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|Australian Snakes - Overview|
Because we live in a house in Southern Australia with a largish garden near a river, snakes are frequent visitors. If they are about the house we try to kill them. But if they are down the river end they will just go on their way. One of our dogs was bitten by a four foot tiger snake and had to spend the night at the vets. Because he was a big dog he survived.
However snakes are protected species in Australia.
The most common Australian snakes that people come across include: (Click on the name for more detailed information)
Scientific Name: Pseudechis porphyriacus
Not hugely venomous and it lives in the Eastern ranges and along sand dunes near the coast. It is very common.
Scientific Name: Notechis scutatus
It is often striped with lighter bands running around its body hence its common name.
It is quite venomous but will generally only attack if surprised or threatened.
It is common even in newer suburban areas. I have seen them on remote beaches, as well as along rivers where there can be high populations. People going fishing along rivers and estuaries need to be on the lookout for them.
Scientific Name: Demansia textilis
A very common snake of mainly inland Australia which can grow quite large. Browns of nearly two metres have been seen in Western Victoria. It is very venomous.
King Brown Snake
Scientific Name: Pseudechis australis
A very common snake of the desert and Northern Australia which is as thick as a manís forearm, and often grows to three metres in length. It is very venomous.
Aboriginal children will throw good sized rocks at a king brown until its back is broken. These snakes are too big and too dangerous to approach with a shovel or the like. A shot gun might be used to kill them if they are in a house or about a garden.
Scientific Name: Oxyuranus scutellatus
A very dangerous snake which grows to over 2 metres. It lives in the dry interior and is widespread.
Scientific Name: Acanthophis antarcticus
This is found across the desert areas and along the coast of NSW and Queensland, and is very venomous. It is not as common as the other snakes listed.
Scientific name: Pseudonaja affinis.
This is related to the brown snakes and is common across the south western section from the SA gulfs to the Indian Ocean. Like the other browns its venom causes paralysis and has a powerful agent which interferes with the blood clotting.
They have very variable colours and patterns.
This snake is generally found in the inland areas of Victoria and parts of NSW.
Yellow bellied Sea snake
Scientific Name: Pelamis platurus
These are found mainly in the warmer areas but sometimes can turn up on Southern beaches. They are not usually regarded as a danger in the water unless you accidentally touched one. They are venomous.
Death from snake bites:
Death is less common these days because usually medical help is at hand
and antivenenes have been developed. Also most people who are out in the bush know the basic first aid measures of dealing with snake bite.
First aid for snake bite.
Many Australians can tell stories of nearly treading on a snake, being frightened by a snake, or even killing a snake.
One of the best known snake stories is ĎThe Droverís Wifeí by Henry Lawson which tells of a womenís all night vigil to protect her children knowing that there is a snake in the wall of their slab hut.
Although deaths from snake bite do occur, (eg one elderly women was bitten by a tiger snake while she pruned the ivy on the fence, in Kew an inner suburb of Melbourne, in 2003), many more deaths from snake bite occur in Asia and Africa.
Further Information on Snakes:
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