The Dangerous Snakes of Australia and Where to Find Them!

January 24, 2013

Guest Post from Lisa Stacey.

From the red-backed spider to the red-bellied black snake, Australia is renowned for its creepy crawlies and its exotic species that could most definitely end your life if you stepped in the wrong place. Whether it’s in the bush or in their own backyards, Aussies are accustomed to looking out for slithering reptiles wherever they go.

However, for the lesser traveled Australians and tourists, it can be hard to know what snakes to look out for – or to even know where these reptiles are found Down Under.

Want to brush up on your herpetology (no, not herpes!)? Here are the most dangerous snakes in Australia and where to find them!

Red-Bellied Black Snake

poisonous snake in Australia

Also known as the common black snake, this is one of the country’s oft-sighted creatures. Found slithering down throughout the east coast and in some parts of South Australia, this snake can grow up to 6ft (2m) long. While its bite is not as venomous as some of the other species and is not that aggressive, their venom can still cause muscle and nerve damage, as well as blood clotting. Thankfully, however, no deaths have been recorded from a bite from the red-bellied snake.

Eastern Brown Snake

Poisonous snakes in Australia

One of Australia’s most aggressive snakes, the eastern brown snake is speedy and temperamental. Responsible for the most snake-related deaths in all of Australia, the eastern brown snake raises its body off the ground and winds into an S shape before it prepares to attack. The eastern brown snake’s venom causes progressive paralysis and the venom is ranked as the second most toxic of any land snake in the world (shit!). These snakes can be found all throughout the east coast of Australia’s mainland, and can often be found on farms.

Mulga Snake

Venomous snakes in Australia

With its peculiar name, it would be natural to dismiss the mulga, but wait – this snake has the heaviest venom of any in Australia and its venom output is the largest-recorded in the world! The mulga delivers around 150mg of venom in one bite, while the average tiger snake only produces between 10-40mg. These aren’t calm snakes either – the mulga has been known to hang on to prey and chew on them while they release venom (what a jerk!). These venomous snakes can be found throughout Australia – except in Victoria, Tasmania, and parts of WA – but are only really agitated when they are disturbed, phew.

Small-eyed snake

deadly snakes in Australia

Don’t let its name fool you – while the small-eyed snake is only around 50cm long, its bites are far greater than their size. The small-eyed snake’s venom has a myotoxin that attacks muscle tissue for days after an attack (and this includes the heart muscle). These snakes are found across Australia’s east coast, but thankfully only come out at night.

Snake bite treatment 101

Regardless of whether you’re a local or a tourist, it’s important to remember how to handle a snake bite.

When you are bitten, try to catch a glimpse of any defining features on the snake – identifying the snake can cut down treatment time. Do not wash the area of the bite, bandage the area, and call the ambulance by dialing “0-0-0″ or visit the hospital as soon as possible.

Of course, when you’re travelling (especially to places like Australia), it’s a good idea to secure some travel insurance – Australia is filled with dangerous snakes (and other creatures that go bump in the nigh) and treating a bite can be costly. Above all, however, don’t panic – snakes won’t generally attack you unless you disturb them, and they are definitely more scared of you than you are of them.

*You should always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of all travel insurance providers to check if they cover everything you need (like snake bites). Also make sure to see that the sports and adventure activities you wish to partake in during your travels is also automatically covered or not as well.

Author bio: Lisa Stacey is a travel writer who had her first snake encounter  in Australia last year. It was scary, but not as terrifying as her skydiving experience early this year.


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Just One Boomer (Suzanne) January 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Snakes totally creep me out. They would creep me out even if they weren’t venomous, but the fact that some of them are just adds (significantly) to their creep out factor. On our last trip to Australia, we had dinner with some Aussies in Adelaide before a trip to Kangaroo Island. They regaled us with stories about the very, very toxic black tiger snake found on Kangaroo Island, but they assured us that it wasn’t the season for them to be active, so—not to worry. Within 15 minutes of landing, we were riding along in a tour van which ran over (but did not kill) a — you guessed it, a black tiger snake. Guess who didn’t go wandering off into the brush on that trip?!?


Jeremy January 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

Good thing you weren’t riding a bike instead!
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Sofie January 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

Okay, I’m saving this for whenever I get to Australia.
Although I think I’d probably jump away without even looking at what kind of snake it is:D
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Jeremy January 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

Haha that sounds like the smartest plan of action!
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Zubi Travel January 31, 2013 at 9:35 am

The snake bite treatment 101 was very informative…
As of where to find snakes in Australia, I thought the correct answer was everywhere :).
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Jeremy January 31, 2013 at 9:37 am

Haha, good point!


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