafy green.

      But if a Coastal Taipan can be found here, I’m sure they can be found up where you live which is also extremely leafy green.

      Whether or not there are any records, I don’t know, but I’ll see if I can get my snake expert to the comment here, maybe he knows something.

      I have to know, did the snake just calmly slither away? I’d love to see the photo, if you can send it to me I’ll put it online. You can get my email from my Contact page, the link is in the footer of this website.

      Cheers, Bob

  • ROCKSTAR January 25, 2013, 11:56 pm | Link

    Me and my brother have lots of snakes were we liv it’s a small town and at our town show there was a snake dude and he was saying tiger snakes will not chase u that’s a load of **** me and my brother have been chased 2-3 times bye tiger snake

    • BobinOz January 30, 2013, 8:06 pm | Link

      Well I’ve heard Tiger snakes can be aggressive, sounds like what has happened to you backs that up. I hope you can run fast 🙂 I don’t think we get tiger snakes here, Brisbane, you must be further south?

  • Jodie July 27, 2012, 6:23 pm | Link

    Hi Bob
    I found your fabulous website by searching for snakes of all things! It seems there are many opposing arguments on the web as to which is the most deadliest snake in Oz. The Inland Taipan and Coastal Taipan do seem to come up the most though. We’ve travelled around Oz twice and have seen some snakes alright, but mostly harmless pythons, thank you! We came across an enormous Olive Python at Lawn Hill National Park in QLD and my husband couldn’t resist but get as close as possible for a photo (with him and the snake in it!). Love the Steve Irwin take, he was a legend. Regards, Jodie.

    • BobinOz July 30, 2012, 2:30 pm | Link

      Hi Jodie

      I just checked out your website and it looks pretty awesome too! (For anyone else who wants to visit, just click on Jodie’s name above her comment, the one in blue). I suspect you’ve seen quite as few snakes with all the travelling you’ve done.

      There is a much bigger conversation about which snakes are the deadliest over on my post called Australian Snakes and Death: Continued, you might find it interesting.

      Cheers

      Bob

      • Jodie July 31, 2012, 2:11 pm | Link

        Hi Bob
        Thanks for your vote of confidence and the web-link. I want to include a helpful travel resources page soon so I’ll get in touch, your site is definitely helpful for the international movers in particular and anyone looking for a good old aussie chin wag and honest down to earth viewpoints.
        By the way I am totally paranoid about snakes, I make the hubby walk in front on bush tracks and I jump every time I hear a noise in the bush. I am declaring “inland taipan” as our most deadliest inland aussie snake. Seems the venom is of the most toxic in the world. Yikes.
        Jodie 🙂

        • BobinOz August 1, 2012, 7:11 pm | Link

          You are probably right about the inland taipan, that’s why I live by the sea 🙂 We don’t get too many of those around these parts.

          Good idea to send your hubby in first, that’s what they’re for, isn’t it? Yes, stay in touch Jodie.

          Cheers

  • John Seabrook May 31, 2012, 11:25 pm | Link

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, you can buy solar powered snake deterrents as well. You stick it in the ground and it emits a vibrating pulse every couple of minutes. Bought that from Goldmans Produce & Stock Feed in Cessnock. About the size of a path light. $40.00 for a snake free future! I hope.

    • BobinOz June 1, 2012, 6:23 pm | Link

      What a brilliant idea! I’ve not seen one of those, I’ll see if I can find one next time I’m in the produce store.

  • John Seabrook May 31, 2012, 11:15 pm | Link

    Bob, we had a red bellied black snake sliver up to the front door in January. West of Newcastle. Stomping on the wooden porch made it turn around and leave. They can’t hear, so vibrations through its belly are what it senses. It smells with its tongue apparently. When walking through grassy areas in summer, tread heavily and hit the ground with a makeshift staff , ie a branch. Be careful stepping over logs etc as most bites are purely accidental. Aust snakes are usually content to flee than confront. You probably knew this, just a reminder.

    • BobinOz June 1, 2012, 6:22 pm | Link

      Yes, sound advice. We get a lot of red bellied blacks around our way, so I’ve been told by people in the area, never had the pleasure of meeting one.

      I am sure, as you are, that most snake bites are as a result of an accidental encounter, IE, treading on one. Always take care when walking in the long grass. Cheers John!

    • maggie September 27, 2012, 11:58 am | Link

      Just wanted to say I live on the Sunshine Coast, in a built up area near the beach. Encountered a brown coloured snake in our carport last year that saw me coming and ‘went’ for me!! It was quite frightening because I believed that if I didn’t threaten it, it wouldn’t attack me. It moved very quickly in a striking posture and I actually had to more or less run backwards and thankfully there had been distance between us. So not so sure anymore about how docile or aggressive snakes are.

      • BobinOz September 28, 2012, 1:12 pm | Link

        Scary! And also slightly unusual, most snakes do usually have to be cornered or threatened before they launch an attack. For some reason, this snake probably did feel threatened, or maybe it was just a very aggressive snake, an exception to the normal rule.

        Glad you managed to get out of its way quick enough 🙂

        Cheers

        Bob

  • Michael April 23, 2012, 1:24 am | Link

    I was just wondering why didn’t you mentioned tiger snakes in this post. I guess these snakes should also be a part of top 3 venomous snakes in Australia. These snakes can particularly be found in southern regions. These are not usually aggressive and retreat most of the times. These are known to be one of the deadliest snakes in the world. To know more about these snakes visit http://www.venomoussnakes.net/tigersnake.htm

    • BobinOz April 23, 2012, 3:04 pm | Link

      Well, I didn’t mention it because I only covered the top three. I think the tiger snake comes forth. And yes, he sure is deadly!

  • Ian February 28, 2012, 8:55 pm | Link

    That was amazing!
    Steve Irwin was one of a kind, he is sadly missed.

    • BobinOz February 29, 2012, 12:32 am | Link

      Yes, totally awesome! Almost as though he hypnotised the snake. I miss him.

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