Snakes of the Sunshine Coast
Commonly Encountered Species
Coastal Carpet Python(Morelia spilota mcdowelli), non-venomous.
The most commonly encountered snake here on the Sunshine Coast. These pythons are a moderate - heavy build an are highly variable in colour and patterns reaching an average size of 2.5m but can reach upwards of 3-4m! They’re non venomous and not considered dangerous, in saying that always treat every snake with caution. Usually very reluctant to bite if left alone. Very skilled climber and most common snake found in roof cavities. Coastal carpet pythons typically consume mammals(rodents, possums, flying foxes, etc.) also birds, frogs an other reptiles.
Common Tree Snake(Dendrelaphis punctulata), Non venomous.
Usually very reluctant to bite and will emit a strong odour if threatened. Other common names are green tree snake, tree snake, yellow-bellied black snake and grass snake. Average length of adults is 1.2m but have been known to grow up to 2m! A very slender thin snake with long, thin tail and large prominent eyes. Highly variable in colour ranging from green, blue, olive, yellow, brown and black! These snakes are very alert and swift moving. Commonly encountered all over the Sunshine Coast often found in homes, suburban yards & parks. Common tree snakes feed on frogs and skinks but are known to also consume fish!
Keelback(Tropidonophis mairii), non venomous.
Usually very reluctant to bite and will emit a strong odour if threatened. Also known as the freshwater snake, water snake and swamp tiger. These snakes can be found across the entire Sunshine Coast region, usually found in suburbs near creeks, swamps, waterways and moist regions. Average adult size is 60-70cm but can reach up 90cm. Colours variable but typically found in shades of grey, brown or olive with irregular, broken cross-bands or flecks of darker and lighter shades of brown and cream, a distinct feature on this snake is the raised longitudinal ridge, giving the snake a keeled appereance. This particular species is often noted for it’s ability to successfully consume the toxic cane toad, will also consume frogs, lizards, fish and tadpoles.
Brown Tree Snake(Boiga irregularis), mildly venomous.
Bites can cause localised pain, swelling with possible headaches and nausea, generally considered minimal risk to all except young children. Keeping in mind every snake bite should be treated seriously and medical advice should be sought. Also known as night tiger, dolls eye snake, eastern brown tree snake. Average adult size is 1.2-1.4m but can reach up to 2m. Strictly a nocturnal snake, very skilled climber and can be found across most of the Sunshine Coast. Large eyes with vertical pupils, colours vary from brown to reddish-brown and orange. Brown tree snakes consume birds, bird eggs, frogs, reptiles and small mammals.
Yellow-faced Whip Snake(Demansia psammophis), mildly venomous.
Bites are potentially dangerous to small children and pets, bites may cause localised swelling, redness and pain to area and limb of bite site. Average length of adults is 65-75cm but have been known to grow over 90cm. Very slender snake with long, thin tail and large prominent eyes. Typically found in a pale olive, bluish grey or brown, often with a rusty flush on the the front-third of the body. Distinct facial feature with a dark comma-shaped marking curving back below the eye. These snakes are very alert, with good vision and swift moving. Commonly encountered all over the Sunshine Coast often found in suburban yards & parks. Typically consumes small lizards, frogs and their eggs.
White Crowned Snake(Cacophis harriettae), weakly venomous.
This species is not considered dangerous to humans with a tiny mouth and short fangs, reluctant biter relying more on bluff, in an attempt to intimidate will rear up and 'mock strike' with a closed mouth. Average length of adults is 30-40cm. A small snake with small eyes, steel-grey to dark grey both upper an under with a distinct broad band across the nape extending forward to the tip, white or pale-yellowish in colour. Secretive nocturnal snake, sheltering by day under moist litter, compost, mulch, rocks and logs. Can be encountered right through the Sunshine Coast region feeding on skinks and lizards.
Eastern Small Eyed Snake(Cryptophis nigrescens), highly venomous.
Treat this species with extreme caution bites have caused 1 human fatality, and will readily bite and thrash about if handled or threatened. SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ATTENTION. Average length of adults is 50cm but up 1m. Small snake with small black eyes, glossy black to dark grey with pink or cream belly occasionally with dark spots. Regularly misidentified as a red-bellied black snake by the general public, encountered across the entire Sunshine Coast region. Secretive nocturnal snake, sheltering by day under sheets of bark, sheets of tin, wood piles, rocks and logs. Diet consists of skinks an other small reptiles, their eggs an occasionally frogs.
Red-bellied Black Snake(Pseudechis porphyriacus), highly venomous.
This species needs to be treated with caution. SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ATTENTION if bitten. Average length of adults is 1.5m but up to 2m. Uniform glossy black along entire upper body, belly has a pink flush with the red becoming bright and prominent moving from the belly along the flank to the sides, often found with a brown nose and jaw. Active by day but has been found on hot nights, favors wet habitats; rainforests, flood plains, swamps and suburbs near bodies of freshwater. Usually a reclusive, shy snake that will flatten out an inflate its body in attempt to intimidate if threatened. Primarily feeds on frogs, other reptiles(including other snakes) an occasionally small mammals.
Eastern Brown Snake(Pseudonaja textilis), highly venomous.
