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To pan~ " he on as~ dev 8" By BOB GREE~BERG HE deadly taipan snake which was flown to Melbourne for research after it had killed a 20-year-old collector at Cairns the other day, was not the first to be captured alive as has been claimed.
A SA man claims to have captured two of these reptiles in South Australia; seven were cap tured on an expedition to Cape York Peninsula; and, a seven footer was caught near Darwin in 1947. Mr. A. E. Hannam, of Sizer street, Lower Mitcham, claims that he caught a male and female taipan in 1913 near Lake Frome at a place kinown as Box Flat. "The two snakes were mating at the time I caught them," said Mr. Han nam. "On the following day I took them to Mount Hopeless and showed them to the natives there. The native boss, known as Blanch Tom, said: 'That fella, him no good--him belonga devil.' "
Mr. Hannam described the snakes as having been a deep chocolate color. The head had tapered off from the neck and the lower jaw was half an inch shorter than the upper one. "The lower Jaw was grey running back for a third of its length into a blue-grey and then into chocolate. The male snake was 7 ft. long and the female 8 ft. 6 in. Venom tests In three expeditions to Cape York Peninsula in 1933, Dr. Donald P. Thomson captured seven live specimens and held them in captivity. Writing in an article published in March, 1947, Dr. Thomson said: "Aus tralia has a giant venomous snake compared with which the tiger snake is almost a pigmy. This is the giant brown snake (Oxyuranus Scutellatus) known to the natives of Cape York Peninsula as the talpan.'
"The taipan is certainly by far the most dangerous snake in Australia and ranks among the most deadly snakes in the world, including the mamba of Africa, the huge king cobra, and Rus sell's viper. "During expeditions to Cape York Peninsula I secured living specimens of this snake for the first time. Seven specimens were taken alive, kept in captivity for months, and venom was extracted at intervals to obtain records of the venom yields and the rate of secretion." Dr. Thomson was inundated with re quests to secure living specimens of the deadly snake after news of their cap ture had been published in the "Pro ceedings of the Zoological Society of London" in 1933. In September, 1947, Mr. Joseph Jen kins, of Gunn Point (NT), took a live taipan to Darwin in a sugar bag. Mr. Jenkins had been travelling through the bush in a truck with a party of natives when the taipan crossed the path several yards ahead of the truck Bi like a dog As the natives would not go near the taipan to kill it, Mr. Jenkins cut a sapling from a tree and moved toward it. The taipan watched him coming and moved in his direction very quickly, The snake struck at the stick. Mr Jenkins said that it bit the stick ilke a dog and buried its fangs in the bark When Mr. Jenkins took the snake to Darwin, he gave it to a local identity Mr. Alec McKenzie, who owns a mena gerie there. He found the snake so vicious that he was forced to kill it. Kevin Budden, of Randwick. NSW. the collector who died from talpan bite, left Sydney in March last year with two other young men especially to hunt the deadly taipan. Budden caught a 0-ft. talpan in scrub outside Cairns last Thursday. As he was putting it into a bag, the talpan got its head free and bit his left thumb. Budden grabbed the snake with his right hand and held it at arm's length. With ligatures applied to his left arm, Budden put the snake back in the bag, At first doctors believed his chance of recovery to be good, but he died the following afternoon. There is only one known case of recovery from the taipan's bite. No living snecimen of the taipan has yet been exhibited in any zoo. Nor will the talpan which caused Budden's death be the first to be ex hibited, It is at the Commonwealth Research Laboratories, Melbourne. where research will be carried out to find an effective antidote for talpan poison. The snake that caused Budden's death may help to save lives of future taipan victlms.
5 ark tsoo ~i's cap anin or ® ride By DOUG. CHAPMAN" Sharks in SA waters are so tame they will not bite you, claims an Adelaide resident who says he once rode on a shark's back and has swum among them hundreds of times.
He is Captain T. Gustafsen, now re tired after nearly 40 years as skipper of various SA coastal vessels, the last 20 years with the Adelaide Steamship Co.'s motor vessels Mlnnipa and Moonta, "Most people here think sharks will attack them," he said, drawing up a chair for me at his home in Glen avenue, Unley Park. I suggested it was rather a reason able view to hold. "Have you ever been near enough to one to really find out?" he asked. I admitted I had not. "Well, I have hundreds of times," he replied. "I and members of crews of ships trading between Adelaide and West Coast ports have regularly swum among sharks, but have never once been attacked. Head-on crash "In port on a summer day we used to dive over the side of the ship with out even looking to see if sharks were about. They often were, but they never bothered us. "I swam within arm's length of them on numerous occasions. Once when I dived overboard I had a head-on col lision with a shark under the water.
"After that the shark apparently did not feel safe near the ship, as it kept a bit farther away, "I finished my swim and returned to the ship without even thinking of any danger. "A number of years ago I was taken for a ride on a shark's back at Port Haslam, near Streaky Bay. "I was fishing from the stern of a small boat when a big fellow about 20 ft. long came up and whisked me overboard with a flick of his tail. Z toppled on to his back. Tamae here "He carried me about 60 ft. through the water before I fell off, but made no attempt to attack me, "I swam unnurriedly back to the boat and thought nothing more of it. "I do not know why sharks here are so tame. I would not trust them oft the east coast of Australia or in some other parts of the world. S"But I don't think the deep-sea ex plorer, Dr. Hans Hass, did anything particularly risky when he opened the jaws of a big shark in the Red Sea and caught hold of its tail, as reported yesterday."