Snakes in Australia: Snake Identification

Snake season is upon us again, if you were to Google ‘snake season’ and select the results for the past month, you’ll find there’s lots of talk about snakes in Australia at the moment.

snake seasonAs you can probably see from the snapshot above, there is talk about Surfers Paradise, that’s the famous beach on the Gold Coast, being apparently infested with brown snakes. Before we look at the rest of these headlines, let me try and clear that one up, a bit.

Brown snakes are not going to the beach at Surfers and slithering up and down on the golden sand looking for trouble with humans. Snakes are about though, but they like to stay hidden, they are very timid creatures. So they hang out in the little grassy bit between the beach and the roads.

This is Broadbeach, the next beach along from Surfers Paradise.

Broadbeach beachIf you look to the right, you can see green bushy growth. That’s where the snakes are. You can see the same green bushy stuff in this image of Surfers Paradise, this time it’s on the left…

Surfers ParadiseTo get to the beach you don’t have to walk through this bush area, there are many dedicated paths, like this one…

Next to the beachIt’s a good idea to stick to these paths to get to the beach, taking any shortcut through the bush is not a good idea. In my view though, to say the beaches are infested with brown snakes is an exaggeration. But using the word ‘infested’ does make for a better news item.

What other headlines did we find in our search?

There are also claims of larger numbers of snakes in Tasmania, a similar story about Melbourne’s west and the Daily Telegraph is suggesting that more snakes are slithering into our houses.

I had a snake come into my house some while ago, I’m pretty sure I identified him. Here’s what he looked like…

green snakeYou can see the full length video about that little adventure by reading my post called What Happens When a Snake Enters Your House?

I identified it as a green tree snake, a harmless non-venomous and very common snake in Australia.

But was I right?

Snake identification

I’ve been here for eight years now, do you think I can identify what kind of snake is the snake that might have snuck up on me sneakily?

My neighbour phoned me the other day, she said as her son was putting the rubbish out he saw a snake slither into my back garden. She said her son described the snake as ‘black and yellow’; there are no typically black and yellow snakes in these parts that I know of.

But a snake with a dark olive colour on top, or any darkish colour on top, and a yellow belly would once again be one of those harmless green tree snakes, or common tree snakes as they are also known. Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist and always like to think snakes that enter my garden (or house) are harmless green tree snakes. But once again, you have to ask the question, was I right?

Snake identification isn’t very easy.

This is a great post that was on Facebook, and I thank Mrs Bob for sending this one to me, that I want to share with you here…


It can’t be an eastern brown, can it? It’s silver!

Apparently it can.

My snake sightings

In September 2013 I wrote a post called The Australian Snake Season Part 2: Avoiding Snake Encounters and in it I listed all of my snake sightings since I’ve lived here. Here we are, two years later, and I can’t remember seeing any additional snakes since.

They are around though, that’s for sure, so it pays to be alert. You should also know what you need to do in the case of an emergency. For information about snake first-aid, see my post Snake Bite Dangers in Australia: What To do.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Carodom November 11, 2015, 3:54 pm |

    I forgot one : I have a Russian American friend who used to live on the prairie with her husband. It was very dry and every day she would see many rattle snakes close to her home looking for water.
    She decided that they were too close for comfort. So that night she filled many bowls with milk and set them several yards from the house. At twilight she wanted to see if her plan had worked. Indeed it had. She had put down six bowls and there were at least five rattlers at each bowl happily sipping the milk. She had guts.

    • BobinOz November 26, 2015, 9:58 pm |

      I bet she slept well after that 🙂

  • Carodom November 11, 2015, 3:47 pm |

    Usually it is country folk who can tell the best snake stories. Here are a couple.
    My grandmother lived in the bush for most of her life. Snakes were tolerated as long as they kept their distance. However, one night she and her sister were sharing a bed. They heard a rustling sound and a snake was asleep on their fanned out hair. I never found out what happened next.
    In my long lost befuddled days as a hippie I used to stay with friends who had an incredible house in the country, not far from a beach. The town is called Pottsville. A most appropriate name. They had a very large datura tree outside. The toilet was also outside and had the front wall missing so one could enjoy the view.
    My friends also had a pet snake called Igor. Igor was a very large python, at least 7 foot long. Igor lived in the ceiling and never really bothered anyone, except the rodents. One day my friends welcomed a visitor from overseas. His name was Stewart and he was a Scot. Lovely guy,very friendly. One day he was relaxing in the bath. Stewart was not alone in the bathroom. Igor was occupying the rafters over the bath. Igor fell into the bath with Stewart. If he had been wearing undies he would have had to change them later. Stewart let out an almighty scream of terror (no one had told him about Igor) and skyclad he raced out to the firewood and grabbed an axe. Stewart raced back into the bathroom making an odd kind of gibbering sound and proceeded to hack Igor to pieces with the axe. That was the end of two friendships.

    • BobinOz November 26, 2015, 9:57 pm |

      Nice stories, thanks. Poor old Stewart, I’m sure he looks back on it and laughs now though 🙂

      How about this, not from the outback, but just a couple of clicks from where I live. A friend of ours, mother, two young daughters, pushing the youngest along in the pushchair as they were leaving their home. Then she noticed a red bellied black all curled up in the hood of the pushchair.

      Oh how she laughed 🙂

  • djmcbell October 22, 2015, 4:56 pm |

    Snake identification, in computer code:

    if(object==”snake”) { run(away); } else { hit(object).withfryingpan; }

    • BobinOz October 23, 2015, 7:25 pm |

      Of course, and never leave home without taking your frying pan with you 🙂

      • BobinOz October 23, 2015, 7:26 pm |

        PS. Disclaimer: attacking a snake often results in death (not the snakes) that could have been avoided by walking or running away 🙂 🙂

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