Do you want to learn about the types of snakes in South Australia?
If so, you have come to the right place. In the article below, I have listed the most common snakes you can expect to see. For each species, you will find out how to identify that snake correctly, along with pictures and interesting facts!
You’ll see that the snakes that live in South Australia are very different from each other. They range from incredibly venomous species to snakes that use constriction to immobilize their prey. In addition, certain snakes are common to find living around people.
19 COMMON types of snakes in South Australia:
#1. Tiger Snake
- Notechis scutatus
Also known as the Mainland Tiger Snake.
- Adults can reach 120 cm (47 in) long. As their name suggests, their bodies are covered by bands resembling tigerskin.
- Morph #1 (Common): Olive, green, or brown with cream-colored crossbands
- Morph #2 (Western): Dark blue or black with yellow bands
- Morph #3 (Chappell Island): Black, brown, or olive with lighter bands
- Morph #4 (King Island and Tasmanian): Deep black with light crossbands or a uniform brown with no banding
- Morph #5 (Southern Peninsulas): Black with white chin and lips
The Tiger Snake is the 4th most venomous snake in South Australia!
Keep a watchful eye out for these snakes while trekking in coastal regions. These ground-dwellers love to bask in the sun or rest under fallen trees. But, incredibly, they’re just as adept at swimming and climbing as they are on the ground.
If cornered, this reptile will lift and flatten its forebody before swiftly striking. It can be aggressive toward humans, so keep your distance.
The bite of a Tiger Snake warrants an immediate trip to the hospital. You may initially experience numbness, profuse sweating, or difficulty breathing if you’re bitten. Unfortunately, victims have only about a 50% survival rate without treatment.
#2. Carpet Python
- Morelia spilota
Also known as the Diamond Python.
- Adults are 200-400 cm (79-157 in) long. Males are smaller than females.
- Their heads are triangular with rounded snouts.
- Their coloring can be olive, yellow, white, brown, or black. They often have blotches, dark borders, or a series of diamonds and streaks.
Lurking in trees at night, the Carpet Python is one of the most common snakes in South Australia. It frequents forests and rocky lowlands, although occasionally, you might find one on the ground basking in the sun.
Rodents, lizards, frogs, and fledgling birds are some of this species’ favorite meals. Additionally, Carpet Pythons are known to eat small dogs and house cats. So, remember to keep your pets inside! These snakes immobilize their prey by coiling their powerful bodies around it and then swallowing it whole. But they can easily use their sharp fangs as a tool, even though they aren’t venomous.
Thankfully, Carpet Pythons are generally harmless to humans. In fact, they’re famous among exotic pet keepers. But be careful! Though usually mild-mannered, these snakes can still deliver a painful bite with fangs that curve backward.
#3. Eastern Brown Snake
- Pseudonaja textiles
Also known as the Common Brown Snake.
- Adults are 150-200 cm (59-79 in) long.
- They have rounded snouts and long, tapered tails.
- Coloration includes shades of brown or olive with pale undersides. Some specimens are dark gray.
This unassuming species is the world’s second-deadliest snake! In addition to being incredibly dangerous, Eastern Brown Snakes are very common in South Australia. This combination means that this species regularly kills more people than any other.
Toxins in the Eastern Brown Snake’s venom will attack your circulatory system, causing internal bleeding and cardiac arrest. And don’t be complacent with juveniles because their venom packs an extra punch. It has less yield, but it’s more potent! Seek medical attention immediately if you’re bitten.
If you spend time in this species’ territory, keep your eyes on the ground and look for their raised heads. Eastern Brown Snakes often poke their heads out of the grass to survey their surroundings. This is how they find skinks, mice, and geckos to feed on. Despite their incredible speed, they prefer not to chase after prey. Instead, these clever snakes wait outside their victims’ burrows and corner them. Then, after a long day of hunting, they retreat into crevices.
#4. Lowlands Copperhead
- Austrelaps superbus
Also known as the Copperhead Snake and Common Copperhead.
- Adults are 100-150 cm (39-59 in) long.