Treat with extreme caution will readily bite if threatened or handled, SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ATTENTION if bitten, accounts for more fatalities than any other species. Average length of adults is 1.4m but up to 2m. Highly variable in colors ranging from pale tan, bright orange, russet, brown, grey and black, belly usually cream, yellow or orange with orange spots; can be found with cross banding(more common in juveniles). Active by day but has been found on hot nights, can be found right across the sunshine coast region. This is the 2nd most toxic land snake in the world(in reference to the Ld50 chart). Primarily feeds on rodents an small mammals, but occasionally other reptiles(including other snakes) and frogs.
Infrequently Encountered Snakes of the Sunshine Coast
+ Sea Snakes & Other Reptile Species
Spotted Python(Antaresia maculosa), non venomous.
Average adult size is 75cm-1m but up to 1.5m. Nocturnal and thought to be restricted to certain regions such as Mt Tinbeerwah, Mt Coolum, Buderim, Mt Ninderry and the Glasshouse Mountains.
Marsh Snake(Hemiasphis signata), mildly venomous.
Average adult size is 50cm but up to 70cm. Active by day but also active on hot nights, uncommon throughout most of the region although common near beerwah and found in the noosa regions.
Golden Crowned Snake(Cacophis squamulosus), weakly venomous.
Average size is 50cm but up to 90cm. Nocturnal and mostly encountered in rainforests and moist regions, often seen crossing the road in the hinterland.
Dwarf Crowned Snake(Cacophis krefftii), weakly venomous.
Average size of adults are 25-35cm. Small secretive nocturnal snake, rarely encountered an often victim to roaming cats.
Bandy-Bandy(Vermicella annulata), weakly venomous.
Average size of adults are 50-60cm but up to 90cm. Nocturnal burrowing snake, rarely encountered and has a unique defensive display; holding braced loops of its body off the ground when threatened(see photos)
Rough-Scaled Snake(Tropidechis carinatus), highly venomous
If encountered treat with extreme caution has caused human fatalities, SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ATTENTION if bitten. This Species will flatten out an inflate its body in attempt to intimidate if threatened and readily strike if provoked further. Average size of adults are 70cm but up to 1m. Active both day and night, usually only encountered in moist regions at altitude but has been found up and down the sunshine coast region. This species is often confused with the harmless Keelback snake.
Tiger Snake(Notechis scutatus), highly venomous.
If encountered treat with extreme caution has caused human fatalities, SEEK URGENT MEDICAL ATTENTION. This Species will flatten out an inflate its body in attempt to intimidate if threatened and readily strike if provoked further. Average size of adults are 1m but up to 1.3m. Active both day and night, thought to be restricted to the beerwah, landsborough, pelican waters and caloundra regions.
Stephens banded snake(Hoplocephalus stephensii), Dangerously Venomous.
restricted to our hinterland regions and habitats alike, it’s a nocturnal species that is largely arboreal(meaning it’s a skilled climber) with a total length of around 1-1.2m.
Lesser Black Whip Snake(Demansia Vestigiata), Potentially dangerously venomous.
Average adult length of 1.3m, this species is only found in a few pockets of bush land around the Sunshine Coast and very rarely sighted or encountered.
Eastern Bearded Dagon(Pogona barbata), harmless.
Also known as the Coastal bearded dragon. Average size of 25cm.
Eastern blue-tongued skink(Tiliqua scincoides scincoide), harmless.
Also known as the eastern blue tongue lizard. Average size is 30-45cm.
Pink-Tongued Skink(Cyclodomorphus gerrardii), harmless.
Average size of 40cm(including tail).
Eastern Water Dragon(Itellagama lesueurii), harmless.
Average size of 60cm-1m, with males growing larger then the females.
Lace Monitor(Varanus varius), potentially dangerous.
A large strong lizard that can reach 2 m in length and weigh 14kg. Also know as a Goanna or Tree Goanna.
Frill-necked Lizard(Chlamydosaurus kingii)
The iconic Australian lizard found in small pockets of bush land and unfortunately due to the rapid urbanization of the Sunshine Coast over recent years.
Burton's Legless Lizard(Lialis burtonis), harmless.
Also known as a Burton's Snake Lizard. Average size of 30-40cm.
Three-Clawed Worm Skink(Anomalopus verreauxii), harmless.
Also known as Verreaux’s Skink. Average size is 30cm.
Common Scaly-Foot(Pygopus lepidopodus), Harmless
Average size of 60cm.
Olive-headed Sea Snake(Hydrophis major), highly venomous.
Can reach 2 m in length.
Elegant Sea Snake(Hydrophis elegans), highly venomous.
Similar appearance the Olive-headed Sea Snake an also growing to a length of 2 meters.
Yellow-bellied Sea Snake(Hydrophis platurus), highly venomous.
Average length of 80cm.
Turtle-headed Sea Snake(Emydocephalus annulatus), mildly venomous.
Average size of 60-70cm.
OTHER SPECIES RARELY SIGHTED ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
The Common Death Adder(thought to be restricted to the Kenilworth and Connondale Ranges now due to urbanization) and The Coastal Taipan(rarely ever sighted in the sunshine coast region, but has been reported towards the northern end; closest reliable sighting recently Teewah Beach(captive specimen pictured).
*Not all species of reptiles & sea snakes are listed.
*NO SNAKES OR REPTILES WERE HARMED IN ANYWAY WHILE BEING PHOTOGRAPHED AN ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN ON THE SUNSHINE COAST*