Red-bellied Black Snake - Pseudechis porphyriacus

Red-bellied Black Snake

Pseudechis porphyriacus

Danger: Dangerously Venomous Dangerously venomous
Other Names:
Red Belly Black Snake
Family:
Elapidae (Elapid snakes, about 60 species in Australia, about 300 species in the world)
Size: To 2.7 m long, males grow larger than females
Distribution: The Eastern 2/3 of NSW, most of VIC except the most Westerly parts, Parts of SE QLD and small parts of North Coastal QLD, and a few around Adelaide
Status: Presently secure although many are dying from eating toxic cane toads in QLD and northern NSW
Habitat: Wet and dry sclerophyll forests, woodlands, shrublands and rainforests along the slopes, ranges and lowlands, often around waterways
References: Cronin, Wikipedia, Brittanica Online

The Red-bellied Black Snake is one of the common dangerous snakes found in the Blue Mountains and Sydney (and much of eastern Australia). It is not one of the really dangerous snakes, though. My field guide (Cronin) says it is reluctant to bite, and only one human has died from being bitten.

This is just as well as one almost crawled (slithered?) right over my head once when I was about 18. I was lying on my back on a rock in the bush and a friend said "There's a black snake behind your head". He was right and it was about 3 feet (1 metre) away from my head, moving in my direction. I got up and the snake didn't seem too worried about me, although we all left the area pretty fast after that.

In pencil in my field guide I have written "0.8% chance of mortality with no antivenom", and a reference to "TP&A", though I can't remember what book that is — I will fix that up later...

They are often found near water, and I have heard that they like to be low down in valleys more than high up on ridges. I have seen them near water though the one that crawled up to me was high up on a ridge.

Red-bellied Black Snake - Pseudechis porphyriacus
Photo: Penrith Show, NSW. High Resolution (2983 x 1087)

Red-bellied Black Snake - Pseudechis porphyriacus
Photo: Penrith Show, NSW. High Resolution (2148 x 1447)

Red-bellied Black Snake - Pseudechis porphyriacus
Photo: Penrith Show, NSW. High Resolution (2556 x 1744)

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