- Their heads are small and narrow, and they have distinct, raised scales.
- They are typically reddish-brown to copper. Some individuals are shades of gray.
You’ll find the highly venomous Lowlands Copperhead near South Australia’s freshwater scrublands, swamps, and marshes. Sometimes, they wander into urban settlements in search of food, so stay alert!
Lowlands Copperheads have a taste for frogs and lizards, but they sometimes cannibalize their own kind. When they’re not hunting, they take refuge in abandoned animal burrows. Unlike other snakes, they can tolerate colder temperatures and are active even during winter.
Though otherwise shy, Lowlands Copperheads will hiss and thrash when approached. Their bites can cause a loss of consciousness, convulsions, and even death. Luckily, the same antivenom used for Tiger Snake bites works just as well against this species. So if you’re bitten, get medical help right away!
#5. Mulga Snake
- Pseudechis australis
Also known as the King Brown Snake.
- Adults grow up to 200-250 cm (79-98 in) long.
- Females are unusually smaller than males.
- They have broad heads, rounded snouts, and bulbous cheeks.
- Their scales are two-toned: brown or copper on top with a contrasting pale underside.
The Mulga snake is the LARGEST venomous snake in South Australia.
You can find this snake in many habitats, from damp tropical forests to dry sandy deserts. Hunting at dusk, it boldly preys on other snakes, including venomous ones!
Don’t go peeking in strange holes! Mulga Snakes take refuge in empty animal burrows and solid rock cavities. They can be relentless when they bite, latching onto unfortunate prey (or people). Their venom destroys blood cells. Bite victims can experience intense pain, severe bleeding, and even death if left untreated.
In terms of temperament, Mulga Snakes seem to differ by region. For example, specimens in the south are timid and will likely only bite as a last resort. On the other hand, Northern individuals can be aggressive and may instantly attack when approached.
#6. Bandy Bandy
- Vermicella annulata
Also known as the Hoop Snake and Eastern Bandy-Bandy.
- Adults are 50-60 cm (20-24 in) long.
- They have small heads and blunt-tipped tails.
- Color patterns are alternating black and white stripes along the snake’s body.
The Bandy Bandy is a small and harmless snake endemic to South Australia.
You can cup them easily in your hands! They live far and wide: from dense forests to arid regions with little vegetation and woodlands near suburbs. These adorable snakes come out in droves on humid nights or after a good rain.
As a nocturnal hunter, the Bandy Bandy spends its day resting in burrows or underneath tree stumps. It has a specialized diet consisting entirely of blind snakes. Funnily, you might spot a Bandy Bandy with prey larger than itself poking out of its mouth. After a full meal, this snake can go for months before eating again.
Bandy Bandy snakes elevate their bodies off the ground in loops when threatened. The reason for this display is unclear, though scientists believe that it confuses predators such as owls.
#7. Children’s Python
- Antaresia childreni
Also known as the Banded Rock Python, Gefleckter Python, Stimsons Python, Large-blotched Python, Small-blotched Python, and Eastern Small-blotched Python.
- Adults are 100-150 cm (39-59 in) long.
- Their coloring is light brown with dark spots and blotches. Their bellies are paler in contrast, and they have a dark-colored streak passing through each eye.
- When hit by sunlight, their skin gives off a rainbow sheen.
The Children’s python is the second smallest python in the world. This night-dwelling reptile lurks in caves and coastal woodlands. Here, the Children’s Python spends its time hunting birds and lizards. Sometimes, you might find one basking in the sun or hiding inside hollowed logs.
Interestingly, Children’s Pythons can hang upside down from stalactites of cave ceilings. They are remarkably skilled at catching bats, speedily grabbing their prey mid-flight. Then, they grip the bats in a crushing hold before swallowing them whole.
Due to their small size, Children’s Pythons are quite popular as pets. Unfortunately, this snake is often taken from its natural habitat in South Australia. Although they are prized as pets, it’s better to observe this species in its natural environment.
#8. Curl Snake
- Suta suta
Also known as the Myall.
- Adults are 40-60 cm (16-24 in) long.
