About 10 people a day are bitten by snakes in Australia, many of these snake bites tend not to be serious, with only 13% requiring anti-venom treatment in the country. Snakes can be found across the country and come in a variety of sizes, colours, and patterns it is important to recognise the snakes you find to know what action to take.
Why Use a Snake Identification Chart?
There are many different species of snakes within Australia. Some of these are living in the wild habitats around the country, where they will infrequently come into contact with those pursuing outdoor activities like hiking, camping, etc.
However, numerous species can be found inside urban areas, where they can hide in gardens or enter homes.
And coming into contact with any of these species can be high, especially during high activity periods. Knowing what species you’re therefore looking at can help you determine the best course of action, especially if you’re confident enough to move a snake on yourself. But you need to make sure that you can do this safely, which means that you need to determine whether a snake is venomous or not.
And that is why using a snake identification chart can be an important tool.
What are the Main Species of Snakes in Australia?
There are several species of snakes in Australia that you need to be aware of and identify. These are the following.
There are three species in Australia, the Inland Taipan, Coastal Taipan, and the Western Desert Taipan. These snakes can reach lengths of two metres and display a variety of colours, being paler during the summer months but much darker in the winter.
These snakes can be very aggressive and quick. As they are venomous, it is best to stay away from them.
Brown snakes are one of the best-known snakes in the country. There are a total of nine different species, which are distributed throughout the country. Brown snakes are venomous, and cause the most hospitalisations than any other snake, they’re also the second most venomous snake in the world.
Unlike most snakes, they are diurnal (daylight) and can reach more than two metres in length with a brown or black appearance. Their head is usually paler than their body. The snake is more timid, and will usually flee an encounter, only biting when they feel threatened.
There is only one species of tiger snake in Australia, but that one species has lots of local variety that makes it hard to identify. The highly venomous snakes can have very dark colouration with yellow stripes (hence the name), but the majority have no patterns and can range from very dark to pale.
The snake is relatively shorter than other venomous snakes, being at most two metres. One identifiable feature is the flat part of the body at the base of the head. This is a tactic used to mimic cobras as they take a similar form when they raise their head.
There are seven species of death adders in Australia and can be found throughout most of the country. They are venomous snakes but are also fairly small for their large reputation. They are stocky with a wide range of colours depending on their location but tend to have a stripe pattern on them.
The death adder is one of the fastest snakes in the world, but it is also calm. It moves only a little at night, preferring to wait in location and ambush its prey as it gets closer.
There are numerous other snakes that you should be aware of. Pythons are common in Australia, with the Scrub Python, Olive Python, and Carpet Python being common around the country. These snakes are not venomous and are relatively harmless.
These snakes are constrictors, snakes that prefer to coil around their prey, cutting off blood supply to the victim’s heart causing a quick, painless death from heart attack. These snakes are never really the size to threaten a human, even a baby.
Common myths have it that snakes will eat anything. But snakes can be very fussy eaters. They can only consume prey about the same or slightly thicker than their own body, and their prey must be a size or shape to consume easily.
While there is often media hype about snakes being able to eat humans, there are only three recorded cases in history, and these were snakes that reached 6 to 7 metres, far larger than any snake in Australia. They also need to have large body girths.
Therefore, there is little risk to you if you do find a snake and don’t try to move it yourself. If a snake is in your home or garden, it is best to try to see what species it is and then call a professional snake rescuer or pest controller.
Do not try to assess whether the snake has round or slitted pupils. Many people try this tactic to find out whether a snake is poisonous or not. But there are three reasons why this should not be done.
- Snakes are not poisonous, they are venomous. Poisons only affect people who consume them.
- Getting that close to a snake is likely to get you bitten.
- The pupil of the eye is not an indication of them being venomous or not. The pupil shape only demonstrates whether the snake prefers daylight or nighttime.
Final Word: Australian Snake Identification Chart
You might only have a few seconds when looking at a snake, but it's important to consider what snake you’re dealing with. Then when you speak to your local snake control expert, you can provide them with the information they need to ensure that they can safely, quickly, and quietly deal with the snake.
But it is also very important to consider that snakes are less dangerous to humans than we make them out to be. If left alone, snakes will very rarely bite. They prefer to hide from humans.