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Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus)

My favourite snake to catch is the red bellied black snake. These snakes are very beautiful and typically have a great temperament. The first time I encountered a red bellied black snake was as a child and my fascination continued until this day.

Red Bellied Black Snake found on property in Yan Yean


The red bellied black snake has a unique appearance. It has an immaculately shiny (glossy) black back and head with a deep read or cream red belly (underside) with a more prominent red on the flanks. Typically they grow up to 2 metres long. A recent one was caught in Queensland that was reportedly twice the size of an average adult and weighed over 10kgs. Generally though, they rarely reach this size.


Red bellied black snakes are a dangerously venomous species. Their bites contain strong hemotoxic and cytotoxic venom which have anticoagulant and myotoxic effects.

Symptoms of a bite include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Headache

  • Abdominal Pain

  • Diarrhoea

  • Sweating

  • Local/general muscle pain and weakness

  • Red/brown urine.

  • Death (in some cases)

Red Bellied Black Snake Captured in car in Mernda


Red bellied black snakes love to feed on frogs, reptiles (including other snakes), fish and will also eat small mammals. They search far and wide for food on land and in water and can climb over fences and houses to try to find food.

These snakes typically mate in spring and mid-summer and females give birth to up to around 19 live snakes.


These snakes are found all the way from north east Queensland through New South Wales to Victoria and south eastern parts of South Australia. They are typically found in areas with good water supplies such as rivers, creek banks, swamps, rain forests and dams. I typically find this snake on the eastern and northern suburbs outside of Melbourne. However I have caught one in the middle of Whittlesea shopping strip and another red bellied black in a car dashboard in Mernda.

Distribution of Red Bellied Black Snakes in Australia.


This species is active by day. They are typically a very shy snake and will often freeze to avoid detection. When approached, the red bellied black snake will almost always try to flee at first instead towards the nearest hiding spot. When unable to escape, these snakes usually spread their neck, hiss, make mock strikes with a closed mouth “head butting” the target.

If severely provoked, injured or made to fear for its life, red bellied black snakes can deliver a very fast bite whereby they hang on and continue to chew the victim.

A Captured Red Bellied Black Snake Trying to Escape

For more information contact Snake Hunter on 0403 875 409

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