A Britton's Guide
to the Gold Coast

"A Briton's Guide to getting to know the Gold Coast"

Snakes on the Gold Coast

We strongly suggest that you never ever try to play with, get close to have a look or antagonise any snake. This could have very serious consequences including death. If you see a snake then please contact one of our contributors immediately on the numbers provided below.

We have compiled this information with the help of our very generous friends at Australia Zoo and Snake Catchers Brisbane and Pommie Pythons. Where you see their logo, name or picture of the snake, you will be taken directly to where the information was collected. We believe in living alongside the nature that this beautiful place has to offer us and believe it is important that you learn to live with them instead of in fear of them.

We hope that this information helps you to properly understand each animal and assists you to know where they may be more populated and to properly identifying them should you come into contact.

For more information on these contributors, look them up in our business directory!

BRISBANE and SURROUNDS

Bryan 0413 028 081
or
Steph 0421 455 077
 

 

GOLD COAST

Andy: 0421 164 591

 

FIRST AID

(click links below to access information)

From Snake Catchers Brisbane

From Pommie Pythons

 

Coastal Taipan

Extremely Venomous (Often Regarded as the most venomous snake in Australia)

Bites from this species have caused human fatalities. A nervous, ready biter it will defend itself with multiple strikes if threatened. Often referred to as Australia's most dangerous snake. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.

Taipans can grow to be three metres in length, making them Australia's largest venomous snake. The common name for this snake is the Coastal Taipan. The Taipan is usually an unmarked light olive to dark russet brown colour, with the exception of some specimens from the Tully area in North-east Queensland, where they have been found almost black in colour.

The head is usually lighter in colour than the rest of the body with a pink mouth and a reddish eye. The Taipan is a stealthy hunter with an extraordinarily fast and accurate bite. The Taipan usually restricts its activity on the surface to the mid-morning. It may extend or change this to include late afternoon in cooler weather, in hot weather it is nocturnal.

Habitat: The Taipan lives in grasslands, coastal heaths, grassy beach dunes and cultivated areas such as cane fields in the far north of Australia and down the Queensland coast, but has also been found in Northern New South Wales

Around the home: The discovery of a Taipan around the home would be considered an extremely rare occurrence within South East Qld. Correspondence with licensed snake relocators across the known distribution of the species have not accounted for a single specimen within a residential property over the past 20 years. However the recent discovery of a specimen at Pullenvale by Snake Catchers Brisbane in December 2011 constitutes the first reliable record by a snake catcher for the South East.

 

Common Death Adder

Extremely Venomous 

Bites from this species have caused human fatalities. A ready biter only if harassed. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.

Short, thick body with distinct large triangular head. Narrow neck and abruptly short, thin tail, usually cream or black. Colour variable, generally shades of grey to reddish-brown with irregular cross-banding. Belly greyish-cream with dark flecks. Lips usually barred or striped. Scales may be roughish or weakly keeled. Midbody scales at 21 -23 rows.

Habitat: Remnant or established eucalypt forest, woodland with grassy understorey and good leaf cover. Rock outcrops and ridgelines are often associated with preferable habitat.

Nocturnal, secretive and highly cryptic it lies half-buried in substrate to ambush prey often using its tail tip to attract prey. 

Around the home: The specific nature of required habitat makes encounters a rare event. However, the species preference for heavy leaf litter may see it turn up in forested gardens near suitable habitat.

 

 

Eastern Brown Snake

Highly Venomous 

The Eastern Brown Snake is usually orange-brown in colour, but variations from light to dark brown colour to an almost black are also found. Their belly is a light cream colour, often with orange blotches. They possess a small blunt head. Some juvenile snakes may also have dark head markings and may even be banded. The Eastern Brown Snake rates number two on the world's most venomous snake list.

Habitat: The Eastern Brown Snake is found all the way along the east coast of Australia, from the tip of Cape York, along the coasts and inland ranges of NSW, VIC and SA. Some specimens can be found in arid areas of the NT. There are also very limited numbers in Eastern Papua New Guinea. The Eastern Brown Snake occupies a varied range of habitats from wet to dry sclerophyll forests (Eucalypt forests) and heaths of coastal ranges, through to savannah woodlands, inner grasslands and arid scrublands. The Eastern Brown snake is diurnal, which means it is active during the day, especially on warm sunny days where it will bask in the sun. This snake is possibly Eastern Australia's most frequently encountered venomous snake.

