Eastern Brown Snakes can be found in Australia and New Guinea. They are considered to be the second most venomous land snake in the world, only behind the Inland Taipan, so it’s important to have the facts about them and what to do if you see one or are bitten by one.
Fortunately, Eastern Brown Snakes usually prefer to avoid humans, so bites are rarer than most people think, but they do happen every now and then, so it’s best to be prepared.
What are the signs of an eastern brown snake?
The eastern brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis) is Australia’s second-most venomous snake. It has a thick body, dark brown or olive upperparts with light brown crossbands, and is whitish underneath. Its name comes from its short, blunt snout that resembles a bullet.
The eastern brown is also called the common mulga snake. This species can be found in southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.
Where do they live?
Eastern brown snakes live in eastern Australia. They prefer warmer climates, as they are active only during warm months of the year. The temperature of their habitat can vary from 68 F to 75 F. During winter, they hibernate in dens with other snakes (sometimes 100 or more), all under one snake blanket for warmth.
The den’s entrance is often surrounded by a mass of dead leaves, camouflaging it. In spring, these snakes emerge from hibernation and mate soon after. Males compete fiercely for females; males can be found coiled around females while mating.
After mating, females lay eggs in July and August, which hatch into baby snakes that grow rapidly until wintertime. There are two subspecies of eastern brown snake: Pseudonaja textilis textilis , which lives on mainland Australia; and Pseudonaja textilis canni , which lives on islands off northern Queensland.
What do they eat?
Eastern brown snakes eat mice, rats, birds, frogs, lizards and other small prey. They use their sharp teeth to bite through flesh. They can bite humans but they don’t always inject venom. Like all snakes they are carnivores (meat-eaters).
Their bites often result in painful swelling, bruising and nausea for a few days after being bitten by an eastern brown snake. Although extremely venomous their bites are usually quite rare.
There are very few fatalities from envenomation from eastern brown snake bites as antivenoms are available and most people who receive one make a full recovery within 48 hours of being bitten by one of these nasty reptiles.
If you do get bitten by one of these snakes it is important that you go to hospital immediately. The faster you go to hospital after being bitten, the better your chances are of surviving. Many deaths occur because people delay going to hospital or fail to seek medical attention at all.
How many young do they have each year?
An average number of young born per year: 2. Produce 1–30 live young (average 8–9) in late spring, summer or early autumn. Juveniles are independent within hours of birth. A few females may breed for a second time in mid-autumn, with juveniles from their first litter hatching as another litter is being born.
In some places, these snakes may breed again in spring after hibernation. Some females produce more than one clutch a year; two clutches are common near Adelaide but exceptional elsewhere. The eastern brown snake is Australia’s most venomous snake.
This species has caused more human fatalities than any other Australian snake species, although it rarely attacks people. Eastern brown snakes are active during daylight hours and have been observed basking on roads in rural areas where they wait to ambush passing prey such as lizards, frogs and small mammals.
Their diet also includes birds, eggs and insects. They hunt by lying still until prey comes close enough to strike at it with lightning speed.
Are eastern brown snakes dangerous?
These venomous snakes are one of Australia’s most dangerous animals. Like all snakes, eastern brown snakes have small mouths that are specifically designed to capture and kill prey.
By injecting venom into their victims with fangs fixed at a 90-degree angle to their head, they can easily penetrate body tissues that would otherwise be protected by bone or scales. Although bites from brown snakes will not always result in death, there is no antivenom available in Australia to treat a bite wound so being bitten is considered extremely serious.
Those bitten can expect to experience an intense pain similar to being burned with a hot poker as well as nausea, profuse sweating, vomiting blood, respiratory failure, paralysis and other symptoms typical of allergic reactions.
Fortunately, deaths caused by snakebites are rare in Australia but when they do occur it is usually because people try to catch or kill snakes themselves rather than seek medical attention. If you see a snake while you’re out walking make sure you keep your distance and if possible take photos of it before leaving it alone.
How can I protect myself from the venom of an eastern brown snake?
There are a number of preventative measures that you can take to minimize your risk of snakebite when venturing outdoors. The most obvious is avoiding areas where snakes may be, particularly at night or during mating season.
Most importantly, though, don’t try to kill a snake by yourself. With some exceptions (such as controlling venomous snake populations), they’re protected in many parts of Australia and killing them is illegal.
The only person who should kill a snake is an expert who has been trained on how to do so safely—and even then, it’s important to leave it for examination by a scientist before taking any further action.
If you find yourself bitten by a snake, call 000 immediately and seek medical attention. If possible, bring along whatever bit you with you to help identify it.
What should I do if I am bitten by an eastern brown snake?
Wasp snake bites are rare, but still possible. Bites from wasps can cause local swelling or mild allergic reactions; however, serious effects like anaphylaxis are still unlikely to occur.
If you have been bitten by a wasp snake, wash your wound immediately with soap and water, apply antibiotic ointment if possible and see a doctor if there is any pain or signs of infection. If a bite occurs on your face or neck, call emergency services instead of driving yourself to hospital.
You should also seek medical attention if you notice any negative effects after being bitten by a wasp snake such as shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing or rash development.
What snakes live in Australia?: There are approximately 150 species of snake in Australia. This number includes species that only inhabit one area for their entire lives, as well as snakes that travel throughout various regions within Australia.
The most common snakes in Australia include tiger snakes, brown snakes, red-bellied black snakes, and death adders. [additional paragraph here]
How to capture, handle, and relocate a brown snake.
One of Australia’s most deadly snakes, to humans, is also one of its most commonly found snakes. The Eastern Brown snake can be found in a wide variety of habitats including woodlands, suburban areas, and even greenhouses.
While they will usually stay away from humans they are extremely venomous and need to be handled with caution. If you see one or suspect you may have seen one here are some tips on how to capture it and safely relocate it back into its natural habitat.
The first thing you should do if you find an eastern brown snake is called someone who knows what they are doing. Many people who find them don’t know what to do and end up killing them by accident.
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