We are now in the middle of spring here in Australia, but right now in Brisbane it very much feels like summer. Temperatures this month have mostly been between 25° and 30°C each day. A quick look at a weather website confirms that the highest temperature so far this month in Brisbane has been 32.2°C and the average temperature has been 27°C.
That’s summer in my book.
And what does summer bring? Snakes.
Today I’m going to look at one snake in particular.
The Red-bellied Black
According to Cam de Jong in the comments below, and I have no reason to disbelieve him, the above picture is not of a Red-bellied Black Snake, but an eastern small-eyed snake. Just goes to show you how difficult identifying snakes can be and in particular, how dangerous it could be to ‘think’ that a snake is nonvenomous based on your own visual identification.
Getting it wrong could cost you your life. In this particular case though, both of these snakes are potentially fatal.
This though, I believe, is a picture of a Red-bellied Black Black Snake…
My thanks to Cam de Jong for the input. On with the post…
My Wildlife of Greater Brisbane book describes the Red-bellied Black Snake as 1.5 metres long, but may exceed 2 metres. Shiny black above, with a pink to red tinge on outer edges.
This critter Bible then goes on to explain that the Red-Bellied Black was once locally common, then became rare, but may now appear to be recovering. Judging by the YouTube videos posted this month so far, I would say the Red-bellied Black is most definitely recovering.
Let’s start with this brief encounter with a Red-bellied Black which was posted on YouTube just today, 20 October 2016…
As you can see in the above video, there really is no need to freak out if you see a snake here in Australia. Just keep your distance, don’t corner them or threaten them and more often than not they will just slither away. I’m sure you are also pleased to hear that this snake is ‘not very venomous‘ and ‘no, these ones won’t kill you if they bite you‘.
If only that were true though. Back to my critter Bible which says of the Red-bellied Black’s bite:
‘Dangerous; venom strongly haemotoxic, cytotoxic; apply first aid and seek urgent medical attention for all suspected bites.‘
I don’t know what all of that means exactly, but I do know what the word ‘dangerous’ means. There are three red flags next to the name of the Red-bellied Black Snake in my book and that tells me it is one of eight snakes in the Greater Brisbane region whose bite could be fatal if appropriate medical aid is not administered rapidly.
The others, for those who would like to know, are the Coastal Taipan, Tiger Snake, Death Adder, Eastern Brown Snake, Rough Scaled Snake, Small Eyed Snake and the Spotted Black Snake.
That said, as far as I’m aware there have been no recorded deaths attributed to a bite from a Red-bellied Black.
As you also probably noticed from my first video, the snake was spotted way out in the countryside, exactly where snakes live. You wouldn’t see a Red-bellied Black Snake in the middle of one of our major cities, like Sydney, would you?
This video appeared in the Daily Mail online just three days ago on the 18 October 2016…
For the full article, please visit the Daily Mail
Some of you may be aware that a few years ago I had a snake come into my house. Well, guess what happened in Redcliffe, which is about 20 kilometres north-east of Brisbane CBD, just over a week ago? This video was posted to YouTube on 11 October 2016…
So we have Red-bellied Black’s in the countryside, in the city and we’ve now seen one in a house. Is there anywhere they won’t go? Probably not, here’s one that got stuck behind the wheel arch of a car.
This video was posted to YouTube on 5 October this year, again in the same area north-east of Brisbane CBD and by the same snake catcher…
Yes, I think we can safely say that the Red-bellied Black is definitely making a recovery and I do hope that little fella recovers from his injuries very quickly.
If I had to meet a Snake it would be the Red Belly – all Snake Catchers have told me they are
not aggressive & will try & get away from you. My daughter had one in her backyard…Snake Expert said to keep the Dogs inside – do not go in the backyard till next day. He said it is Breeding Season & the Snake is looking for love & just passing through. Sure enough the Snake had moved on the next day…Eastern Brown Snakes & the Qld Taipan are very aggressive never go near or corner them they will attack!
Yes, I’ve heard that as well about red bellied blacks, but then I think almost all of our Australian snakes are quite timid and will avoid confrontation with humans whenever they can. As you say though, if you corner a snake or worse, try to attack it, it will then certainly get aggressive.
Good info mate. Your first photo, though, isn’t a red-bellied black snake but an eastern small-eyed snake, a smaller, nocturnal but more venomous and pugnacious snake. You can tell by the head snake and small eyes; the not-quite-black upper body; the particular salmon pink of the underside as well as the lack of black edges to the red scales; and the fact that only the ventral (belly) scales are red whereas on a red-bellied black the upper few body scales are red as well.
All the best,
Crikey, this snake identification lark is really quite tricky, isn’t it? This isn’t a photograph I have taken, I’ve got it from pixabay, great site by the way, and it was labelled as a Red-bellied Black. Having now googled eastern small-eyed snake and had a look at some pictures, I’m certainly not going to disagree with you. You clearly sound as though you know what you’re talking about.
Anyhow, I agree, this snake does look like an eastern small-eyed snake, so it seems I need to search for a picture of a proper Red-bellied Black. I think I’ll then amend the above post but keep both pictures up just to show how tricky it really is.
Thanks for pointing this out, I appreciate it. Interesting that this is yet another snake that lives in my area, which I’ve actually never heard of, but yet it can still kill me 🙂