Coastal Taipan Bite: Why it has Enough Venom to Kill 56 Humans & How to Treat It

Have you heard of the coastal taipan bite and just how potent it is? This snake has enough venom in a single bite to kill 56 humans- but why is their bite so powerful, and how much venom does the coastal taipan bite with on average? If you have always wanted to learn more about the second longest venomous snake in Australia, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the coastal taipan, including details about how this snake bites. We will also mention what animals the coastal taipan prefers to hunt, as well as how this snake interacts with people. Finally, we will tell you how to treat a coastal taipan bite. Let’s get started now!

Why is the Coastal Taipan Bite So Powerful?

The coastal taipan is a dangerous snake for a number of reasons. The bite of this snake is particularly potent, given the neurotoxins involved as well as the amount of venom that gets injected per bite. Additionally, the coastal taipan is one of the most potent snakes in the world, given their lethal dose score. Let’s discuss what this means in detail now.

Scientists and snake experts utilize a specific scale for testing the potency of snake venom, known as the LD 50 value. The lower the amount, the more lethal the venom is. The average coastal taipan has a venom potency of 0.106 mg, making it extremely potent and deadly. For reference, it takes roughly 3 mg of snake venom to kill the average person. But how much venom does the coastal taipan inject on average?

How Much Venom Does a Coastal Taipan Bite Have?

The coastal taipan injects an average of 120 mg per bite, with as much as 400 mg being recorded. This is plenty of venom to kill a person, which is how the coastal taipan can kill up to 56 humans in a single bite. Additionally, the potency of this bite means that symptoms and signs of distress occur within as few as 15 to 30 minutes.

While snakes have existed on this planet for centuries, the local Australian authorities began documenting coastal taipan snake bites in the early 1930s. In fact, this snake began gaining negative attention for years, as article after article was published about the dangers of the coastal taipan. Thankfully, a potent antivenom was developed officially in the 1950s, though hate and fear for this snake still exists today.

Do Coastal Taipans Bite Repeatedly?

While it is unclear whether or not coastal taipans bite humans repeatedly, they do indeed bite their prey more than once. In fact, the coastal taipan has a fairly unique and intuitive way of hunting. They lunge at their prey and bite them multiple times in quick succession before lunging away again. One bite is all it takes to kill just about anything on this planet, so all the coastal taipan has to do is sit back and watch!

What Animals Do Coastal Taipans Hunt?

Similarly to the black mamba, the coastal taipan hunts animals that are significantly larger than it and capable of harming it during confrontation. This is why the coastal taipan utilizes its lunge, bite, and back away style of hunting. This allows the snake to hunt and eat prey without coming to harm. Some of the most common animals consumed by coastal taipans include:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Birds
  • Some reptiles
  • Bandicoots

This snake is very opportunistic, but they always hunt in this specific style. This allows the coastal taipan to avoid harm while still killing large prey, giving it a feast that lasts the snake months. The coastal taipan also uses its eyes while hunting, something that many other snakes do not do. But how do coastal taipans interact with humans? Let’s talk more about that now.

How Do Coastal Taipans Interact with Humans?

Given the long and sordid history surrounding coastal taipans, their interactions with humans vary greatly. Some professional snake handlers mention that the coastal taipan is fairly relaxed, though it does exhibit aggression when provoked. Older accounts of this snake claim that it chases humans and lunges without thought or care. However, this is likely all old wive’s tales at this point.

Given the fact that the coastal taipan freezes when threatened, it may become aggravated when surprised or stumbled upon by humans. However, this snake tends to avoid people as a rule. It is more dangerous for humans and coastal taipans during rainy seasons, as the snakes are far more active during this time of year than any other.

It is especially important to consider the fact that most coastal taipans are diurnal, meaning they are more active in the day. This is because they primarily utilize their eyes to hunt, rather than any of their other senses. Keep this in mind if you’re planning a hike in coastal taipan territory!

How Do You Treat a Coastal Taipan Snake Bite?

Treating a coastal taipan bite must occur immediately, and survival is only possible through the administration of antivenom in a hospital setting. Despite antivenom existing, many survivors of coastal taipan bites suffer from adverse symptoms for days. Some early snake bite survivors report losing their sense of smell or taste, likely a result from the neurotoxic venom found in the bite of the coastal taipan.

No matter the snake, seeking medical attention when bitten is key. The coastal taipan is a snake like any other: they desire to be left alone, and we as humans should respect that. This is especially true when you keep in mind that a coastal taipan can kill 56 of you in a single bite!

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