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Baby Black Snake
I uncovered a baby snake the other week when doing some work in the yard, red belly is the order of the day around here but I didn't see the red on it. It had to be the smallest snake I've ever seen, even considering the ones I've seen breaching eggs. The small size of it got me to doing some research and got me concerned about it being a small eyed snake.
So long story short as much as I thought I would probably never see it again we met again today:
He has a bit of retained shed on him and I'm tipping it's his first. Such a little tacker! Glad it's a red belly. I stumbled across mum the other day so I'd say shes dropped a bundle and moved on. I just thought someone might appreciate the pics.
For those concerned he was released less than 200meters from where I found him.
Baby Black Snake
It's a Small Eyed Snake.
Small eyed and I would suggest if you don't recognise a snake in the future don't handle it. Although not aggressive these small eyes can supposedly cause fatal bites so you may have dodged a bullet.
It is an easy mistake to make if you are not familiar with Small-eyed Snakes. The ventral scales on a Small-eyed can vary from cream to deep pink, the latter giving the impression of a RBB when viewed from the side. Apart from the difference in eye size, in RBB the red colour is strongest along the ventro-lateral area, they are black under the tail and usually have a black edge to the anterior ventral scales. The snout on RBB is usually a brownish colour while with Small-eyed it the same as the head colour.
I can only assume that you treated the snake as venomous and potentially dangerous as you thought it was a RBB. That is good. The fact that it was a Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens) would not alter the way it should be treated. Both species are accountable for causing one recorded fatality each.
No reflection on the OP because one would have to infer he did the right thing. Nonetheless there is a lesson to be learned. This clearly illustrates the old adage “Never assume”. Treat every snake or snake-like animal as a potentially venomous snake. Identifying snakes purely from pictures is not a sound or recommended method. Each snake species has certain diagnostic features that allow it to be distinguished from other species. Sometimes these are readily observed and sometimes it gets very technical. Until people are at the stage of being able to identify diagnostic features, do NOT take any chance and treat the animal as if it is potentially dangerously venomous.
A common mistake that is often made is that the size of the snake is a good indicator of how dangerous it is. The smallest Australian snake know to be responsible for a fatality was 24 cm. Several fatalities have been caused by snakes of 30 cm or so. Juvenile Death Adders, at 12 cm, are capable of delivering a fatal bite. Take NO chances simply because of size. Otherwise it could be the last mistake you make.
BlueEverything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. [Confucius]
- 24-Nov-12, 11:35 AM #6
- Join Date
- adelaide hills
Yep! agree on the small eyed snake... no touchy!
All snakes I've encountered around these parts here have been red bellies & I've read a fair bit about both & made an educated decision it could be either both and treated it accordingly. I've got one adult in the backyard keeping the mice at bay I don't need another.
Thanks Bluetongue your input is much appreciated as always.
And thanks to all the positive & id input.
Last edited by fourexes; 24-Nov-12 at 12:32 PM.
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