- They have flat heads and broad snouts, and a stripe passes through their snouts, connecting both eyes.
- They are varying shades of brown, but their heads are marked with a dark-colored patch.
Curl Snakes in South Australia inhabit forests and grasslands.
Watch where you’re walking! You never know when one is hiding among the leaf litter. These snakes forage for food at night, then retreat to the safety of rocky crevices when the day breaks.
These reptiles have an appetite for skinks, geckos, and legless lizards. As their name implies, Curl Snakes coil their bodies into a spring to protect their heads when they feel threatened. Unlike most snakes, females of this species give birth to live babies, normally in litters of 1-7.
A bite from the Curl Snake isn’t likely to cause serious damage. However, they are venomous, and little is known about their effects, so seek medical treatment if you get bitten. Thankfully, these snakes are usually calm and tend to avoid humans.
#9. Desert Banded Snake
- Simoselaps bertholdi
Also known as the Southern Desert Banded Snake and Jan’s Banded Snake.
- Adults reach 30 cm (12 in) long on average.
- They have short, blunt-tipped tails and pale faces.
- Their body coloring is brown or orange with dark bands.
Look for Desert Banded Snakes in South Australia in dry habitats.
Though this vibrant reptile is venomous, it’s too tiny for its bite to harm humans significantly. You’ll find them in deserts, shrublands, and wooded areas.
To escape bigger predators, Desert Banded Snakes dig burrows into the sand or hide under shrubs. Active at night, they feed on skinks and legless lizards. They are patient hunters, lying in wait for hours with only their heads poking out of the sand.
Desert Banded Snakes are bashful, non-aggressive creatures that prefer to escape at the first sign of danger. In fact, they rarely bite, even when handled. They spend most of their lives underground. If you find one while digging in your garden, you can leave it to eat pests!
#10. Little Whip Snake
- Parasuta flagellum (synonymous with Suta flagellum)
Also known as the Whip Hooded Snake.
- Adults grow to 45 cm (18 in) long.
- They have a black patch on their heads that resembles a miniature helmet.
- Their coloring ranges from light to dark brown, with cream-colored undersides.
Many consider the Little Whip Snake the cutest snake in South Australia!
It’s a nocturnal species, preying mostly on small frogs and lizards. You’ll find this snake in grassy and wooded regions, hiding under rock slabs to evade predators.
In winter, Little Whip Snakes hibernate in groups to conserve heat. They’re listed as a vulnerable species because of habitat destruction and because domestic cats and dogs hunt them. So if you spot one of these threatened snakes, leave it be.
The venom of the Little Whip Snake is too mild to harm humans seriously. But, of course, that doesn’t mean you can be careless with this snake! Timid as it is, this reptile can still inflict a painful bite if irritated. It might also fling its body and release a foul smell to get you to back off.
#11. Mallee Black-backed Snake
- Parasuta nigriceps
Also known as Mitchell’s Short-Tailed Snake.
- Adults grow up to 40 cm (16 in) long.
- They have a black patch on their heads, from the nape down to the nose.
- They are typically brown-colored, with creamy white undersides.
Mallee Black-backed Snakes are native to South Australia. Normally, you can find them in semiarid savannas and woodlands. Skinks and geckos are their usual prey, but they also engage in cannibalism if given a chance.
Due to their small size, Mallee Black-backed Snakes are vulnerable to predators. To protect themselves, they take cover inside fallen timber and abandoned burrows. Their body coloring also helps them camouflage among dead leaves.
The Mallee Black-backed Snakes’ venom effectively subdues their prey but is harmless to humans. They are extremely docile and unlikely to bite even if you pick them up. However, avoiding them altogether is best because they resemble other venomous species. That’s one identity mix-up you don’t want to make!
#12. Prong-snouted Blind Snake
- Anilios bituberculatus
- Adults are 30-45 cm (12-18 in) long.
- Their heads are indistinct from their bodies, and they have pin-prick eyes and drooping snouts.
- They are shiny brown in color. You might easily mistake them for earthworms!
