Fierce Snake

Oxyuranus microlepidotus

Last updated: April 22, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
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It can kill multiple humans with the amount of venom it releases in one bite.


Fierce Snake Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Oxyuranus microlepidotus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Fierce Snake Conservation Status

Fierce Snake Locations

Fierce Snake Locations

Fierce Snake Facts

Rats and other small mammals
Fun Fact
It can kill multiple humans with the amount of venom it releases in one bite.
King brown snake
Average Litter Size
Common Name
Inland taipan

Fierce Snake Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Black
10-15 years
5 feet

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The fierce snake, which is also known as the small-scaled snake or the inland taipan, is incredibly venomous, and it can kill multiple humans with the amount of venom it releases in one bite.

It prefers a semi-arid habitat where it lays up to 24 eggs, depending on the amount of food that they eat.

4 Amazing Fierce Snake Facts

– The average clutch size of the western taipan is between 12 and 24 eggs, which take about two months to hatch into the baby snakes. The number entirely depends on the small-scaled snake’s diet.
– In captivity, these snakes typically live to be 10-15 years old.
– The typical diet of the western taipan consists of mammals, like the long-haired rat, the house mouse, and other rodents. Even baby western taipans hunt small mammals.
– Instead of using just one strike to kill their prey, the fierce snake will strike it multiple times during the attack while holding it.
– One of the few predators of the small-scaled snake is the mulga snake, which is able to survive the majority of venom from snakes. It typically eats baby inland taipans.

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Where to Find Fierce Snakes

The only place you can consistently find fierce snakes is in Australia, as they are endemic to the region. They prefer to make their habitat in the central-east area where the environment is semi-arid, covering from Queensland to South Australia. At one time, the fierce snake was spotted in northwestern Victoria and New South Wales, but it hasn’t been sighted since the late 1800s in this region.
This snake prefers a dry climate for its natural habitat.

Fierce Snake Scientific Name

The Australian fierce snake, also known as the inland taipan or the small-scaled snake, has the scientific name of Oxyuranus microlepidotus. The name is based on both Greek and Latin words. “Oxyuranus” comes from a combination of two Greek words – “oxys” (sharp, needle-like) and “ouranos” (an arch). The second part of the name – microlepidotus – is the Latin word for “small-scaled.”
Its class is Reptilia, and it belongs to the Elapidae family.

Fierce Snake Population & Conservation Status

Every snake in Australia is protected, which means that there’s a law against killing the western taipan. As recently as 2017, the IUCN Redlist of endangered species classified the species as Least Concern because it has steady numbers and is widespread throughout the regions it resides in.
The worldwide population of the small-scaled snake is largely unknown because they so rarely encounter humans. However, it is rare to see them in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, as they are regionally extinct in these areas.

How To Identify a Fierce Snake: Appearance and Description

The fierce snake is rather easy to identify because of the dark tan body, though it sometimes ranges from a dark to a light brownish-green hue, based on the current season. The brown and grey shades decorate its back, belly, and sides, and diagonal rows of dark scales create a line of chevron markings down the body. With a round head and neck, you’ll notice that this part of the body is darker than the rest, even becoming a glossy black hue when the colder months come. This dark hue attracts the heat without having to expose their body to the sunlight, which helps them to stay hidden from predators when they warm up.
In total, the size of the Australian snake is 5.9 feet in length, though there’s a chance that the snake can reach over 8 feet long in some environments. Through the seasons, their skin color changes (darker in cold weather, lighter in warm weather) for the purpose of thermoregulation.
How to identify a Fierce Snake:
– Dark tan body, which can change in the darkness between seasons.
– Diagonal rows of dark chevron-shaped markings.
– Darker head and neck than rest of the body.
– Up to 8.2 feet in length.

Fierce Snake Venom: How Dangerous Are They?

One of the most notable features of the fierce snake is its dangerous venom. It is more toxic than any other snake in the world, even exceeding that of sea snakes. It has more toxic venom than any other reptile as well. Through time, its venom has adapted to be able to kill any warm-blooded species, specifically because it goes after small mammals. Despite the limited diet, the fierce snake has enough venom to kill up to 100 people in a single bite.
The snake is fast and accurate. In fact, this precision is so consistent that it can release venom into the same place multiple times in a row. Most often, it releases about 44mg of venom per bite, though there are records to show that this dose has reached 110mg in some cases. Comparatively, the diamondback rattlesnake in North America only releases 11.4mg per bite.
Mortality rates are generally high with the fierce snake. If you aren’t treated quickly enough, your survival rate is no more than 20%. Unfortunately, many people aren’t sure if they’ve been bitten by this type of snake if they don’t see it around after the pain settles in because of how quick it is. If it releases venom, you most likely start with pain, which evolves into nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, convulsions, and headache. Then, the venom starts to reach the major organs, leading to kidney failure, neurotoxicity, and coagulopathy before finally causing death.
If a fierce snake bites you, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You only have about 30-45 minutes before the effects of the venom could be fatal because of the neurotoxins, leading to paralysis. Due to the limited survival rate, antivenom is necessary, though even expedient treatment may mean that you need a ventilator at a hospital.

Fierce Snake Behavior and Humans

As dangerous and lethal as the fierce snake might be, it tends to be shy. It doesn’t spend much time around humans, living in remote locations that won’t expose them to anyone. In fact, despite the damage that one bite can cause, the Australian species aren’t considered to be the deadliest snake in the world because they aren’t around enough people. If it does come in contact with people, they will almost certainly regret the moment as soon as it passes.

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

Fierce Snake FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is the fierce snake the most venomous snake?

Yes. The fierce snake is more venomous than any other snake in the world. However, it doesn’t rank as the deadliest snake because it doesn’t often come in contact with humans.

Why is it called the fierce snake?

Though some people believe that the fierce snake has earned this nickname for its demeanor, that isn’t true at all. Instead, it is the lethality of the venom that earns the snake this moniker.

How do you survive a fierce snake bite?

The only way to survive a fierce snake bite is by seeking medical attention quickly to get injected with an antivenom. These snakes have lethal venom that could kill within 30-45 minutes of being bitten, which is why the survival rate is minimal without treatment.

Where do fierce snakes live?

The fierce snake, also known as the inland taipan, is endemic to Australia exclusively.

Who would win a fight between a mongoose and an inland taipan?

A mongoose would win a fight against an inland taipan, but the mongoose might die shortly after winning. Mongooses have limited resistance to some snake venom. However, these mammals live in Africa; they are not accustomed to the venom of the inland taipan from Oceania.

Which is more deadly between an inland taipan and a Brazilian wandering spider?

The inland taipan is more deadly than the Brazilian wandering spider. The Brazilian wandering spider bites many people each year, but it kills practically none.

Who would win in a fight between an inland taipan and a black-headed python?

A black-headed python would win a fight against an inland taipan.

What are the key differences between golden lanceheads and inland taipans?

The key differences between golden lanceheads and inland taipans are their venom potency, size, and colors.

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