I recorded the relevant segment of the PBS special Australia’s Little Assassins." They did a segment on taipans, then another species, and then came to the “fierce snake,” and the guy never mentioned it being called an “inland taipan.” So is the fierce snake just a taipan? Or is “inland taipan” a new name for what was previously called a “fierce snake,” because it’s been found to be closely related to the taipan? Anyway, here’s the complete transcript from the “fierce snake” segment:
John Weigel, Director, Australian Reptile Park: “… the snake with the most powerful venom in the world is the fierce snake. Not really a very appropriate name because it, uh, it isn’t particularly fierce, particularly in captivity; uh, in fact, it very rarely accounts for a human bite, if ever. This snake is found only in the most remote corners of southwest Queensland and adjacent, uh, districts, where people don’t live. So, whilst it has the venom most toxic in its effects on human beings, it doesn’t account for any human fatalities; in fact, there are no known records of any bites other than snake handlers.”
**Narrator: "In the distant, desolate regions where the fierce snake lives, summer temperatures soar to well over 120 degrees. Some speculate that these harsh conditions may help create the extraordinary potency of its venom. As it tracks its prey across the hard sun-cracked land, a single fierce snake has enough poison to kill 250,000 mice. Yet, in the deadly balance of the natural world, every hunter is also prey, and even this most lethal of snakes is also being stalked … by the parentie, a giant monitor lizard 6-1/2 feet long. Much of its prey hides from the sun, but the forked tongue picks up even the faintest traces of scent. The fierce snake hasn’t hidden deep enough. Poisonous as it is, this bashing breaks its back, and leaves it helpless. The fierce snake never even had a chance to use its deadly bite. It’s just another meal for the parentie.
“In Australia, the trail of venom leads from the sea to the land … and back out to sea again …”