                                                                                    (Picture from Snake Catchers Brisbane)

 

Red Bellied Black Snake

Highly Venomous 

The venomous Red-Bellied Black Snake grows to lengths of up to two metres long, and has striking colouration. With stunning red edges to its belly scales and a shiny black back, this snake surely ranks amongst Australia's most stunning venomous snakes. The Red-Bellied Black snake is most active during the day, although they may also be seen on hotter evenings.

 

Habitat: The Red-Bellied Black Snake can be found inhabiting most forest types near permanent watercourses or swamps in eastern and south-east Australia.

Around the home: Could be typically associated with ground refugia such as timber piles, sheet iron, rock walls and heavy vegetation. Has been recorded climbing to take frogs from eves of homes but this is rarely encountered. A large freshly sloughed Black snake is truly a beautiful snake often even appreciated by self confessed snake despisers. 

 

Spotted Python

 Not Venomous

Often referred to as Pygmy Pythons, Spotted Pythons belong to a group of snakes that grow to lengths of only 1.3 metres. They are one of Australia’s smallest Pythons. Spotted Pythons are boldly patterned with a dark body and lateral blotches.
Habitat: The Spotted Python is a nocturnal species of snake found in woodlands and shrubs and often in the vicinity of rocky outcrops and caves of the coastal areas of Queensland and northern New South Wales.

 

 Woma Python

 Not Venomous

Growing to lengths of 3 metres, the Woma Python has an orange head and a light tan coloured body with darker bands. 

Habitat: The Woma Python inhabits South Western Queensland, Central Australia and parts of Western Australia. They will normally be seen residing in grasslands, shrubland and woodlands. They often take shelter in animal burrows where they will create a depression in the sand in which to shelter.

 

Spotted Black Snake

(Blue Bellied-Black Snake)

Highly Venomous 

Highly venomous. Will inflate and flatten the body and neck in an effort to intimidate a perceived aggressor. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.

Heavy build with wide head, smooth scales. Variable colour but typically dark grey to black with scattered paler scales, giving speckled effect. Belly grey to blue-grey. Midbody scales at 19 rows.

Habit: Open forest, grassland, floodplains, pasture and agricultural areas. Will shelter in deep cracks in black soil. Active day and night.

Around the home: Could be typically associated with ground refugia such as timber piles, sheet iron, rock walls and heavy vegetation. Frequently encountered around homes west of Toowoomba where its numbers appear greatest. 

 

 Eastern (or Australian) Small Eyed Snake

 Highly Venomous

Bites from this species have caused one human fatality. Will bite readily and thrash about if handled. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.

Small black eyes barely discernible from surrounding dark scales. Colour generally glossy dark grey to black with cream or pink belly, sometimes with dark spots. Belly colour does not extend up onto sides, and is not visible as it is on the Red-bellied Black Snake. Midbody scales at 15 rows. 

Habitat: Range of habitats but generally requires presence of leaf and ground litter such as fallen branches and logs. Shelters under rocks, logs, sheets of bark etc during day.

Around the home: The Small-eyed Snake is infrequently encountered with snake relocators turning up only a small number every year. Could be typically associated with ground refugia such as timber piles, sheet iron, rock walls and heavy vegetation. 

 

Rough-scaled Snake/Clarence River Snake

Highly Venomous

 Bites from this species have caused human fatalities. Reclusive disposition but will inflate and flatten the body and neck in an effort to intimidate a perceived aggressor. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.

Brown to olive with narrow, irregular cross-bands or blotches of darker brown. Belly surfaces greenish-grey or olive-cream often with darker blotches. Midbody scales have a raised keel or carinated appearance. Coloration and scale structure has led to some confusion with the non venomous Keelback Snake (Tropidonophis mairii) which differs in having a loreal scale present and usually more defined keels on each scale. Midbody scales at 23 rows.  

