Believe it or not, you can find 14 types of venomous snakes in Queensland.
But please don’t live in fear, thinking that you are going to be bitten. In general, snakes try to avoid any contact or interaction with people. As long as you leave them alone, you shouldn’t have any trouble!
You’ll see that Queensland is home to the most venomous snakes in the world. Each of the species listed below has the potential to cause lasting harm or death to humans. So keep a respectful distance if you encounter one in the wild!
- DO NOT RELY ON THIS ARTICLE to correctly identify a snake that has recently bitten you. If you have recently been bitten, GO DIRECTLY to the nearest hospital to get help and to determine if the snake is venomous.*
14 Venomous snakes in Queensland:
#1. Curl Snake
- Suta suta
Also known as the Myall Snake.
- 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.
Look for these venomous snakes in Queensland in forests and grasslands.
Watch where you’re walking! You never know when a Curl Snake 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.
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.
#2. Eastern Brown Snake
- Pseudonaja textilis
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 Queensland. 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.
#3. 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 Queensland.
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.
#4. 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 it’s common to see this venomous snake in Queensland! They make breeding grounds out of free-drifting masses of sea kelp.
Yellow-bellied Sea Snakes are incredibly 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.
#5. 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 venomous snake in Queensland.
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.
#6. Red-bellied Black Snake
- Pseudechis porphyriacus
Also known as the Australian Black Snake and the Common Black Snake.
- Adults grow to 125 cm (49 in) long on average.
- They have broad heads. Their snouts are pale and rounded.
- Made obvious by their name, these snakes are typically black with reddish undersides. Their flanks are bright red or orange.
These venomous snakes wander into urban areas in Queensland frequently.
Red-bellied Black Snakes typically stay close to bodies of water. There, they feast on frogs, fish, and eels. These clever snakes have figured out that they can lure out their prey by disturbing the sediment at the bottom of a stream or lake.
This species is highly venomous, but there are no recorded human deaths from its bite. They’re usually not aggressive. However, a cornered snake will not hesitate to strike repeatedly, and they’re extremely quick. Its venom can cause pain around the wound, excessive bleeding, and abdominal discomfort. Curiously, some bite victims also lose their sense of smell.
#7. 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 prefer dry woodlands and stony deserts in Queensland.
Keep your eyes open when you’re out for a walk! Sometimes, these venomous snakes 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!
#8. Coastal Taipan
- Oxyuranus scutellatus
- Adults are 1.5-2.0 m (5-7 ft) long.
- They are long and slender with a whip-like tail and a triangular head that’s distinct from the body.
- They are uniformly colored but vary by specimen: light, reddish, and dark brown are all common. Their undersides are yellowish and may have yellow or orange spots.
The Coastal Taipan resides in the temperate and coastal regions near grassy areas and forests. They often shelter in abandoned burrows, vegetation, hollow logs, and litter. Keep a sharp eye on the ground to avoid stepping on this venomous snake in Queensland!
This species uses its keen eyesight as it slithers along and scans the ground for rats and mice. They will also consume bandicoots, birds, and an occasional unlucky lizard. On detecting a target, this snake bites quickly. Then, it releases its prey, tracking the meal until the venom incapacitates it.
Although the Coastal Taipan prefers to avoid confrontation with humans, it will attack with multiple quick bites if provoked. Its venom is one of the most toxic in the world, and it can kill an adult human in just 30 minutes by paralyzing the heart, lungs, and diaphragm. Give this snake a wide berth.
#9. Small-eyed Snake
- Cryptophis nigrescens
Also known as the Short-tailed Snake and Eastern Small-eyed Snake.
- Adults are 50 cm (20 in) long on average.
- True to their name, they have small, unremarkable eyes and flat, rectangular heads.
- Their coloring is black or dark blue with a glossy sheen. The undersides are pale cream or pinkish.
Look for these venomous snakes in Queensland in humid, wet rainforests.
Small-eyed Snakes also lurk in craggy outcrops near wooded areas. You should even be cautious in the suburbs! Residents report frequent sightings of this snake in their gardens.
Active at night, Small-eyed Snakes feed on geckos, lizards, and even smaller snakes. By morning, they take shelter in rock crevices and fallen logs. Then, dozens of these snakes hibernate together in tight spaces to preserve body heat during winter.
The Small-eyed Snake is a shy species, preferring not to bite even when disturbed. Instead, it will thrash around violently to intimidate an attacker. Regardless, you should take care not to get bitten. This snake’s venom is potent enough to result in kidney failure!
#10. Inland Taipan
- Oxyuranus microlepidotus
Also known as the Western Taipan, Small-scaled Snake, and Fierce Snake.
- Adults are an average of 2 m (6 ft) long.
- They have triangular heads, large eyes, and rounded pupils.
- Their coloring is dark brown in winter, changing to olive or yellow in summer, and they have a yellowish belly with orange spots.
