bellied black snake is found in the wetter south east of Cape York.
It is a
well known snake in
Australia, because of its distribution in the south eastern parts of
the country, including urban areas.
Up here it is found in
two isolated pockets - one south of Townsville,
and one north of Cairns.
The Cairns population
covers the coastal area from Cairns to Daintree
and Cooktown, as well as parts of Lakefield
So it is not common on
most of Cape York peninsula, and neither is it quite as
dangerous as most other Australian poisonous snakes.
Its venom is weaker, and there
are no reports of it having killed a human.
That said, it is venomous and its
bite should be treated seriously.
Red bellied black snake by Tony Rodd
What Does It Look Like?
It can be
one and a half to two metres long and is one of the larger Australian
It is also one of the
most beautiful, with a glossy black back, and a red belly.
The sides of the belly
are the reddest, and the underside of the belly is often
pinkish white. The underside of the tail is black.
It has a small, streamlined head, and a lighter, brownish snout.
red bellied black snake by Arthur Chapman via Flickr.com
Distribution, Habitat and
mostly found in south
(eastern half of New South Wales, most of Victoria, eastern South
Australia, south eastern Queensland, and two pockets in north
Queensland - one south of Townsville, and one north of Cairns.
It lives in many different
types of habitat, including rainforest, open forest,
woodland, bushland and open plains, even people's gardens, but mostly
if they are near a water
This snake likes wetter,
and can be seen on rainforest walks, near billabongs, rivers, creek
streams, wetlands, dams and other water bodies.
It is diurnal,
but can also be seen during hotter evenings and nights.
When not basking or hunting, it can be sheltering in hollow
logs, under roots, rocks and timber, burrows and similar.
By Doug Beckers via Flickr.com
What Does It Eat?
some snakes focus on small mammals and others on other reptiles, the
red bellied black snake is mostly a frog
eater (and the poisonous cane
toads always kill them when eaten).
But it does take a small mammal and a reptile (including another
snake), or even a bird or a fish if its gets a chance.
Male combat. By zenthehook via
Mating and Breeding
Male combat can be
seen in the late Dry Season, followed by mating.
In the early and late Wet Season between eight and 40, about 12cm long
young are born.
Red bellied black snakes are different from most other snakes in that
they don't lay eggs but
give birth to young in membranous sacs.
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background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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