Snakes in WA

Snakes in WA

Australia has numerous snakes and many of them are in Western Australia. In this article, we will be looking at snakes in Western Australia, including snakes in Perth and the surrounding area. Snake identification in WA shouldn’t be too challenging after seeing some of the information in this article.

Tiger Snake, Western Australia locale (Notechis scutatus)

There are three different local morphs of the Tiger snake. The western, which is the most common in Western Australia is dark blue or black with yellow banks. However, you might also come across the common, which is olive, green, or brown. In addition, there is a Chappell Island or the King Island morph. All of these are 120 cm long.

They are the 4th most venomous snake in Western Australia, and they are often found when people are trekking in coastal regions. They are good climbers and swimmers.

Black-headed Python (Aspidites melanocephalus)

Also known as the Rock Python, Tar Pot Snake, or Terry Tar Pot, this snake is usually up to 200 cm long. They have a very distinctive black head (hence the name) and neck, which turns into a brown or grey body with dark banding.

They are harmless and are often found at night in semiarid regions and coastal forests.

Common Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulatus)

Known by lots of other snakes, this snake is slim-bodied, with whip-like tails. They have large eyes with massively round pupils. They can grow to lengths of up to 170 cm. They tend to have green to olive or black to blue colouring.

Found in temperate forests, the snake is fast and nimble. It would prefer to hide than be seen. It often eats frogs, small fish, and water skinks. Therefore, it can be found close to ponds, lakes, and streams.

Mulga Snake (Pseudechis australis)

One of the longest snakes in Western Australia, growing to 250 cm. Females are usually smaller than males. They have broad heads and rounded snouts.

This is a venomous snake and the largest in the area. It often lives in damp tropical forests, but can also be found in dry sandy deserts. It prefers to hunt at dusk, eating other snakes.

Children’s Python (Antaresia childreni)

A harmless python that is often kept as a pet across the world. They grow to just 100 to 150 cm. They have light brown bodies, with dark spots/blotches. Their bellies are paler in contrast.

This is the second smallest python in the world, coming out after dark to hunt.

Common Keelback (Tropidonophis mairii)

Adults are relatively small, growing to just 75 cm in length. They tend to be grey, brown, or olive. Sometimes these individuals can have dark spots along their backs.

Common keelbacks are harmless to humans. They might be found swimming around creeks or floodplains in Western Australia.

Desert Banded Snake (Simoselaps bertholdi)

Adults reach just 30 cm on average. They have short, blunt-tipped tails and pale faces. They prefer to live in dry habitats.

While this species is venomous, it is considered of little risk to humans. Though if you do get bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Often this snake can be found in deserts, shrublands, and wooded areas.

Mallee Black-backed Snake (Parasuta nigriceps)

Another very small snake, at just 40 cm long. They have a black patch on their heads with a brown-coloured body.

This species is usually found in semiarid savannas and woodlands. They usually hunt other reptiles, but they have been known to be cannibalistic when the need arises.

Olive Python (Liasis olivaceus)

This is one of the longest snakes in Western Australia, reaching lengths of 4 metres. They are heavy-bodied with short tails. They are normally uniformly brown or olive. They tend to prefer living close to fresh water and are great swimmers.

They feed mostly at night and will ambush ducks, wallabies, and monitor lizards. They can take down impressively sized prey and have been known to attack crocodiles. Though these are venomous, they are constrictors.

Orange-naped Snake (Furina ornata)

Another small snake, only growing to 40 cm in length. They are very slender-bodied, with flat heads and round snouts. They are brown and grey with paler undersides.

This snake hides in fallen leaf litter. They often eat small reptiles like geckos and skinks. They tend to have poor balance, which is most noticeable when they try to do a cobra impression, they will often unbalance and fall. Though they are venomous and a bite should always be followed by medical treatment.

Prong-snouted Blind Snake (Anilios bituberculatus)

Short species, at just 30-45 cm long. They have an indistinct head from their body. They are usually brown in colour. They are very elusive, with their full range not understood.

They are a burrowing species, living most of their life underground. So you won’t see them much, even if they are near you.

Water Python (Liasis fuscus)

Another large species of python is found in Western Australia. They can grow to 300 cm long. They have olive to dark brown colouration. They are often found in lowland swamps and river plains. The non-venomous snakes are great swimmers, attempting to catch rodents, waterfowl, and baby crocodiles.

While they are sometimes thought to be docile, sometimes they can be quick to bite.

Western Brown Snake (Pseudonaja mengdeni)

A mid-sized snake, growing to just 120 cm. They are slim-bodied with short heads. They can live in dry woodlands and stony plains in Western Australia.

They hunt during the day, climbing trees to eat unattended bird eggs or hunting lizards, birds, or mammals. They are venomous snakes.

Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (Hydrophis platurus)

A sea snake that can grow to about 70 cm in length. They are bright yellow on their belly and deep brown/black above.

They are usually found swimming in tropical waters. You’re most likely to see this snake while on beach walks. They are highly venomous, with death possible from just a small bite.

Common Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus)

A very dangerous snake, with the longest fangs of any Western Australian snake. They like to live in forests, woodlands, and grassy plains. They hide in leaf litter, springing on their target should they get too close. They prefer to hunt lizards, birds, and small mammals.

They grow to just 65 cm and are experts in camouflage. So be sure that you are looking out for them when walking in their preferred habitat, especially near the coast. More than half of untreated bites will lead to death.

Bardick (Echiopsis curta)

A very small snake, just 40 cm in length. They have thick brown/grey bodies. Another snake will hide among dead leaves on the ground.

They prefer to ambush prey, which is often frogs or small lizards. While not much is known about their venom, it is considered to be close to the venom of a deadly common Death Adder.

Dugite (Pseudonaja affinis)

These snakes are becoming much more common in urban areas. They are glossy brown, green, or grey, while sometimes having black scales across their body. They are relatively large, at 150 cm.

They have a unique way of hunting. They will find the burrow of a prey item, then block off the entrance, limiting the prey’s chance of escape. They usually hunt during the day, but during exceedingly hot weather, can switch to nighttime hunting.

Final Word

Above are 17 species of snakes in Western Australia. Some of these are going to be found more often than others. While some will be seen more often than others, you will need to be more wary of some. Either way, you can mitigate your risk of exposure, as well as put your mind at ease by embedding some vibrating snake repellers around your house as a barrier to these incredible yet nerve-racking creatures.

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