The Inland Taipan is one of the deadliest snakes in Queensland!
They can be found in floodplains and wetlands with sparse vegetation. They tend to retreat into rock crevices, sinkholes, or abandoned burrows. So keep a close eye out to avoid these dangerous snakes.
This venomous snake is extremely fast. After sensing movement or an odor, the Inland Taipan will corner its target and bite several times until the prey is incapacitated. They are carnivores and feed on rats, mice, and other small mammals. But they won’t hesitate to bite larger animals if threatened!
Despite its dangerous venom, the Inland Taipan is shy and will retreat if possible. If threatened, however, it flattens its body into low S-shaped curves and points its head directly at you.
Since they have one of the most toxic venoms in the world, their bite is fatal. To survive, antivenom needs to be injected within 30-45 minutes. Even so, some bite victims endure months of hospitalization and potential brain, heart, and kidney damage. Thankfully, human interactions are rare, most likely because the snakes live in extremely remote areas.
#11. Northern Brown Snake
- Pseudonaja nuchalis
- Adults grow up to 2 m (6 ft) long.
- Their coloring varies depending on location but is usually orange or brown. The belly is cream to orange with pink blotches. Some specimens have jet-black heads.
The Northern Brown Snake is often called “gwardar,” an Aboriginal word meaning “go the long way around.” And it’s for good reason! This venomous snake can be very aggressive when it’s disturbed.
Northern Brown Snakes live in eucalyptus forests, woodlands, grasslands, and rocky areas. Although they are ground dwellers and hide under rocks or rubbish piles, they occasionally climb trees. Their meal of choice is small mammals such as mice and lizards, but when times get tough, they will resort to cannibalism. This species also uses a combination of venom and constriction to kill its prey.
The Northern Brown Snake’s venom is incredibly deadly. But unfortunately for you, because they have such small fangs, the bite may be painless and difficult to see. If you have a headache, nausea/vomiting, and abdominal pain, it would be wise to consult a medical professional.
#12. Rough-scaled Death Adder
- Acanthophis rugosus
Also known as the Javan Death Adder.
- The average adult length is 1 m (3 ft).
- They have triangular heads, elliptical pupils, and long fangs.
- Their short, stout bodies and rat-like tails are gray or brown with red or yellow crossbands.
The Rough-scaled Death Adder is one of the sneakiest snakes in Queensland. This species is known to wait for days in woodlands, grass, the edges of garden plots, or walking trails for an unsuspecting victim. They let victims get extremely close before striking, so don’t be fooled, and watch your step!
This highly venomous species eats lizards, frogs, and an occasional small rodent or bird. They’re most often seen crossing the road after a rain shower, and as with other adders, they use their caudal lure to attract prey. Then they bite their prey, wait for it to die, and swallow it!
Because of their seemingly infinite patience, the Rough-scaled Death Adder is a significant snakebite risk. Most snakes will avoid confrontation with a human, but this one is truly a snake in the grass. Once touched, they will strike immediately with their dangerous and potentially fatal venom.
#13. Pale-headed Snake
- Hoplocephalus bitorquatus
- Adults grow up to 90 cm (35 in) long.
- They have a noticeable distinction between the head and body and brown eyes with an orange ring around the pupil.
- The coloring is black to dark gray on the body with a light gray head.
The venomous Pale-headed Snake lives in eucalyptus and cypress forests in Queensland. Unfortunately, they are vulnerable to extinction due to the clearing and fragmentation of their habitat as well as their illegal removal for the pet trade.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that these climbing snakes are harmless. The Pale-headed Snake is easily agitated if cornered and will strike without hesitation. Luckily, their bites are typically not fatal. However, no one wants the associated severe headache, blurred vision, localized pain, and abnormal bleeding resulting from a strike.
The Pale-headed Snake’s ridged scales allow it to climb trees easily. They often spend weeks hidden in hollow trunks or limbs. They don’t even have to leave home to eat since their go-to meal is the tree frog!
#14. Northern Death Adder
- Acanthophis praelongus
- Adults are 0.5-1 m (2-3 ft) long.
- They have short, thick bodies, long, thin tails with spur-like tips, and broad triangular heads.
- Their coloring is gray to reddish or golden brown with multiple crossbands, and the belly is gray, pink, or white,
These venomous snakes have incredibly long fangs.
This species eats lizards, birds, mice, rats, and frogs. Additionally, they eat cane toads, which are poisonous to them. However, this snake has a clever way around the problem. They bite the frog and leave it to hop away and die. A very low concentration of the toad’s toxin lingers in the snake’s mouth, and when the snake can no longer taste it, the poison has deteriorated enough to make the toad edible. The Adder then seeks out its prey and enjoys a meal.
In addition to being highly toxic, the Death Adder’s venom is the fastest-acting in Queensland. Death can result within six hours if proper treatment is not acquired.
Do you want to learn more about animals in Queensland?
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