Is the Inland Taipan for you?
Updated: Aug 7, 2021
Keeping the Inland Taipan Oxyuranus microlepidotus
NATURE 4 YOU – Tie and Scott Eipper
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The Inland Taipan is a species of snake that must only be kept by experienced elapid
keepers. The toxicity of the venom combined with the fact that they can be unpredictable make the Inland Taipan a species suited for the more experienced keeper.
We at Nature 4 You do not endorse the keeping of venomous snakes without suitable experience and only when you have the appropriate permits and facilities to care for the animal properly.
COMMON NAMES: Inland Taipan, Western Taipan, Fierce Snake, Small-scaled Snake
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oxyuranus microlepidotus
ADULT SIZE: 220cms
ADULT WEIGHT: 3+kg
LIFE EXPENTANCY: Inland Taipans have been known to live over 25yrs in captivity.
The Inland Taipan is native to Australia, found in far western Queensland, north-eastern South Australia and adjacent areas of the the Northern Territory. A small population has been found near Coober Pedy in South Australia. Inland Taipans live on gibber plains, clay pans and similar areas of the arid channel country. They shelter underground in the deep cracks in the soil. Inland Taipans are one of only a few species of snakes which change their colouration depending on the season. In Summer they are light gold to pale brown above with dark brown or black markings giving a herringbone appearance. The head is usually a glossy black to dark brown which lightens with age. In Winter the colouration darkens considerably to dark brown to almost black above and the head will almost match the body. The underneath is bright yellow, usually with orange spotting or greyish mottling. A fast, shy snake - they prefer to flee rather than have interaction with humans. They are a large elapid with a moderately robust body. Their venom is strongly neurotoxic, with prothrombin activity. Inland Taipans are common in captivity and are bred frequently. Inland Taipans are reasonably easy to keep and can be quite calm. However, they can also be unpredictable. While many keepers refer to them as placid, some Inland Taipans can be every bit as nervous and defensive as the Coastal Taipan, Oxyuranus scutellatus scutellatus.
The colour change from Winter -Summer
A single Inland Taipan needs a terrestrial enclosure about 600mm wide X 1200mm Long X 450mm High. The housing of juveniles is best done by housing them in plastic style enclosures with ventilation holes either drilled or melted with a soldiering iron. This plastic tub can be placed inside the larger enclosure. Plastic tubs are often utilised for small snakes as they are cheap, easy to clean and seal very well. This is important as a small snake is able to escape through very small gaps, which are often present in timber enclosures. Juveniles can be kept in smaller conditions but should be kept by themselves. Not only can cage-mates turn on each other, the unpredictability of their nature combined with the toxicity of their venom makes one snake per cage a lot easier and safer to deal with. We house our juveniles singularly in plastic tubs. These tubs have clips on the side to lock the lids in place, are readily available and easy to modify. We start our hatchling Taipans in 7L tubs measuring 32cms L x 21cms W x 12cms H and move them up to appropriately sized caging as they grow. We use paper towel on the bottom of these tubs as it is easy to clean - simply remove the soiled paper towel and replace with new.
The adult cage can have a variety of substrates ranging from bark to paper. We personally use either a kitty litter made of recycled paper – it helps absorb some of the smell and clumping “deposits” or newspaper or butcher’s paper as its easily cleaned. Other effective substrates include synthetic grass mats, bark chips and paper towel. If using the bark chips for a more natural look make sure no fertilizers or chemicals have been added by reading the bags and try to avoid as much dust in the enclosure as possible. If using synthetic grass, you should have 2 pieces cut to size so when one gets soiled the other can be put in while other gets washed. Pet shops sell a variety of suitable substrates as well as the synthetic grass and bark chips that are available from hardware shops.
Inland taipans need cover in which they can hide. This can be provided by a
hollow log or a rock near the back wall, leaf litter etc. Pet shops have an a