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Red-bellied Black Snake

Pseudechis porphyriacus


The "red-bellied black snake" can be found along the east coast of Australia. This snake has a very distinctive appearance, with its upper surface being a glossy purplish black and its underside a dull pink or cream on the belly turning to a pale pink or a brilliant red towards the sides. Like all elapid snakes, it is front fanged - which means it has a pair of hollow, fixed fangs at the top front of the mouth. It injects venom through these fangs from pair of glands at the back of the top jaw. It is one of the world's most venomous snakes, and adults can grow up to a length of 2.5 metres, although I doubt this spotting was even 1.5 metres. But they are not an aggressive animal and will avoid confrontation (with humans) when and where possible. Had this snake been agitated, her throat would become flat. Any more and her entire body would flatten. A mock strike is not uncommon, accompanied by a loud hiss. They are very shy animals, and definitely one of my favourite of all Australian snakes.


Common in woodlands, forests and swamplands of eastern Australia. This specimen was spotted in native bushland in Girraween National Park, along the Peak Trail. Remote, lots are granite boulders, substantial undergrowth and leaf litter, and sections of the track were still damp due to recent rains. Water also flowing in the nearby creek, and that would be a great advantage for this snake because red-bellied blacks love to eat frogs! Here's some park info -


I always bushwalk with a hiking stick, and I mean "always"! Snakes are deaf but they can feel vibrations, so as I walk I gently stomp my feet and tap the ground with the stick every few steps. They know I'm coming, which explains why this snake was so relaxed - I didn't spook her in any way, but I am surprised that she didn't try to move out of the way. People that walk with me are totally unaware that I do this, it is that subtle, but it's enough to alert any snake to my presence and has saved me from many potential snake confrontations. A frightened snake is a dangerous snake, so there's no harm in giving them the "heads-up"!

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Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Mar 7, 2020
Submitted on Mar 8, 2020

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