The 5 Largest Snakes in Australia

largest snakes in Australia

Written by Brandi Allred

Updated: October 18, 2023

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Australia is home to some of the most dangerous animals on earth, including the saltwater crocodile, the blue-ringed octopus, and the box jellyfish. Australia is also home to many species of snake, some of them non-venomous, like the Australian scrub python, and some of them incredibly venomous, like the inland taipan. But what are the five largest snakes in Australia?

Snakes are limbless reptiles that rely on the heat of the sun to warm their bodies. Because they rely so heavily on warmth and sunlight, they’re not found in places like Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, and Ireland. In many places, snakes go into hibernation, or brumation, during the cold winter months, becoming active in the summer and fall. In Australia, however, snakes don’t have to worry about long, cold winters.

Here, we’ll learn more about five of the biggest snakes living in the land down under. For each species, we’ll cover their size, appearance, location, behavior, and diet.

By the end of this article, you’ll know all about the five largest snakes in Australia.

Infographic of Largest Snakes in Australia
The Australian Scrub Python is the largest snake in Australia and measures 26 feet and 50 pounds.

5. Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)

Most Venomous Snakes - Coastal Taipan

The coastal taipan is one of Australia’s most famous snakes.

Coastal Taipans have some of the most potent venoms in the world. They are one of the largest snakes in Australia, measuring in at up to 9.5 feet long and weighing up to 15 pounds. Though, most coastal taipans only grow to around six feet long. They’re uniformly brown to red-brown, with pale undersides and red eyes.

As their name suggests, coastal taipans live along the coasts of northern Australia and southern New Guinea. They prefer tropical or semi-tropical areas with plenty of forest or scrub cover. They can inhabit grassy hills, rainforests, and drier wooded areas.

Coastal taipans are shy snakes but don’t hesitate to bite in self-defense. They eat mostly birds and small and medium-sized mammals, like rats and bandicoots

4. King Brown Snake/Mulga Snake (Pseudechis australis)

mulga snake

The mulga snake is one of the most widespread venomous snakes in Australia.

Mulga snakes, also known as the king brown snake, may not be the biggest snakes in Australia, but they’re certainly one of the most feared. They grow up to 11 feet long, weighing over ten pounds, with slender, smooth-scaled bodies that range from dark brown to pale red and green. They come equipped with deadly venom that works best on prey. There are no recorded fatalities from mulga snake bites.

These snakes live all over Australia, with the exceptions of Victoria and Tasmania. They’re often found near sources of water but do well in a wide variety of habitats, including wooded areas, deserts, and scrublands. Mulga snakes do most of their hunting at dawn and dusk. Their diet consists mainly of amphibians and reptiles, as well as small birds and mammals.

3. Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)

Coastal Carpet Python

Carpet pythons are non-venomous and present little danger to humans.

One of the largest snakes in Australia, carpet pythons can grow to 13 feet long and weigh over 30 pounds. Their base color is olive green to yellow-brown, with highly varied darker brown markings along the length of their bodies. Often, the markings occur in regular patterns with black rings encircling yellow scales. Carpet pythons have large, triangular heads with elliptical eyes similar to those of vipers, like rattlesnakes.

Carpet pythons live throughout the forested areas of Australia, avoiding the arid desert regions. They’re both terrestrial and arboreal and eat reptiles, birds, and small to medium-sized mammals. Like many species of python, carpet pythons are highly prized among snake enthusiasts, though their large size puts off all but the most dedicated of snake owners.

2. Olive Python (Liasis olivaceus)

Olive Python

Olive pythons look very similar to the much more dangerous mulga snake and are consequently often killed by humans out of fear.

One of the largest snakes in Australia is the olive python. They grow to lengths of 13 feet or more and weigh up to 50 pounds. They have heavy bodies with smooth, olive, or emerald coloring. Like all pythons, their heads are long and narrow, with large, flexible jaws designed for swallowing large prey whole.

These snakes live in a few restricted areas of northern Australia, as well as one small part of Western Australia. Olive pythons prefer to stick close to sources of water and can often be found slithering along rocks or in caves and crevices. They’re popular as pets, though they’re not recommended for new snake owners, as their size can be overwhelming. In the wild, they consume a varied diet of birds, reptiles, and small to medium-sized mammals.

1. Australian Scrub Python (Simalia kinghorni)

Australian Scrub Python

The Australian scrub python is sometimes confused with the amethystine python.

The largest and longest snake in Australia is the Australian scrub python. These behemoths can attain lengths of up to 20 feet and weigh more than 50 pounds.

