News

Shy, but most venomous

By Tyla Harrington

Kyabram Fauna Park is now home to the world’s most venomous snake with the arrival of a pair of Inland Taipans (Oxyuranus microlepidotus).

Reptile keeper Ben Stubbs said the snakes were settling in well to their new enclosure in the park’s reptile house.

‘‘The Inland Taipan is often cited as the world’s most venomous snake but is not the most dangerous as the species is actually quite shy so rarely encountered by people in the wild,’’ Mr Stubbs said.

‘‘However, it will defend itself when provoked by making a threat display by raising its forebody in a tight s-shaped curve with its head facing the offender.

‘‘If the offender chooses to ignore the warning, the Inland Taipan will strike and its venom is rated as the most toxic of all snake venoms.

‘‘Inland Taipans live in south-western Queensland and north-eastern South Australia. They feed on rats and mice.’’

The species grows to be on average 2m in length and its colour varies from pale fawn to yellowish-brown to dark brown with the head and neck darker shades than the body.

‘‘The park has also recently welcomed a pair of albino Darwin Carpet Pythons (Morelia Spilota variegate) ... usually this species is variable in colour with strong markings of brown, black and tan gold but because our pair have albinism they are white with yellow markings and red eyes,’’ Mr Stubbs said.

‘‘They are about six-months-old so and only about 20cm long but they will grow to up to 3m in length.

‘‘Darwin Carpet Pythons are non-venomous, feed on small mammals and birds and are found in northern Australia from the Kimberly region to north-western Queensland.’’

Kyabram Fauna Park general manager Lachlan Gordon said the park was working to bring new exhibits and experiences to Kyabram, such as these species of snakes, which people were unlikely to see anywhere else.

‘‘We’re also creating a calendar of events to ensure there is always something new and exciting at the park like last week’s Fauna Park Fun Day which attracted about 2000 visitors,’’ Mr Gordon said.