Australia, often referred to as the ‘Land Down Under’, is as famous for its diverse wildlife as its sprawling outback. Among its most renowned inhabitants are some of the world’s most deadly snakes. Their lethal potential, however, is matched by their captivating allure and significant roles in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. This article illuminates the intriguing world of the top 10 most deadly snakes in Australia.
- Eastern Brown Snake
Claiming the spot for the second most venomous land snake worldwide, the Eastern Brown Snake is responsible for more snakebite fatalities in Australia than any other. Though fearsome, this snake is typically shy and prefers flight over a fight when threatened.
Characterized by its slender body and relatively small head, Eastern Brown Snakes can reach lengths up to 2 meters. As their name suggests, they are often various shades of brown, though they can also be grey, black or a rusty reddish hue.
- Western Brown Snake
Residing in the heartland of Australia, the Western Brown Snake’s venom is potent, housing formidable neurotoxins and coagulants. However, like its Eastern counterpart, it usually prefers to avoid confrontation. Nevertheless, it is known as one of Australia’s most deadly snakes.
The longest of them measuring in at 2 meters in length, they have a variety of colours and patterns, ranging from a uniform tan colour to a patterned combination of orange, black, and grey, with their bellies often a creamy yellow or orange.
- Inland Taipan
The Inland Taipan carries the notorious title of the world’s most venomous snake. Found mainly in remote, sparsely populated regions, it is known for its swift and repeated strikes. Despite its venomous status, it is generally shy and reclusive.
The Inland Taipan has a maximum length of over 2.5 meters. They are often olive or brown in color, which allows them to blend in with their arid environment.
- Coastal Taipan
The Coastal Taipan, while sharing the venomous legacy with the Inland Taipan, is known for its aggressive defense when threatened. Its venom, containing a cocktail of potent neurotoxins, can cause severe effects on the victim.
This snake is one of the largest venomous snakes in Australia, reaching up to 2.9 meters. They are often uniformly olive or dark brown, with a lighter underbelly, and have a distinctly round head with a slender neck.
- Tiger Snake
Tiger Snakes possess a potent neurotoxic venom, which can be fatal to humans. Despite their toxicity, they tend to be shy and will only defend themselves vigorously when cornered or provoked.
Tiger snakes are thick-bodied and average around 1.2 meters in length. They usually have banded patterns reminiscent of a tiger’s stripes, with colours varying from yellowish and olive to dark brown or black.
- Death Adder
Living up to its ominous name, the Death Adder is one of Australia’s most venomous snakes. It’s known for its ambush hunting strategy, where it lures its prey within striking distance.
Death Adders are relatively short and stout, with triangular heads and small scales. They can be grey, brown, or reddish-brown and typically grow to lengths of 0.7 to 1 meter.
- Mulga Snake
Also known as the King Brown, the Mulga Snake has a venomous bite that is distinguished by its long duration and large venom yield. They are widespread across Australia and can be found in a variety of habitats.
These snakes are hefty and have surpassed 3 meters in length. They range in colour from a rich dark brown to a copper or even peachy color, with a robust and muscular build.
- Red-bellied Black Snake
The Red-bellied Black Snake may seem menacing due to its stark colour contrast, but it’s usually not aggressive unless cornered. Its venom contains neurotoxins, myotoxins, and coagulants, yet it often delivers ‘warning bites’ with little to no venom.
Characterized by its glossy black upper body and red or pinkish underbelly, this snake is medium to large in size, averaging roughly 1.5 meters long.
- Rough-Scaled Snake
The Rough-Scaled Snake, also known as the Clarence River Snake, is another potent contender from Australia. This snake carries a venomous bite with neurotoxic properties, which can cause paralysis and severe bleeding disorders. It’s typically found along the east coast of Australia and gets its name from the unique texture of its scales. Though it can be aggressive when cornered, it tends to avoid populated areas, reducing human encounters.
This snake’s length is usually just shy of 1 meter and has a distinctive keeled (rough) scale texture. It has a broad head with large eyes, and its body colour can vary from brown to a greenish hue, often with dark flecks or bands.
- Small-eyed Snake
Don’t let its size deceive you! The Small-eyed Snake might be small and less aggressive, but its venom is highly toxic. They are nocturnal and typically active after heavy rains.
As its name suggests, this snake has notably small eyes. It’s a relatively small, slim snake reaching lengths of around 50 cm to 1 meter. Its colour is typically a uniform glossy black or dark grey, with a pinkish or cream underbelly.
These ten snakes showcase the incredible diversity and intriguing danger hidden within Australia’s rich landscape. Each one embodies the unique balance of fear and fascination that characterizes our perception of these deadly yet fascinating creatures. It’s vital to remember the importance of respecting these organisms for the critical roles they play in our ecosystem. If a deadly snake appears somewhere it isn’t welcome, the use of snake hooks or snake tongs is recommended.