Inland Taipan vs Death Adder: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Heather Ross
Updated: February 14, 2024
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With a name like death adder, you might think that this snake has the most powerful venom in the world. While it’s not in the top 10 snakes with the deadliest venom, it’s also not a reptile that most people want to encounter. Sharing a range with the death adder is a skittish snake with the world’s deadliest venom. The inland taipan, also known as the fierce snake, is capable of killing over 280 people with the venom from a single bite! What happens in an inland taipan vs death adder fight? We’re going to break down the battle and show you which animal would come out on top!

Comparing an Inland Taipan and a Death Adder

An inland taipan is much larger than a death adder.
Inland TaipanDeath Adder
Size– Weight: 3lbs-4.4lbs
– Length: 4ft-6ft, up to 9ft maximum
– Weight: 1lb-3.5lbs
– Length: 2.3ft-3.5ft
Venom Potency– LD50 of 0.025mg/kg
44mg average venom load with 110mg maximum
– Capable of killing between 100 and 280 humans with a single bite
– Said to have the deadliest land snake venom
– Can cause catastrophic effects in humans in less than an hour
– LD50 of 0.6mg/kg
– Venom yield of 70-200mg
– Neurotoxic venom
– Humans typically die six hours or fewer after envenomation
Venom Delivery– Uses hollowed fangs to bite creatures and envenomate them – Nearly 100% envenomation rate and delivers several bites– Has the longest fangs of any snake in Australia at 6.2mm
– Fastest strike in the world at just 0.15 seconds between striking and returning to its original position
Defenses– A skittish snake
– Prefers to avoid confrontations with humans, thus interactions are rare.
–  Scale color helps camouflage the creature
– Stays still despite encroaching animals to avoid notice
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator that relies on its venom to overwhelm prey– Ambush predator that waits for prey to come by before attacking
– Lures prey by making their tail, which looks like a worm, move
– When lizards attack the tail, they bite

What Are Key Differences Between an Inland Taipan and a Death Adder?

Common death adder

The death adder is a small snake that packs a huge bite.

©Vladislav T. Jirousek/

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The greatest differences between an inland taipan and a death adder include their size, aggression, and the power of their venom. The inland taipan can grow up to 9ft long, would prefer to run from a fight, and has the deadliest venom of any land snake with a mortality rate of over 90%, while a death adder can grow up to 3.5ft long, will stand its ground against other animals, and has a venom that has a 60% untreated mortality rate.  

These unique qualities are useful in differentiating the snakes. Moreover, knowing these differences can help us figure out which of the snakes has a higher chance of winning the fight.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between an Inland Taipan and a Death Adder?

common death adder curled up on rocks

The common death adder has the longest fangs of any venomous Australian snake.

© Griffiths

Aside from the notable differences in the snakes, we must also look at other important factors about the fight. In the animal kingdom, a lot of fights are ultimately decided by the size difference in the animals. This case is different, though. We have to account for the animals’ venom.

We’re going to explore five different facets of these animals, compare them, and show you which is the better fighter.  

Inland Taipan vs Death Adder: Size

The inland taipan is bigger than the death adder. The inland taipan can weigh up to 4.4lbs on average, and their maximum length is about 9ft. The common death adder only weighs between 1 and 3lbs and grows up to 3.5ft long. Size is important in this case because larger animals can typically resist venom for a longer time than smaller ones.

The inland taipan has the size advantage.

Inland Taipan vs Death Adder: Venom Potency  

The inland taipan has the deadliest venom of any land snake. Even though they inject smaller venom loads than other snakes, like the king cobra, their venom is so potent that they can kill 289 people with a single bite. Also, they don’t stop with a single bite. They bite several times to ensure that their prey is going down. These snakes can kill humans in less than an hour and even those that get treatment might still die.

The death adder lives up to its name in the sense that a single bite can kill one or two humans within six hours. The venom is neurotoxic, so it quickly impacts its prey.

The inland taipan has deadlier venom than the common death adder.

Inland Taipan vs Death Adder: Venom Delivery

The inland taipan has hollowed fangs that deliver venomous bites. They have a 100% envenomation rate and deliver many bites. The death adder is unique because it has the longest fangs of any snake in Australia, and it has the fastest strike of any snake. It can lunge, bite, and return to its original spot in 0.15 seconds!

The death adder has a better venom delivery system than an inland taipan.

Inland Taipan vs Death Adder: Physical Defenses

The inland taipan actively avoids creatures that pose a threat. They do not want to attack if they don’t have a good reason. The death adder is not highly aggressive, but it won’t move out of the way. If a human is in its area, it will wait rather, sometimes until it is touched, and then lash out and attack.

Neither snake has good physical defenses.

Inland Taipan vs Death Adder: Predatory Behavior

The inland taipan will wait for its prey to approach its hiding spot and then it will attack and envenomate it several times. The death adder has a more interesting predation technique. They use their tails to make animals think they are a bugs. When a lizard or other creature attacks their tail, the snake counterattacks them and bites. With such a fast bite, the death adder is very effective at killing prey.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between an Inland Taipan and a Death Adder?

Most Venomous Snakes in the World - Inland Taipan

The inland taipan has a shy demeanor and the ability to kill hundreds of people in a single bite.

©Ken Griffiths/

An inland taipan would win a fight against a death adder. The inland taipan is the larger snake of the two and it takes longer for the venom to impact them than the smaller adder. Another interesting factor is the strength of the venom of the two snakes. The inland taipan has much more powerful venom than the death adder.

That is not to say the death adder is incapable. The snake has long fangs and can strike faster than the taipan. Yet, these animals are most likely both going to land a bite on the other. That means the stronger venom is going to win. Furthermore, some snakes of the same genus or species are immune to the venom they produce. In this case, both snakes are elapids and use neurotoxins to kill their prey.

With all things considered, the fight would probably result in both snakes being envenomated. In that case, both snakes might eventually die. Yet, the inland taipan has such powerful venom that the death adder would probably be the first to die. The taipan would win, but it might not live long enough to enjoy it that much.  

What Animal Would Win in a Fight Against an Inland Taipan?

As we have said, the taipan is a deadly adversary in any fight that one of them would find themselves. While they would probably win against a death adder, we believe that the taipan would fall in a battle with a black-headed python!

We detail the fight in another article, and the main takeaways are that the massive size advantage of the python would ultimately be enough to defeat the smaller foe and the taipan most likely would be able to inject its potent venom while it was battling. More interestingly, the python would probably be somewhat resistant to its venom for an amount of time to allow it to constrict the lesser snake and then perhaps drop dead after the fight! It’s hard to know for sure, but what we do know is that at least one of these animals would not slither away alive.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ken Griffiths/

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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

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