Terry Morley from Adelaide Zoo with one of the western desert taipans.
Terry Morley from Adelaide Zoo with one of the western desert taipans.

Two of the world's rarest and potentially most venomous land snakes have been discovered in WA's Great Victoria Desert.

The adult male and female western desert taipans, both stretching more than 1m in length, were found as part of a Department of Environment and Conservation survey last month and have been sent to Adelaide Zoo for medical research.

Only five of the snake species have ever been found, and prior to another biological survey in May this year, only one was known to science.

The inland taipan has the most toxic venom in the world but the venom of the west desert taipan is as yet unknown.

DEC said it was likely to be extremely dangerous.

DEC regional ecologist Karl Brennan said there were critical gaps in knowledge about the some of the animals and plants in WA's remote regions

"The fact it was unknown until a short time ago that a large and potentially deadly snake was roaming the Great Victoria Desert demonstrates our need for more information about WA's desert fauna and flora," Dr Brennan said.

DEC said the survey also recorded 10 native mammal species, 51 reptile species, 68 bird species, one frog and more than 200 plant species.

The snakes will be cared for by Adelaide Zoo herpetologist Terry Morley, who participated in the survey.

He said studying the taipans would help research into snake bite treatments.

The West Australian

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