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One of my most memorable moments has been spotting and catching an inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus) in the Australian desert. This is the most venomous snake in the world. The environment that these snakes live in is extremely harsh, and it is hard to believe that there is actual life in these deserts.
Appropriately, some of these areas are called 'moonscape', because of the incredible resemblance to the surface of the moon with endless red sand and rocks. Generally, deserts come to life at night, once the temperatures have dropped to a bearable level. The Australian deserts are no exception. The day temperatures are so high and the humidity so low that the ground has literally split open, giving rise to numerous cracks, that provide a protective and cool hiding place for many animals. Taipans generally stay hidden in these cracks, but come out in the mornings and evenings when it is relatively cool outside. They come out to forage, with their main prey being large desert rats. These tough animals need a good dose of venom if they are to be affected quickly, which is why the inland taipan has such a toxic venom. An adult inland taipan may have enough venom to kill 100 people or 250.000 mice.
The venom of the inland taipan is primarily neurotoxic, so bites result in overwhelming effects on the nervous system. This may include in rapid respiratory paralysis, and death. Although they are rarely encountered, because of their secretive life habits, these are truly one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.