For aeons, snakes have been one of the most widespread mythological symbols in world history. They have been written about in fables, biblical tales and even featured as the star of fertility rituals. The serpent is both feared and revered in cultures, including Papua New Guinea, which is home to one of Earth’s deadliest snakes, the Papuan Taipan.
Although a bite can potentially be fatal to humans, the Taipan is still mesmerising and worth getting to know (at a distance, of course!). Papuan Taipans are a dark brown-black colour with a distinguishing orange-red dorso vertebral stripe that extends along its back, and their bellies are either white or orange. Females can grow up to 1.8 metres in length while males can grow to a staggering 2-3 metres! The most impressive feature of this PNG native is their large mouth and fangs. Their lower jaw can articulate right back giving them a vertically wide gape allowing plenty of room for ingesting large prey. The Taipan’s broad diet includes warm-blooded creatures such as rodents, bandicoots and ground dwelling birds.