Snake Hunters is dedicated to increasing awareness about the different animals of Australia. Our focus today is the Eastern Brown Snake otherwise known as the common brown snake. We hope to increase your understanding of this particular snake as well as address some misconceptions about these beautiful animals. Pay particular attention to the "Behaviour" section of this article.
Holding my pet eastern brown snake named "Fluffy"
These snakes can be a tan brown colour with variations of light to dark brown and almost black can be found. The underside belly is often a lighter colour. Juvenile snakes can have a dark head marking and are sometimes banded. Adults can grow more than 2 metres long and be quite formidable to deal with.
The eastern brown snake or 'common brown' is the 2nd most venomous land snake in the world. Together with other brown snakes, they are responsible for more deaths every year in Australia than any other group of snakes.
This species of snake has extremely toxic venom that contains POWERFUL neurotoxins and blood coagulants. A bite can cause a person to suffer diarrhea, dizziness, renal failure, convulsions, paralysis and cardiac arrest. The bite mark however might not appear until around up to 30 minutes after striking.
That said the fangs of an eastern brown are not as long as other deadly snakes of Australia. Bites through clothes are not common however it can easily penetrate human skin if unprotected by clothes.
FOOD & REPRODUCTION
Eastern brown snakes love to eat small mammals such as mice, rats, as well as birds and other small reptiles are also on the menu.
In the spring time, you can see males in a combat dance fighting over dominance. The winner will mate with the female who can produce up to 30 eggs in late spring or early summer.
DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT
Distribution of Eastern Brown Snakes in Australia
Eastern Brown snakes as the name suggests, inhabit most of Eastern Australia. They can live in deserts, coastal areas, forests, open grasslands and postures but are not typically found in rainforests. They thrive in populated areas including farms, suburban towns with high human population or any areas with mice. Eastern brown snakes are mostly active during the day however young brown snakes can be found at night time.
In Victoria, this species is wide spread except for the Ottways and Gippsland. I have found this species in the Northern and north Eastern parts of Melbourne but it can also be found in Western suburbs of Melbourne also.
These are very fast moving snakes that have a reputation for being “aggressive” and having a “bad temper”. From my experience this is not the case unless you actually try to handle or kill one of these snakes.
When given the opportunity, the eastern brown will flee if disturbed. However if the East Brown is provoked, it will raise the front part of the body off the ground winding into an “S” shape. Its mouth will gape open and be ready to strike forward. If you see a snake in this position, back away quickly but safely and remove all persons from the area.
Do NOT in any circumstances try to handle one of these snakes. Only licensed snake catchers and snake handlers can properly deal with these snakes. In some cases, when severely provoked, the eastern brown has been known to chase away the aggressor biting repeatedly.
Side on photo of an Eastern Brown "S" bend.
I cannot highlight enough how formidable, fast and venomous the Eastern Brown snake is. The brown snake family is responsible for more deaths than any other snake in Australia for a reason. Stay away from this snake under all circumstances and call Snake Hunters to protect you, your loved ones and your pets from this beautiful yet dangerous reptile.
If you see an Eastern Brown Snake, call Snake Hunters on 0403 875 409.