Habitat: Predominately moist areas within forest at altitude although small populations may persist in some moist lowland localities.

Around the home: Encounters with a Rough-scaled Snake around the home have been recorded by a local snake handler servicing the Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo area. Snakes were encountered on a front verandah and on a shelf in a kitchen. Could be typically associated with ground refugia such as timber piles, sheet iron, rock walls and heavy vegetation. The climbing ability of the species may see it utilise roof cavities in search of geckoes and frogs. 

 

Pale-Headed Snake

Potentially Dangerous

One serious case with severe symptoms has been reported, after bite by a larger specimen. Apply correct first aid and seek medical attention.

Head relatively broad & distinct from neck. Normally grey to dark-grey with broad, pale grey or whitish band across back of head & neck, bordered behind with narrower dark or black band before body colour. Pale head area frequently has black blotches and lips may have black & pale bars. Belly pale grey. Midbody scales at 19-21 rows. 

Habitat: Wide range of habitats but generally forests, often near watercourses. Good climber, partly arboreal. Shelters in tree hollows and under loose, peeling bark. Nocturnal, often foraging on rough-barked trees.

Around the home: The Pale-headed Snake is rarely associated with suburban environs but it may utilise structures in rural and urban settings in proximity to favored habitat. 

 

Black Striped Snake

Mildly Venomous

 COMING SOON

 

Brown Tree Snake

Mildly Venomous

Conjecture surrounds the toxicity of this species with most authorities regarding it as a minimal risk to all but young children.Slender-bodied snake with a distinctly bulbous head well defined from a narrow neck. Large eyes with vertical pupils. Upper brown to reddish-brown or even dark orange, with irregular, indistinct darker cross-bands. Belly creamy, apricot or orange. Central row of mid-body scales running down the centre of the back larger than surrounding mid body scales. Maintains a strong defensive "S" shaped posture. Midbody scales at 19 -23 rows.

Habitat: Occupies a wide range of habitats from rainforest, wet and dry forests, woodland, heathland, melaleuca swamps and rocky outcrops, through to suburban backyards and gardens. Nocturnal, generally shelters during the day.

Around the home: Skilled climber and is often found in the heavy foliage of trees and shrubs, in roofs, rafters and other above-ground environs. Commonly encountered when exploiting caged birds for an easy meal. 

 

White Crowned Snake

Weakly Venomous

Not considered dangerous to humans. All crowned snakes are reluctant biters, relying more on bluff display than bite. They are weakly venomous and have tiny mouths and short fangs. They will generally rear up & 'mock strike' with mouth closed, more of a 'head butt'. If bitten, as with any snake bite, apply correct first aid and seek medical attention. Smallish snake, with small eyes. Body generally dark steely-grey both upper & belly. Distinctive 'crown'; broad (at least 4 scales width) white or pale yellowish band on nape of the neck extends forward around sides of head to meet at snout, enclosing an oval- or diamond-shaped black patch on the top of head. Midbody scales at 15 rows.

Habitat: Moist sheltered areas within forests, woodlands and heathland. Secretive, nocturnal snakes. Hunts day-active skinks in leaf-litter at night while they are sleeping. Primarily terrestrial. Shelters by day in moist litter, under rocks, and logs.

Around the home: Compost heaps, moist garden areas with abundant leaf-litter, and around rockeries provide ideal habitat. Often discovered by roaming cats at night.

 

Carpentaria Whip Snake

Mildly Venomous

All bites should still be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid. Generally light to dark brown with scales tipped anteriorly with darker spot. Stoutish tail with a white to cream belly. Midbody scales at 15 rows.

Habitat: Favours dry woodland vegetation communities. Found crossing roads in farmland areas in the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs. Appears predominantly nocturnal to crepuscular.

Around the home: The habitat preference of this species would see it occur mainly within rural properties containing favoured localities.

 

Yellow-Faced Whip Snake

Potentially Dangerous

 Potentially Dangerous. especially if children involved. Bite may cause localised pain & severe symptoms. Apply correct first aid and seek medical attention. 

