of South East Queensland

White Crowned

Cacophis harriettae
Other common names: Crowned Snake.
White Crowned Snake
Significance to Humans: Weakly Venomous
Not considered dangerous to humans. All crowned snakes are reluctant biters, relying more on bluff display than bite. They are weakly venomous and have tiny mouths and short fangs. They will generally rear up & ‘mock strike’ with mouth closed, more of a ‘head butt’. If bitten, as with any snake bite, apply correct first aid and seek medical attention.

General description: Smallish snake, with small eyes. Body generally dark steely-grey both upper & belly. Distinctive ‘crown’; broad (at least 4 scales width) white or pale yellowish band on nape of the neck extends forward around sides of head to meet at snout, enclosing an oval- or diamond-shaped black patch on the top of head. Midbody scales at 15 rows.

Average Length: 30-40 cm

Habitat in SE Qld: Moist sheltered areas within forests, woodlands and heathland.

General habits: Secretive, nocturnal snakes. Hunts day-active skinks in leaf-litter at night while they are sleeping. Primarily terrestrial. Shelters by day in moist litter, under rocks, and logs.

Diet: Lizard & skink specialist

Local distribution: Possibly the most abundant of Brisbane’s smaller snake species. The most commonly encountered of the crowned snakes.

Around the home: Compost heaps, moist garden areas with abundant leaf-litter, and around rockeries provide ideal habitat. Often discovered by roaming cats at night.

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