Red-Bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus)

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DESCRIPTION – Distinctive glossy jet-black dorsal surface with red to pink on the lower flanks, cream ventral scales with black bands. Some individuals with paler snout. Average total length of 1.5 to 2 metres. 17 mid body scales,175-215 ventral, 40-65 sub ventral, anal scale divided. Family: Elapidae.

DISTRIBUTION – Forests, rainforests, woodlands, grasslands, wetlands, particularly around creeks, waterways, and swamps along much of eastern Australia, from Adelaide in SA to Cooktown in QLD. 

ECOLOGY – Diurnal, rarely nocturnal depending on temperatures. Feeds on frogs, lizards, snakes, small mammals. Ovoviviparous, 5-23 live young.

VENOM – HIGHLY VENOMOUS – Though less toxic than some Australian elapids (no adult deaths recorded), venom contains potent neurotoxic, myotoxic and coagulopathic components.

Updated November 2019 from Eipper, S. & Eipper, T. (2019) A Naturalists Guide To The Snakes Of Australia. John Beaufoy Publishing.