Believe it or not, you can find 11 types of venomous snakes in Victoria.
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 Victoria 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.*
11 Venomous snakes in Victoria:
#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 Victoria 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 Victoria. 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. 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 Victoria! 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.
#4. 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 Victoria 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.
#5. 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 Victoria.
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!
#6. 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 Victoria!
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.
- 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 venomous 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!
#8. 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 Victoria. 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!
#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 Victoria 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. 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 Victoria 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.
#11. Highlands Copperhead
- Austrelaps ramsayi
- Adults reach 113 cm (44 in) long.
- They have thickly muscled bodies and fairly small heads.
- They are different shades of brown or gray, with pale yellow bellies.
The Highlands Copperhead enjoys the cool, high-altitude forests of Victoria. It resides in swampy and forested lands, often hiding in thick clumps of grass. Be especially wary near the edges of creeks, large stones, and fallen trees.
Highlands Copperheads usually feast on frogs and lizards but occasionally cannibalize their own kind. These snakes climb trees to bask in the sunlight when they’re not foraging for food.
Avoid Highlands Copperheads at all costs, as these highly venomous snakes can send you to the hospital. Thankfully, they’re rather reclusive, actively avoiding human-populated areas. Nevertheless, a cornered snake will loudly hiss and flail its flattened body, so respect the warning and back away.
Do you want to learn more about animals in Victoria?
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Which of these venomous snakes in Victoria have you seen?
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