Very slender snake with long, thin whip-like tail. Large prominent eyes. Colour generally pale olive or bluish-grey, often with rusty flush or longitudinal stripes along front-third of body. Belly grayish-green, often yellowish under tail. Distinctive face markings. Obvious pale cream or yellow rim around eye, with dark comma-shaped marking curving back below eye. Dark bar or line with pale edges runs across front of snout from nostril-to-nostril. Scales smooth. Midbody scales at 15 rows.

Habitat: Dry open areas, open forest, woodland, grassland and a frequent species around homes.

Around the home: Frequently seen and commonly enters homes during active foraging efforts. Apparently common due to the high densities of favored skink prey. Will utilise a range of ground localities for refugia including constructed rock and sleeper retaining walls, under rocks, sheets of iron, timber piles and other discarded human litter. Nine individuals were captured under one piece of plastic in a Goodna backyard along side an Eastern Brown Snake. Frequent victim of roaming suburban cats. 

 

Red Naped Snake

Mildly Venomous

Virtually harmless and not considered significant. Weakly venomous but considered harmless due to inoffensive nature and reluctance to bite. Small smooth snake with a reddish brown dorsal coloration. Individual scales appear outlined in black. Head has a distinct red spot enclosed in black extending over the entire head and down the neck. The underside of the head is white which extends into a white belly.

Habitat: Favours drier forest, woodland and grassland areas.

Around the home: Found in backyard swimming pools after falling in during nocturnal foraging movements. Often the victim of roaming cats. Will utilise a range of ground localities for refugia including constructed rock and sleeper retaining walls, under rocks, sheets of iron, timber piles and other discarded human litter. Six individuals were found aggregated in a crack of concrete beneath a linoleum floor covering in Coalfalls, Ipswich.

 

Lesser Black Whip Snake

Potentially Dangerous

 Larger specimens can be potentially dangerous especially if children involved. Bite may cause localised pain & severe symptoms. Apply correct first aid and seek medical attention.

Slender body with long finely tapering tail. Large prominent eye. Colour rich dark brown through reddish brown to dark grey, often reddish-brown flush towards tail. Body has pattern of black and white flecks or spots caused by dark and light markings on individual scales. Top of head usually has dark brown spots & flecks, and narrow, pale edge around eye. Belly greenish-grey. Scales smooth. Midbody scales at 15 rows. 

Habitat: Mainly dry open areas, open forest & grassland, coastal heath.

Around the home: Infrequently encountered with very few recorded by snake handlers in the region. Would be typically associated with ground refugia such as timber piles, sheet iron, rock walls and heavy vegetation. 

 

Marsh Snake

Mildly Venomous

Bites from this species have been known to cause severe local symptoms such as pain & swelling, with more general reactions such as headaches and nausea also recorded. All bites should still be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid. Fairly uniform brown, olive or black above with dark grey or black belly surface. Two prominent narrow pale-yellowish stripes on each side of face, one running from snout, through eye and onto neck area, & one below eye running from snout to corner of mouth. In juveniles the head is often darker than the body. Scales smooth. Midbody scales at 17 rows.

Habitat: Rainforest & moist well-vegetated areas such as wet sclerophyll forest, margins of creeks, dams, wetlands & low-lying seasonally flooded areas.

Around the home: May be found in damp or moist gardens under timber, sheets of iron & foraging amongst thick vegetation.

 

Bandy Bandy

Mildly Venomous

 


Weakly venomous with localised symptoms around bite area. Generally considered harmless due to small size of mouth & inoffensive nature. Smooth scaled, glossy snake with distinctive pattern of sharply contrasting black and white rings that continue right around the body. Snout black, rounded. Short, blunt tail. Small eyes. Midbody scales at 15 rows
.

Habitat: Founds across a wide range of habitats and vegetation types, from coastal forest & woodland, to scrubland, mulga and outback desert.

Around the home: Infrequently encountered. Occasional specimens discovered by roaming cats at night or often found after falling into backyard swimming pools. Prefers subterranean refugia under large rocks or deeply set ground timber.

