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Western Brown Snake, Pseudonaja nuchalis-complex

Where do they live?
Western Brown Snakes are found across most of Australia, especially throughout the Northern Territory. They are also found in Queensland and Western Australia.

What is their habitat?
Western Brown Snakes may be found in a range of arid and semi-arid habitats, including grassland, shrubland, savannah woodland and dry sclerophyll forest. They are also commonly found in pastoral areas. They can hide under rocks and even under rubbish in urban areas.

What’s special about them?
Western Brown Snakes mainly live on the ground. However they are known to occasionally climb, with one individual being found in the branches of a tree three metres above the ground.

What do they eat?
Western Brown Snakes are known to feed on a wide variety of vertebrates (animals with a backbone), including lizards like geckos, skinks and goannas, other snakes, young birds, and small mammals such as rodents. In rural areas they feed on the introduced house mouse.

How do they reproduce?
The breeding season may take place whenever conditions are suitable. Females can produce up to 38 eggs but an average number is 12. In a good season a female may produce a second clutch 40–60 days after the first. The incubation period may be quite variable, with the eggs taking up to 83 days to hatch. The emerging young measure just over 30 centimetres, and siblings often show a high degree of variation in colour and pattern formation. It is interesting to note that in any clutch there are nearly always more males than females.

What else do I need to know?
Western Brown Snakes are long, slender snakes with a smallish head indistinct from the neck. Scales are smooth and semi-glossy. They can vary in colour from light to medium brown on the body, with the head and neck sometimes dark brown or black and the snout paler than the head. Occasionally there is a series of faint to obvious broad dark brown bands along the body, and scattered dark brown or black scales on the neck. The belly is cream or pale yellow, often with salmon blotches (particularly on the front section). The chin is cream coloured. The eye is large with a dark iris and an orange ring around the pupil. They are very fast and highly venomous. They can grow up to 1.5 metres.

Where do they fit in the tree of life?
Species: nuchalis
Genus: Pseudonaja
Family: Elapidae
Suborder: Serpentes
Order: Squamata
Class: Reptilia
Phylum: Chordata

What is their conservation status?
The Western Brown Snake does not have an IUCN listing.
In Australia, their status is Common and Secure.

Details

  • Title: Western Brown Snake

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