Do you want to learn about the types of snakes in Western 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 Western 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.
17 COMMON types of snakes in Western 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 Western 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. Black-headed Python
- Aspidites melanocephalus
Also known as the Rock Python, Tar Pot Snake, and Terry Tar Pot.
- Adults are 150-200 cm (59-79 in) long.
- They have muscular bodies that taper towards their tails.
- They have distinctive black-colored heads and necks as if dipped head-first into ink.
- Their bodies are usually shades of brown and gray with dark banding.
You can find this unique-looking snake in semiarid regions and coastal forests of northern Western Australia. Active at night, Black-headed Pythons rest in crevasses and dead wood in the daytime. They do this to hide from predatory birds.
The Black-headed Python’s diet consists of other reptiles, even cannibalizing its own species. Given a chance, they will even prey on highly venomous snakes! If you get too close, this snake will loudly hiss as a warning. Thankfully, it’s non-venomous and harmless to humans.
Did you know that dark colors are efficient at absorbing heat? Black-headed Pythons use this trait to their advantage. These pythons poke out their ink-black heads at daybreak to soak in the sun’s rays like a solar panel. The heated blood then travels to the rest of their bodies, keeping the snakes warm without leaving their burrows.
#3. Common Tree Snake
- Dendrelaphis punctulatus
Also known as the Australian Tree Snake, Green Tree Snake, Common Bronzeback, and Black Treesnake.
- Adults can reach 170 cm (67 in) in length. They are slim-bodied with tapering, whip-like tails.
- Their eyes are remarkably large with round pupils.
- Coloring varies from green to olive or black to blue. Their throats and bellies are pale tan or yellow.
The Common Tree Snake is native to Western Australia. But don’t blink, or you’ll miss this small and nimble snake! It thrives in temperate forests, wetlands, and suburban backyards.
With an appetite for frogs, small fish, and water skinks, Common Tree Snakes stay close to bodies of water. They hunt during the day and then rest inside tree hollows by night. They have excellent vision and are very alert, ready to run away at the first sign of danger.
Being small and non-venomous, the Common Tree Snake poses no threat to humans. It will, however, make itself appear bigger by inflating its neck as a warning to back away. Then, the snake might emit a strong odor to disorient you. Hold your breath!
#4. 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 Western 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.
#5. 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 Western Australia. Although they are prized as pets, it’s better to observe this species in its natural environment.
#6. Common Keelback
- Tropidonophis mairii
Also known as Mair’s Keelback.
- Adults are 50-75 cm (20-30 in) in length.
- Their bodies are gray, brown, or olive with cream-colored undersides. Some specimens have patterns of dark spots along their backs.
Despite their resemblance to other deadly species, Common Keelbacks are harmless to humans. You might see one swimming by if you linger around creeks and floodplains in Western Australia. If you try to approach, this snake will flee quickly into the safety of burrows or waterlogged plants.
Common Keelbacks are equipped with a variety of survival adaptations. First, they can adjust to being active at night or during the day, depending on seasonal temperatures. Next, their keeled scales help them move across slippery surfaces like mud and wet grass. Finally, they have sharp, angled teeth, which help them latch onto slippery prey.
The diets of Common Keelbacks include amphibians, fish, and lizards. Interestingly, they are one of the few animals that can feed on poisonous Cane Toads.
#7. 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 Western 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!
#8. 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 Western 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!
#9. Olive Python
- Liasis olivaceus
- Adults can exceed 400 cm (157 in) in total length.
- They are heavy-bodied with fairly short tails and small scales.
- Their coloring is uniformly brown to olive, with paler bellies.
The Olive Python is one of the largest snakes in Western Australia.
They tend to live close to sources of freshwater. In fact, this land-dwelling snake is also a capable swimmer! You might also find this species in rocky gorges and coastal woodlands.
Foraging for food at night, Olive Pythons like to camp out near watering holes. Here, they ambush unwary ducks, wallabies, and monitor lizards. Impressively, larger individuals can even take down crocodiles! But, like all pythons, they’re non-venomous, so they kill their prey by wrapping them up in a crushing grip.
Despite their fearsome size and appearance, Olive Pythons are actually gentle creatures. Experienced snake handlers describe them as curious and friendly. Regardless, it’s best to observe caution when walking in their habitat. They have lightning-fast reflexes, and their bites can be painful. Watch your fingers!
#10. Orange-naped Snake
- Furina ornata
Also known as the Moon Snake.
- Adults grow up to 40 cm (16 in) long. They are slender-bodied snakes with flat heads and round snouts.
- Their coloring is brown and gray, growing paler near their undersides.
- They have black faces and a bright orange patch at the base of their heads.
Keep your eyes open! This snake hides among fallen leaves in Western Australia in forests and scrublands. The Orange-naped Snake can also survive in deserts, hiding deep within abandoned burrows. When night falls, you might find one chasing down geckos or creeping toward sleeping skinks.
When confronted, Orange-naped Snakes raise their heads high off the ground, imitating a cobra. However, they aren’t quite as intimidating. Some specimens even have a poor sense of balance, tumbling down clumsily into a heap when they elevate their heads too high.
In general, Orange-naped Snakes are timid creatures. They don’t usually bite, preferring to strike with their mouths shut if you get too close. Though they’re venomous, not much is known about the potency of their venom. So, keep your distance and seek medical attention if you get bitten.
#11. 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 Western 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.
#12. Water Python
- Liasis fuscus
Also known as the Australian Water Python and Brown Water Python.
- Adults grow up to 300 cm (118 in) long.
- Their heads are flat and fairly elongated, rounding towards the snout.
- The body coloring is olive to dark brown, with a yellowish underside.
Water Pythons are abundant in lowland swamps and river plains. Their beautiful iridescent scales reflect a rainbow of colors when hit by light. This snake in Western Australia is fabled to be the source of the story of a “Rainbow Serpent” believed to have brought life to Australia’s valleys and rivers.
These snakes are fantastic swimmers. Upon sensing danger, they escape into the water, where most predators can’t chase after them. These nocturnal pythons roam near the water’s edge to prey on unsuspecting rodents, waterfowl, and baby crocodiles.
The Water Python is non-venomous, which makes it famous in the exotic pet industry. However, accounts differ in terms of their temperament. Some specimens are mild-mannered, while others can be quick to bite. Pythons drive a lot of force behind their bites, so you should be cautious if you come upon one!
#13. 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 Western 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.
#14. 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 Western 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.
#15. 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 Western 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 Western 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 Western Australia?
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Which of these snakes have you seen before in Western Australia?
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