 

 Rain Forrest Crowned Snake
 COMING SOON
 

 

Common Tree Snake

Non - Venomous

 Inoffensive and bites infrequently. Emits a strong odor from the cloaca if handled firmly. Sleek slender body with long, very thin tail. Distinctive ridge extends along outer edges of belly making shed skins easily identifiable. Wide colour ranges from green, olive, brown & black to rare blue-grey on upper body. Belly yellow or creamy, with bright yellow present on throat. Some specimens with blue or grey belly but generally maintain the yellow coloration above the ventral ridges. Skin between the scales when spread show as a light sky blue especially after consuming a meal larger than its body diameter or when defensive. Eye appears large comparative to head. Midbody scales at 11 -13 rows (rarely 15).

Habitat: Wide range of habitats from the periphery of rainforest, wet sclerophyll forests, dry woodland, farmland, and suburban backyards and gardens throughout the region.

Around the home: Probably the most common species to enter homes. Generally above ground environs such as heavy foliage of trees and shrubs, exposed beams of verandahs and pergolas, sheds and garages. Fast-moving and hard to see in heavy cover. Have exploited the abundant supply of Asian house Geckoes, high densities of skinks and presence of frogs in continually watered localities associated with suburban environments thus accounting for there frequency around homes. 

 

Keelback

Non - Venomous

Reluctant to bite but will if handled firmly. Generally strikes with mouth closed. Emits a strong odor from the cloaca if handled firmly. Variable colouring but typically various shades of grey, brown or olive with irregular, broken cross-bands or flecks of darker brown and flecks of paler creamy colour. Belly surfaces cream or pale rusty colour with dark scale edges. Feature is each scale has a distinct raised longitudinal ridge or 'keel', giving the whole snake an appearance of parallel ridges down length of body. Assumably confused with the highly venomous Rough-scaled Snake (Tropidechis carinatus) which lacks a loreal scale and whose keeling of the scales is less defined. Midbody scales at 15 (rarely 17) row.

Habitat: Common in moist localities within wet and dry forest environments. Persists along riparian margins and associated drainage lines well into farmland and suburban localities.

Around the home: Forages beneath low vegetation, logs, woodpiles, water features & moist areas etc, where potential prey may be found. Has been noted to exploit small fish in constructed backyard ponds. 

 

Australian Coral Snake

Weakly Venomous

Virtually harmless and not considered medically important. Weakly venomous but considered harmless due to inoffensive nature and reluctance to bite. Small, smooth glossy snake, with numerous narrow ragged-edge bands of reddish-brown through orange-red to coral-pink, between narrow bands of creamy pale scales with dark edges. Black blotch or bar on head & broad black bar across neck. Belly bright creamy white. Tip of snout has sharp, upturned cutting edge (or rostral scale) which is used for burrowing. Midbody scales at 17 rows.
Habitat: Found in wide variety of habitats but especially where dry, sandy soils occur.
Around the home: Infrequently encountered. Most specimens discovered in backyard swimming pools after falling in during nocturnal movements. 

 

Carpet Pythons

Non-Venomous

 

This beautiful non-venomous python’s thick body has patterns which are blotchy yellow and black. This species of python is a very familiar face for locals who live near Australia Zoo. The Carpet Python is totally harmless despite its potential to reach lengths of up to 3.5 metres. It is usually active at night and spends most of the day coiled up in a tree or rafter, or stretched out basking in an open area.
 Habitat: Carpet Pythons can be found in habitats ranging from tropical rainforest in the north-east of Australia to arid and coastal regions. Pythons from different habitats tend to have their own unique colouration. The species is currently divided into six distinct subspecies. The local subspecies that can be seen around Australia Zoo (pictured right) is Morelia spilota mcdowelli.

 

Blind Snake

Non - Venomous

Inoffensive but some species may release a strong odour when handled. A worm like appearance with colour varying from pink through to black often with a white to cream ventral surface. Scales are very smooth with a distinctive blunt tail. The eyes appear as a dark spot and are covered by scales. With the tail has a short spine.

Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats from dry woodland to rainforest at elevation.

Around the home: Due to its restricted above ground movement and cryptic nature blind snakes are rarely seen around suburban homes. Only two specimens have been located by a snake relocator in the Western suburbs of Brisbane over the past 16 years, both brought to the residents attention by domestic cats. 

 

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