There are many types of snakes in Australia. Some of them are native to Australia. Others come from other countries. Each kind of snake lives somewhere different and not all snakes are poisonous.
Let’s take a closer look at the many types of snakes in Australia. We will learn which snakes are poisonous and which ones are not so you can be safe when you see a snake near your home.
The Taipan is the biggest poisonous snake in Australia. It can be six feet long, longer than a man is tall! It can get even longer, and one was caught that was almost 10 feet long. But even that snake was only 14 pounds, which is much less than a typical 7-year-old child.
These snakes are light so that they can be very fast. Unlike many snakes, when it bites, it will bite several times. This is one reason why people are afraid of them. Another is that they have very strong poison, one of the worst in the world. They are also scared easy and they don’t like to be scared. Taipans can be yellow, red, or brown, or colors in between. Like most snakes, their sides and belly are paler than their back.
This snake is also called the Coastal Taipan because of where it lives, along the east coast of Australia. They are most happy living in sugar cane fields. Taipans eat other animals, including rats and birds. They have very good eyes and hunt during the morning.
- Taipans have longer fangs than any other snake in Australia.
- The Taipan is closely related to the Mamba, a snake from Africa.
02. Fierce Snake
The Fierce Snake is also called the Inland Taipan. This is because it lives in the middle of Australia instead of the coast, like the other Taipan. It is a little smaller than the Coastal Taipan, too. It also has very strong poison. It lives in the rocky desert in Australia, far from people.
It can grow to six feet long. It is colored yellow or brown, and it gets darker in the winter. It likes to live in cracks in rocks or small caves. It hunts the long-haired rat in burrows in the ground.
The number of snakes and rats can change each other. In years where there are lots of rats, there will be lots of snakes. If there aren’t a lot of rats, there are fewer snakes. This makes sure there aren’t too many snakes or too many rats.
- The Fierce Snake is also called the Small-Scaled Snake.
- Fierce Snake venom is the strongest in the world.
03. Common Death Adder
The Death Adder lives all over Australia. Unlike the Taipans, which are long and thin, it is short and thick. It does not get longer than three feet long.
It has stripes in brown or grey. These help the Death Adder hide. It hides very well. If it is scared, it will stop and wait. It is very hard to see, so it is left alone.
Death Adders do not chase or look for prey, they lie in wait. The tip of their tail is a light color, and may even look like a worm to small animals! They can move this to draw animals closer and then the snake bites, very fast. Its color helps it hide from prey and from hunters. The snake may wait for days for prey to come near.
- Even though they are called adders, Australian adders are really the kind of snake called a viper.
- At one time this snake was called a “deaf” adder not, Death Adder, because it can’t hear like humans can.
04. Mulga Snake
This snake is found all over Australia, more than any other snake. Because it is big and brown, it is also called the King Brown Snake. It is long, more than six feet. The biggest Mulga was almost ten feet long!
The Mulga is also the heaviest snake in the country. It is brown, of course, but it can be dark brown or nearly yellow. Some Mulgas have scales that go from dark to light.
Mulgas in the south of Australia are shy, but Mulgas in the north are far more likely to get angry and hiss. The Mulga likes to eat other reptiles, like lizards and smaller snakes. It will eat birds and small mammals like rats, as well, but it likes reptiles best.
The Mulga snake gets its name from a squat, dry tree that grows on the plains of Australia.
- The Mulga has more venom in its bite than any other snake in the world.
- Although it is brown, the Mulga is part of the Black Snake family.
05. Spotted Black Snake
Even though it is called black, this snake can be dark grey, dark blue and even brown. It always has spots or stripes or blotches. Its colors make it hard to tell apart from other dark snakes, like the Red- Bellied Black Snake. It grows up to four feet long.
This snake lives in many places, including forests and wetlands. It likes to sleep under logs or in old animal dens.
It has a little range, only living in a small part of Australia. The Spotted Black Snake likes to eat other small animals. It will eat birds, rats, lizards, and even other snakes. It is not a picky eater.
- This snake is also called the Blue-Bellied Snake.
- The babies hatch after only one or two days in the egg.
06. Broad-Headed Snake
This snake has very bright yellow markings across its back. The belly is light and the back is dark. As the name says, the snake s head is very wide, much wider than the neck.
This snake only lives in a small part of the country, around the city of Sydney. The snake used to live on the coast. Now it is only seen in rocky areas near forest. It lives in the forest in the summer and in the rocks when it is cold.
Like the Death Adder, the Broad-Headed Snake hunts by lying in wait. It is not very big, so it only attacks small prey. Its favorite food is called the Velvet Gecko. They are small, so even young Broad-Headed Snakes can catch them, so they learn to like eating the Gecko. In fact, more snakes are found in the areas with more Geckos.
- This snake does not eat often. It may wait a whole month between meals!
- The Broad-Headed Snake looks a lot like the Diamond Python, and they live in the same area.
07. Rough-Scaled Snake
This is the only snake in Australia that often climbs trees. It will even climb trees to catch prey. It has special scales called “keels'” that help it grab tree bark.
It is always some color of brown, and can have spots or stripes as well. The snake is no bigger than three feet. Males and females are the same size.
This snake will move in the day, but it is very active at night. People often see the snake crossing roads at night. They like to live in wet areas, or places near water. They hide in hollow trees and under bushes. It mostly eats small mammals and frogs.
- Unlike many snakes, this one will not warn before biting.
- The Rough-Scaled Snake is found in many of the same places as the Keel-Back Snake.
08. Red-Bellied Black Snake
The Red-Bellied Black Snake can be found in and around the city of Sydney. It also lives up and down the east coast. It is one of the most common poison snakes to live near people. Like other snakes, it will make noise and move to scare people away before it bites.
