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Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus)

Other common names: Red-belly, Common Black Snake

Toxicity: Highly venomous. Untreated bites can be fatal. Reportedly the most common cause of envenomation in dogs in NSW.

Description: The Red-bellied Black Snake has a thick body with a slightly distinct head. The head and body are glossy black. The underside is red to cream with bright red lower flanks. The tip of the nose is usually brown. Like the Eastern Brown Snake, the Red-bellied Black Snake has a noticeable eyebrow giving it an intense look. Can grow to over 2 metres in length, although more commonly encountered around the 1 metre mark.

The Red-bellied Black Snake is a member of the front fanged venomous Elapid family.

General habits: The Red-bellied Black Snake is distributed widely along the eastern coast of Australia. It is active during the day, capable of climbing but normally found on the ground. The Red-bellied Black Snake is usually encountered in areas around water where it hunts it’s main prey – frogs. Generally a shy snake that is reluctant to bite. It will tend to freeze if encountered by humans. If the person gets too close it will flee or raise it’s head, flatten the neck and hiss a warning.

Diet: Mainly frogs but will also eat lizards, birds, small mammals, other snakes and fish. Numbers of Red-bellied Black Snakes have reduced in recent years due to their high reliance on a dwindling frog population and the introduction of Cane Toads.

Locally: Found in all locations in the Tweed (1 large adult was relocated from close to the centre of Murwillumbah in 2018). Although one of the less common snakes in the area, numbers appear to be slowly growing. Prefers different habitat to the Eastern Brown Snake.

Reproduction: Red-bellied Black Snakes gives birth to between 5 and18 young that are born enclosed in a membranous sac. They emerge from the sac soon after birth.

Note brown nose and flared neck

Note brown nose and flared neck

Glossy black scales with red lower ventral markings

Glossy black scales with red lower ventral markings