It’s difficult to find the unusual-looking Prong-snouted Blind Snake in South Australia.
This is an incredibly elusive species whose range isn’t fully known. What we do know is that it can thrive in many habitats, including grassland and coastal regions.
Prong-snouted Blind Snakes are burrowers, spending the majority of their lives underground. They only come out to the surface on warm, humid nights. These clever snakes stay near ant tunnels and termite mounds to hunt down prey. When a group of insects returns to their home, the snake picks them off one by one!
With their unusually-shaped mouths, Prong-snouted Blind Snakes aren’t capable of biting. They’re non-venomous and entirely harmless to humans. Even so, you’d be smart not to poke them. They can expel an offensive odor from their anal glands or use their spined tails to prick you.
#13. Shield-snouted Brown Snake
- Pseudonaja aspidorhyncha
Also known as the Strap-snouted Brown Snake, Longman’s Brown Snake, Gow’s Brown Snake, and McCoy’s Brown Snake.
- Adults are 130-150 cm (51-59 in) long.
- They have narrow heads and chisel-shaped snouts.
- Their bodies are light to medium brown, sometimes grayish. Their bellies are yellow-white.
Shield-snouted Brown Snakes in South Australia prefer dry woodlands and stony deserts.
Keep your eyes open when you’re out for a walk! Sometimes, these reptiles wander into suburban communities. Although primarily active in the daytime, they can adapt to nocturnal life in hotter seasons.
Their diets include small mammals, birds, and lizards. Shield-snouted Brown Snakes have sharp vision and can catch even the slightest of movements. Once they secure a bite, these fast-moving snakes quickly coil around their prey while their venom takes effect.
The bite of a Shield-snouted Brown Snake can be life-threatening. Its venom attacks a person’s nervous system, leading to cardiac arrest in serious cases. Fortunately, this species prefers to flee in the presence of humans. But remember, a cornered snake will not hesitate to strike, so keep your distance!
#14. Western Brown Snake
- Pseudonaja mengdeni
Also known as the Collared Brown Snake and Mengden’s Brown snake.
- Adults grow to 120 cm (47 in) long.
- They are slim-bodied snakes with short heads and round snouts.
- Morph #1: Dull yellow to orange, with dark-colored heads.
- Morph #2: Brown or yellowish. Their heads are pale in contrast.
Western Brown Snakes live in dry woodlands and stony plains in South Australia.
They hunt small lizards, birds, and mammals in broad daylight. Since these reptiles are adept at climbing trees, unattended bird eggs aren’t safe either!
These hawk-eyed hunters can seize their prey in a burst of speed. They hold on with sharp teeth, then wrap around the unlucky victim as the venom does its work. During periods of hot weather, Western Brown Snakes shift to hunting in the nighttime.
A threatened Western Brown Snake will raise its forebody into an S-shaped stance, mouth agape. When it does, it’s best to back away. Though the bite is painless and the fang marks undetectable, the venom is highly potent! Symptoms include internal bleeding, kidney failure, and even death if left untreated.
#15. White-lipped Snake
- Drysdalia coronoides
- Adults grow up to 40 cm (16 in) long. They have slender bodies with tapered tails.
- Their body coloring is light brown to dark olive. Some have orange bellies.
- As their name suggests, they have a prominent white line above their lips. This line runs parallel to a black one, reaching behind their jaws at both sides of the head.
You can find White-lipped Snakes in South Australia near grassy and forested regions.
Impressively, White-lipped Snakes can withstand the bitter cold! You might cross paths with one while hiking on Mount Kosciuszko, the continent’s tallest mountain. Because of their small bodies, these snakes are more agile and can generate heat through movement.
Typically reclusive, White-lipped Snakes will quickly flee if you approach them. Most of the time, their venom is too mild to harm healthy adults. However, some people can be more sensitive to its venom, so getting medical help is still important if you’re bitten.
#16. Yellow-bellied Sea Snake
- Hydrophis platurus
Also known as the Pelagic Sea Snake.
- Adults grow to 70 cm (28 in) in length.
