The fierce snake, otherwise known as the inland taipan or small-scaled snake, can reach a total length of 2.5 metres, although 1.8 metres is the average length. The upper surface of the snake can vary from dark brown to a light straw colour. Dramatic seasonal colour changes also take place, with dark winter and light summer phases.
The fierce snake inhabits the black soil plains in the region where the Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory borders converge. This area has little vegetation so the fierce snake uses deep cracks in the dry soil to escape predators and the burning heat.
The diet is almost solely composed of small mammals, particularly native rats, which, at times, reach plague proportions in this region. The prey is subdued with a rapid, accurate strike, injecting the extremely toxic venom deep into the prey item. The venom is unequalled in toxicity amongst any snake anywhere in the world.
Populations of this snake are highly dependent on the availability of its favourite prey, the plague rat. When the rats experience a good year, the numbers of fierce snakes will rise. By the same token, a poor year results in the loss of many rats and snakes from lack of food. The female fierce snake lays between 12 and 20 eggs per clutch, which are laid in an abandoned animal burrows or deep soil crevices.
The fierce snake produces drop for drop, the most toxic venom of any snake in the world. One bite possesses enough punch to drop 100 full grown men.