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By Anders Nielsen, Ph.d.
The most infamous of the taipan snakes is the inland taipan, also known as the fierce snake. Among all venomous snakes worldwide, the inland taipan has the lowest LD50-value of any venomous snake. However, the snake is not aggressive by any means, and the fierce in its name refers to its venom, not its aggressiveness.
The inland taipan is found in inland Australia, and it ranges into Queensland on the eastern side of Australia.
The video captures the appearance of the inland taipan perfectly well, so no images of the inland taipan snake here.
0.030 mg/kg is sufficient to kill 50 percent of a population of mice, and that is the LD50-value. The inland taipan is capable of delivering up to 110 mg of venom. The two numbers, 110 divided by 0.03 illustrates how many times more venom is delivered in a bite with maximum dosage.
A maximum dosage bite delivered to, for example, a mouse delivers approximately 33 times more venom as needed to kill a person at 110 kilo.
The good news is that antivenom works. The antivenom against the taipan snake bites even works when the expiration date has passed. A study (O'Leary, 2009) showed that antivenom as old as 15 years past its expiration worked fine against taipan envenomations.
O'Learya, MA et al. An examination of the activity of expired and mistreated commercial Australian antivenoms Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 103(9) pp. 937-942 (2009)
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