Because they are common and live near people, the Red-Bellied Black Snake has been easy to study. People are less afraid of them than they used to be.
As you can tell from the name, the snaked back is always black, and the belly is red or pink. It looks different from any other black snake in Australia, because you can see the red on the sides of the snake, not just on the belly.
- This snake likes to live near water and has been found in private gardens.
- Baby Red-Bellied snakes are born live, not in eggs.
The Dugite is also called the Spotted Brown Snake. It is colored brown or grey, and often has lighter spots. It loves to eat mice, so it is often found living near people. It has been found in parks, on farms, and near parking lots.
It only lives in the southwest of the country. It can easily be mistaken for other brown snake species in the area. Around the city of Perth, Dugites are often found under houses and other buildings. The snake will find a tunnel or hole in which to spend the chilly winter.
The Dugite hunts for things where it likes to live. It looks for prey in holes and burrows and under houses. The snake is active in the morning, before it gets too hot.
When it attacks, the Dugite will make an S shape and snap its head up at the target. It has very small fangs, so it does not often hurt people.
- The Dugite will both bite and squeeze its prey.
- Because it lives near people, Dugites are often prey to house cats.
10. Black Whip Snake
Whip snakes take their name both from their lean body, and from how fast they move. There are a number of Whip snakes in Australia, including the Yellow-Faced Whip snake, and Dwyer’s snake.
Whip snakes can be shorter than your arm or as long as a man. They have short, wide heads. All whip snakes have venom, but they are not as bad as many snakes in Australia.
Unlike many snakes, when the whip snake is scared, it will pull into a ball. It will bite from the ball if it attacks.
The whip snakes mostly come out at night and like to be left alone. They live out in the open, away from trees. They will live in burrows if they find them. Whip snakes like to eat small lizards, but will eat other small animals as well.
- There are also Whip snakes in North America. But they are not the same snakes, they just have the same name.
- Scientists have a very hard time with how many whip snakes there are and what makes them all different.
11. Eastern Brown Snake
There are two Brown Snakes in Australia, Eastern and Western. They share the country between them. Eastern Brown Snakes are fast and grumpy. They also have very strong poison.
Eastern Brown Snakes love to eat mice. Mice are often found close to people, so the snakes are often seen by people. They will try to avoid biting a person by making an S shape with their body and hissing.
This snake is not picky about where it lives. It can be found in the forest, the desert, on the coast, and in the grass.
In the spring, the male snakes will do a fighting dance with each other. The winner will become a father for lots of new baby snakes. The mother will lay lots of eggs, some times as many as 30 at once.
- This snake bites more people than any other snake does, but it also lives near lots of people.
- Mice are not native to Australia. There are now lots of Eastern Brown Snakes because people brought mice to the country.
12. Western Brown Snake
Just like the Eastern Brown Snake, the Western Brown Snake is fast and grumpy. It has very strong poison, but it also likes to squeeze the animals it catches. It is not seen as much as the Eastern Brown Snake, but it lives away from people. It likes dry areas best, but it can also be found in forests. It also likes to crawl into small spaces or under things.
Like many other snakes, the Western Brown will try to look scary and make noise to scare people away. Unlike many snakes, they will also try to run rather than fight.
Like the name says, the Western Brown Snake can be found all over the west side of Australia. It can be many shades of brown, and the head can even be black. The black head and squeezing its prey means people can think it is the Black Headed Python. This snake is also called the Gwardar.
- Western Brown Snakes eat lizards when they are young, and move on to mice.
- The Mulga, or King Brown Snake, likes to eat Western Browns.
13. Tiger Snake
Even though it is named after the tiger, this snake does not always have stripes. It often has bands of lighter and darker color, giving it a striped look. For a long time, more people were bitten by Tiger Snakes than any other snake in Australia. The snakes often lived close to houses and farms, where they would hunt mice. They will bite when stepped on.
If the Tiger Snake is scared, it will try to be scary before it bites. It will lie flat on the ground, it will hiss, and it will pretend to bite.
The Tiger Snake can be found all around the south east corner of Australia, where the land is low and wet. The more food there is, the more snakes you will find. Tiger snakes even like to eat fish, and will live next to water.
- The Tiger Snake’s favorite food is the frog.
- Unlike many snakes, the Tiger gives birth to live babies instead of laying eggs.
The Copperhead is happy being the coldest snake in Australia. It lives in cool and cold places, on islands, and it can even be found where there is snow! This is very rare for reptiles. Copperheads also love water, and can be found living near ponds, or any place where they might get to swim.
Their color can be brown, black, or even red. These snakes are usually about three feet long, but can get longer. The head is no bigger than the neck, so it looks a bit like a worm. There are white marks on the mouth.
The copperhead is shy, but it lives in areas where there are people. When it is spotted, it will twist and hiss and roll around, trying to scare people off. It will only bite after that.
- Copperhead babies are born live, not laid in eggs, and will go off on their own as soon as they are born.
- There is an American Copperhead snake as well. They are not the same animal; they just have the same name.
15. Eastern Small-Eyed Snake
As you can tell from the name, this snake lives all over the east coast of Australia. There are lots of them, but they are very hard to see. They are dark in color and only like to come out at night. They are shy and will avoid people when they can. Like other snakes, they will hiss and twist before they bite.
The snake is not long, rarely reaching three feet. Males are bigger than females, and the snakes grow bigger in the north than in the south.
It has been hard to learn a lot about this snake because they are so shy. They sleep during the day and hunt at night. But they eat lizards that are asleep at night.
- These snakes will band together in the winter for warmth.
- The Eastern Small-Eyed Snake will eat others of its own kind.