DESCRIPTION – Brownish grey to dark brown, well defined dark stripes or blotches, particularly in juveniles, with strongly keeled scales. Ventral surface cream to pale yellow, sometimes with darker patches. Distinguished from the Keelback by absence of loreal scales or dark barring between labial scales, undivided anal and caudal scales, and box shaped head with downturned rear-jawline. Grows to 1m. 23 mid body scales, 160-180 ventral, 50-60 sub ventral, anal single. Family: Elapidae.
DISTRIBUTION – Along East Coast, southern population from Gosford, NSW to Fraser Island, QLD, northern from in QLD wet tropics. Rainforests, moist woodlands, waterways, swamps. Rare in Brisbane region.
BEHAVIOUR – Nocturnal. Terrestrial/arboreal/aquatic. Feeds on mammals, frogs, lizards, occasionally small birds. Ovoviviparous, 5-9 live young.
VENOM – HIGHLY VENOMOUS – Dangerously powerful neurotoxic, myotoxic, and coagulopathic components. Will bite readily if harassed, causing very rapid symptoms, with several fatalities attributed to this species. Not to be confused with the harmless Keelback AKA Freshwater Snake.
Updated November 2019 from Eipper, S. & Eipper, T. (2019) A Naturalists Guide To The Snakes Of Australia. John Beaufoy Publishing.