Many people call Australia home, and so do many venomous reptiles and dangerous animals. Known as the land down under, Australia is home to no fewer than 100 species of snake. Many of these are venomous; some are large, some are small, and some can even kill a human with their bite. Australia is even home to saltwater-dwelling sea snakes that spend nearly their entire lives in the ocean.
Read on to learn more about ten of the most fascinating snakes in Australia.
1. Australian Scrub Python
Scrub pythons are the longest and heaviest snakes in Australia. They can reach lengths of 25 feet, and weigh over 50 pounds. They have mottled light and dark brown coloring with a long, heavy head. Scrub pythons aren’t venomous. Instead, they rely on constricting their prey to death before swallowing it whole. Typical food items include rodents, possums, baby kangaroos, and even fruit bats.
2. Eastern Brown Snake
Eastern brown snakes are venomous and have small fangs for their size, but that doesn’t stop this species from causing more deaths from snakebite in Australia than any other snake. These snakes can grow up to six feet long. As their name suggests, their coloring ranges from light to dark brown. They prefer to eat rodents, but will also eat reptiles, amphibians, and birds.
3. Coastal Taipan
Coastal taipans are long snakes that can grow to over nine feet long. They have a deadly bite, but would rather flee than fight when it comes to humans. They range from yellow-brown to black, with their coloring fading in the summer, and darkening in the winter. Unlike other snakes, coastal taipans only eat warm-blooded creatures, like rodents, birds, and bandicoots. They’re active during the day in all but the hottest months when they become more nocturnal.
4. Bandy-Bandy Snake
These snakes are one of the most instantly recognizable snakes in Australia. They’re distinguished from other snakes by their stark black and white stripes. These snakes rarely exceed 2.5 feet in length, though their venom is strong enough to kill a human. However, bandy-bandy snakes rarely attack humans, or even mammals, preferring instead to eat mainly other reptiles and amphibians. They’re one of Australia’s most iconic and loved snakes.
5. Red-Bellied Black Snake
Red-bellied black snakes are one of the most misunderstood snakes in Australia. They’re venomous, though their venom poses little risk to humans, and can reach lengths of over six feet. As their name suggests, their sides and back are black, and their undersides are red or orange-red. Unfortunately, they’re often killed by fearful people, even though they’re harmless to humans. These snakes eat everything from amphibians and reptiles to rodents and fish. They’re known to flee into freshwater when predators come too close.
6. Tiger Snake
Despite their beauty, tiger snakes are one of the deadliest snakes in Australia. They can grow up to six feet long and have narrow heads with black eyes. They’re characterized by alternating black and yellow stripes that run from head to tail. Their diet consists of just about everything small enough to swallow, including rodents, amphibians, and reptiles.
7. Common Death Adder
One of the shortest, thickest-bodied snakes in Australia, the common death adder tops out at around three feet in length. They’re highly venomous, with diets that largely consist of small mammals and birds. Death adders have heavy bodies characterized by alternating bands of light and dark scales that range from brown to gray.
8. Inland Taipan
These snakes are often confused with brown snakes. Inland taipans have one of the deadliest venoms in the world, yet they’re secretive and non-aggressive, and live only in remote areas, so bites to humans are rare. They range in color from light brown to dark brown, with darker heads and necks. They grow to around 6.5 feet in length and eat only small mammals.
9. Pygmy Python
Pygmy pythons grow to a short two feet long. They’re non-venomous and rely on constriction to kill their prey. Pygmy pythons are red to orange in color, with small, dark, regular blotches and orange eyes. They eat small mammals.
10. Black-Headed Python
Black-headed pythons can grow to nearly 11 feet long. Like all pythons, they have heavy bodies with narrow heads. Their bodies are pale brown in color, with subtle, darker markings. Black-headed pythons are so named for the black coloring on their head and neck. These snakes eat mostly reptiles with some small to medium-sized mammals.
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