Snakes

of South East Queensland

Red-bellied Black

Pseudechis porphyriacus

other common names: Red belly black

Red-bellied Black snakeSignificance to Humans: Highly Venomous
Reclusive disposition but will inflate and flatten the body and neck in an effort to intimidate a perceived aggressor. Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid. Its supposed fearsome reputation is well exaggerated.

General description: Uniform glossy black above along whole body except tip of snout which is paler brown. Belly has red or pink flush, brighter on the sides & paler in the middle. Hind edge of belly-scales is black, creating an even red & black striped appearance. Belly colour is visible along flanks and sides distinguishing it from the Eastern Small-eyed Snake. Midbody scales at 17 rows.

Average Length: 1.5 metres

Habitat in SE Qld: Wet habitats; rainforest, near water. Preferably grassy or rocky edges of watercourses, swamps, lagoons etc. Also seasonally inundated alluvial woodlands.

General habits: Diurnal. Actively searches for potential prey.

Diet: Primarily frogs, but also other reptiles (including other snakes) and small mammals.

Local distribution: Reported to have suffered declines in numbers in some areas subjected to significant favored habitat destruction. Readily turned up in inner suburbs with recent records by snake handlers from Milton, St Lucia and Moorooka but generally associated with suburbs supporting riparian habitats. One specimen captured inside the Brisbane Convention Centre.

Around the home: Could be typically associated with ground refugia such as timber piles, sheet iron, rock walls and heavy vegetation. Has been recorded climbing to take frogs from eves of homes but this is rarely encountered. A large freshly sloughed Black snake is truly a beautiful snake often even appreciated by self confessed snake despisers.

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