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Eastern Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens)

Other common names: Small-eyed Snake

Toxicity: Venomous. Toxicity of the venom seems to vary geographically, and the effect on humans can range from no symptoms to renal failure and possibly death (one recorded fatality). The venom contains a long-acting myotoxin that continues to attack muscle tissue (including heart muscle) for days after envenomation. A bite should always be treated as serious and medical attention sought as soon as possible (source: Australian Museum).

Description: Robust body with distinct head. The head and body are a shiny blue-black. The ventral (underside) scales range from cream to dark pink, sometimes with darker blotches. The black body colour coupled with dark pink underside can lead to the snake being mis-identified as a Red-bellied Black Snake. The eyes are small and darkly coloured. Can grow to 1.2 metres in length, but the average is around 0.5 metres.

The Eastern Small-eyed Snake is a member of the front fanged venomous Elapid family.

General habits: The Eastern Small-eyed Snake is distributed widely along the east coast of Australia from Cape York to Melbourne. It is active at night. The females are mostly sedentary, whilst the males will average twice the distance of females.

Diet: Lizards, snakes (even other Eastern Small-eyed Snakes) and occasionally frogs.

Locally: Found in all locations in the Tweed. Mostly encountered at night, but also found during the day under shelter such as rocks, branches, garden refuse etc.

Reproduction: Eastern Small-eyed Snakes give birth to live young, averaging four per litter.

Glossy black scales over the entire upper body and head. This snake was found in a wall cavity of a garage at ground level.

Glossy black scales over the entire upper body and head. This snake was found in a wall cavity of a garage at ground level.

Note the red underside that often leads to mis-identification as a Red-bellied Black Snake

Note the red underside that often leads to mis-identification as a Red-bellied Black Snake