- They have narrow heads, long snouts, and flattened flipper-like tails.
- Their coloring is bright yellow on the belly and deep brown or black above.
Yellow-bellied Sea Snakes are spotted swimming in tropical waters across the Indian Ocean. Stay vigilant while on beach walks, as you’ll almost certainly see this snake in South Australia! They make breeding grounds out of free-drifting masses of sea kelp.
Yellow-bellied Sea Snakes are frighteningly agile while underwater. Capable of swimming backward or changing direction in a split second, they can catch any passing prey. They also stay motionless for hours to trick fish into coming close. In open waters, they sometimes gather and hunt by the thousands.
The Yellow-bellied Sea Snake’s bite is highly venomous. Victims suffer muscle pain and drowsiness, or even complete paralysis and death in the worst cases. Most bites happen on beaches, where the snakes sometimes wash ashore.
#17. Common Death Adder
- Acanthophis antarcticus
Also known as the Common Adder or Death Adder.
- Adults grow up to 65 cm (26 in) long.
- Their tails abruptly taper into a narrow point, and they have broad, triangular heads.
- This species’ coloring is gray to rusty brown, patterned with dark, jagged bands along their lengths.
Common Death Adders have the longest fangs of any snake in South Australia.
Be wary of these deadly snakes, specifically near coastal areas. Their habitats include forests, woodlands, and grassy plains.
Common Death Adders don’t chase after their prey. Instead, they blend into the leaf litter, waiting to lunge on unsuspecting lizards, birds, and small mammals. Additionally, these clever reptiles shake their worm-like tails to lure in their victims.
Common Death Adders will stay perfectly still upon sensing danger and only bite if provoked directly. However, that doesn’t mean you should linger if you spot one! Their venom is a highly potent neurotoxin. It assaults the nervous system, causing dizziness and paralysis. Left untreated, 50-60% of bites are fatal. Seek medical attention immediately if you’re bitten.
- Echiopsis curta
Also known as the Desert Snake.
- Adults are about 40 cm (16 in) long.
- They have thick bodies, very short tails, and broad heads. Look for white flecks on their lips.
- Their coloring is reddish brown to gray, growing lighter at the sides. Their undersides are white or cream.
Be careful where you tread! The Bardick Snake has a knack for camouflaging among dead leaves, so you might accidentally step on one. These reptiles reside in wooded and grassy areas. It’s common to find them flattened out in the grass, basking in the morning sun.
When finding a meal, patience pays off for these sneaky snakes. Instead of tracking down their prey, they stay motionless, waiting for unsuspecting frogs and lizards to come within striking distance. Finally, after a night of hunting, Bardicks return to their dens under fallen trees or flat rocks.
Normally mild-tempered, this species can become surprisingly fierce when provoked. Not much is known about the danger of a Bardick’s bite. However, their venom is similar to that of the deadly Common Death Adder. Stay away!
- Pseudonaja affinis
Also known as the Spotted Brown Snake.
- Adults grow up to 150 cm (59 in) long.
- Their heads are small and indistinct from their necks.
- This species’ coloring is a glossy brown, green, or gray. They occasionally have black scales scattered across their bodies.
Look for the Dugite Snake in South Australia in coastal plains, dunes, and shrublands.
These snakes have become increasingly common in urban settlements where house mice are abundant. Be especially alert during their mating season in October and November.
Dugite Snakes have an ingenious way of catching a meal. First, they infiltrate animal burrows and crevices where lizards rest, blocking off the entrance so their prey can’t escape. Then, once they have it cornered, they bite the prey and swallow it whole. These reptiles mostly forage in the daytime but switch to hunting at night when the weather gets too hot.
Naturally shy, this species will zip to safety if disturbed. But make no mistake! A cornered snake will fight back. Adopting an S-shaped pose, it will loudly hiss before aiming high for a strike. The Dugite is highly venomous, and bites are often deadly. So, bite victims should seek medical help at once.
Do you want to learn more about animals in South Australia?
Check out these other guides!
Which of these snakes have you seen before in South Australia?
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