Believe it or not, you can find 4 types of venomous snakes in Tasmania.
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 Tasmania 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.*
4 Venomous snakes in Tasmania:
#1. 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 Tasmania! 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.
#2. 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 Tasmania!
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.
#3. 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 freshwater scrublands, swamps, and marshes in Tasmania. 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 venomous 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!
#4. 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 these venomous snakes in Tasmania 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.
Do you want to learn more about animals in Tasmania?
Check out these other guides!
Which of these venomous snakes in Tasmania have you seen?
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