Their base color is generally tan or light brown, with variegated dark brown markings along the sides and back. The undersides, including the chin, tend to be white or yellow-white. Scrub pythons have flat heads and round eyes with large nostril openings.

As one of the largest snakes in Australia, scrub pythons live in northern Australia, as well as parts of Indonesia. They’re forest dwellers who depend on their bulk to bring down prey. Scrub pythons eat a variety of small mammals, birds, and reptiles. They dispatch their prey using constriction before swallowing them whole with their highly flexible jaws.

Australian scrub pythons aren’t known for just their size. They’re also famous for their protective egg-rearing behavior. Females lay clutches of up to 20 eggs. After laying their eggs, they guard the nest, going so far as to lay on or near the eggs to keep them warm.

Summary of the 5 Largest Snakes in Australia

RankSnakeSize
1Australian Scrub Python (Simalia kinghorni)26 feet and 50 pounds
2Olive Python (Liasis olivaceus)13 feet and 50 pounds
3Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)13 feet and 30 pounds
4King Brown Snake/Mulga Snake (Pseudechis australis)11 feet and 10 pounds
5Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)9.5 feet and 15 pounds

What Animals Are Found in Australia?

Red female kangaroo with a joey in a pocket, Macropus rufus, on the red sand of outback central Australia.

One of the most famous Australian animals is the

kangaroo

, instantly recognizable due to its long tail and powerful legs.

Australia is known for its unique and diverse wildlife, with many species found nowhere else on Earth. From iconic marsupials to venomous snakes, Australia’s animal kingdom is both fascinating and diverse.

One of the most famous Australian animals is the kangaroo, a marsupial that is instantly recognizable thanks to its long tail and powerful legs. Other marsupials found in Australia include wallabies, wombats, and Tasmanian devils.

In addition to marsupials, Australia is home to many other unique animals, such as the echidna, a spiny anteater that lays eggs, and the platypus, a semi-aquatic mammal with a duck-like bill. Australia is also home to many species of birds, including parrots, cockatoos, and emus.

However, Australia’s wildlife isn’t just cute and cuddly. The country is also home to some of the world’s deadliest animals, such as the saltwater crocodile and various species of venomous snakes, spiders, and jellyfish. It’s important to take precautions when encountering these animals, such as avoiding swimming in areas where crocodiles are known to live and wearing protective clothing when hiking in areas with venomous snakes.

What Is the Largest Snake Ever Recorded?

Reticulated python in front of white background

Reticulated pythons are huge snakes and often require an extra person to help handle adults.

Now that we have looked at all the large snakes that can be found down under, let us find out what snake holds the record for the rest of the world. The snake breed that is the largest is the reticulated python, which is normally found living in the wild in Southeast Asia. They dwell in areas of rainforest, grasslands, and other wooded areas.

While reticulated pythons have an average length of around twenty to twenty-one feet, the record for the largest eclipses those numbers!

In the early 1900s, one of these pythons was located and measured to the astonishing length of thirty-two and eight-tenths feet!

With that kind of length, what kind of weight do these great snakes have? The record for the heaviest reticulated python reached amazingly close to five hundred pounds!

Here are 4 Large Snakes That Did Not Make the List!

#SnakeSize
1Oenpelli Python13 ft and 30 lbs
2Inland Taipan7 ft and 3.5 lbs
3Woma Python9 ft and 13 lbs
4Elegant Sea Snake8.5 ft and Unlisted Weight

The Oenpeli Python is also known as the Oenpelli rock python. They can be found in the Arnhem Land section of Australia, and these snakes lay overly large eggs compared to other pythons. Most notably, the Oenpeli python is great at hiding because it can change its skin color!

The Inland Taipan, also known as the fierce snake, halfway lives up to its name because its venom is extremely dangerous to humans, but they tend to be a little bit shy and not aggressive when compared to the Coastal Taipan, say. They are found in the east-central region of the country.

Woma Pythons are one of the non-venomous snakes on our list; however, they are very good at constricting and even squishing any prey that venture into the walls of their nests or burrows.

The Elegant Sea Snake finishes off the additional list. These reptiles can be found in different areas of Australia including Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia. Being a sea snake, these snakes have nostril valves to help them dive underwater.

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About the Author

Brandi is a professional writer by day and a fiction writer by night. Her nonfiction work focuses on animals, nature, and conservation. She holds degrees in English and Anthropology, and spends her free time writing horror, scifi, and fantasy stories.

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