The 5 Largest Snakes in Australia

Written by Brandi Allred
Updated: June 5, 2022
Image Credit Trent Townsend/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points

  • Number one on this list is the Australian scrub python, which can grow up to 26 feet and over 50 pounds.
  • The top three largest snakes in Australia are all pythons.
  • Number five, the coastal taipan, is one of the most venomous snakes on the planet.

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.

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5. Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)

Most Venomous Snakes - Coastal Taipan
The coastal taipan is one of Australia’s most famous snakes.

Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

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.

Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

Mulga snakes 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.

Jason Benz Bennee/Shutterstock.com

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.

Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

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 also known as the amethystine python.

reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

The largest and longest snake in Australia is the Australian scrub python. These behemoths can attain lengths of over 26 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.

5 Largest Snakes in Australia Summary

RankNameSize
#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

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