The name 'Brown Snake' is a bit misleading. Colours are variable and range from tan through dark brown, russet-orange to almost black, with a cream
or white belly. Juveniles have black bands. In some individuals, the bands cover the entire body while others have bands only to the head. Both
variations may be born in the same clutch. The black bands fade with age but may still be evident in some adults.
Snakes of the genus Pseudonaja, including the common or Eastern brown snake (P. textilis), the dugite (P. affinis) and the gwardar (P. nuchalis), are
found throughout mainland Australia, and are now responsible for the majority of snakebite deaths in this country. Coagulation disturbance is common
in brown snake bites, as is neurotoxicity. Myolysis is not a feature of brown snake envenomation, although renal failure may ensue putatively as a
result of direct nephrotoxicity or disseminated intravascular coagulation
The common brown snake is active mostly by day, except in very hot weather, and feeds on rats, mice, birds, lizards and other snakes. It is attracted
to barns and farms, and prefers dry country to swampy areas. The brown snake lays from 10 to 35 eggs. The young brown snakes are banded in dark grey
or black, and have a broad band on the back of their heads. By three years of age, the bands disappear, and the adult is usually uniform in colour,
ranging through light or dark brown, orange-yellow or even black The shape is streamlined, and the head is not distinct.
Varying appearance of Gwardars from Western Australia (left) and South Australia (right).
The Eastern Brown snake is found along the entire length of the east coast of Australia, ranging from the tip of Cape York, along the coasts and
inland areas of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia across the Eyre Peninsula and reaches as far as half way across the west cost of South
As its habitat ranges, so too does the colouring of this snake, it may be any shade of brown. Ranging in colour from pale to dark brown, russet,
orange to nearly black.
Juvenile snakes have different colouring, a blackish head and banding on the nape. The body may be uniformly banded with dark cross-bands or may be
irregularly reticulated by dark tipped scales.
This snake is fast alert and sun loving, but may become active on hotter nights.
It occupies a range of habitats from wet dry sclerophyll and heaths of coastal areas and ranges through savannah woodlands to inland grasslands and
This snake is very dangerous and venomous.
It kills its prey by venom and constriction. This method of killing may be a means to killing the prey quickly or to prevent the prey from striking
the snake while the venom takes effect.
The snake feeds mainly on reptiles and small mammals.
The average length of this snake is 1.5 metres but it can reach lengths of up to 2.25 metres.
It lays clutches of between 10 and 35 eggs.
It is extremely unlikely that you will ever see an Eastern Brown Snake in the rainforest or on any of the walking tracks.
The only sighting opportunities are in the cleared dairy pastures or farmlands outside of the rainforest
The eastern brown snake is the species responsible for most deaths caused by snakebite in Australia, although, with the advent of efficient first-aid
treatment and antivenom, there are now usually only one or two deaths per year. A large adult brown snake is a formidable creature. They may exceed
two metres in length and, on hot days, can move at surprising speed. It has a slender body and is variable in colour ranging from uniform tan to grey
or dark brown. The belly is cream, yellow or pale orange with darker orange spots.
Did You Know? Although brown snakes are temperamental and dangerous creatures, they will always try and avoid a confrontation with humans if possible.
There is certainly no advantage for the snake in attacking something as large as a person so they will only do this as a last resort. Given the
opportunity, even brown snakes will flee rather than attack.
[edit on 12-9-2005 by SpittinCobra]
[edit on 12-9-2005 by SpittinCobra]