Herp Trader


[top]Overview

The most commonly known species of Black Snake, also called the common Black Snake. It has four relatives, the Mulga, Spotted Mulga, Collett's and the Blue Bellied Black Snake.

This snake would be the easiest to identify of all Australian elapids. Its whole body is jet black, yet tends to fade to a dark brown prior to sloughing. The belly is red to a creamy pink. Northern specimens tend to have paler ventral scales compared with snakes from Victoria and southern New South Wales. The body is fairly thick set and they have large scales and a divided anal plate. The iris is dark brown.

This snake is adapted for cooler climates being able to warm up quickly with its dark colouring. It often frequents streams and creeks, where it hunts its favourite food, frogs. Their numbers have been greatly reduced due to Cane Toads and people with the "ol' shovel". Thankfully people are now learning that snakes don't pose a threat and less are being killed for being a snake. A good thing too as Red Bellied Black Snakes are one of the Eastern Brown Snake major predators, keeping their numbers in check. Males wrestle vigorously for mating rights in Spring and the female will lay an average of 12 clear sacs in January to April. These sacs are not eggs but do hold the baby snakes. They hatch about an hour after being layed, in a sense making them viviparous (live birth).

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[top]Range and Habitat

They live along most of the eastern coast, south as far as Melbourne and north up to Frazer Island and even on the island itself. Also a couple of isolated pockets on the coast further north of Frazer Island.

[top]Diet and Feeding

These snakes feed mostly on frogs in the wild, however will eat any animal they can can fit down their mouths. Some people refer to these snakes as the garbage can of the snakeworld. They are also cannibalistic. Their diet consists 60% frogs, 31% reptiles and 9% mammals.

[top]Reproduction



[top]Captivity

These snake are extremely easy to keep. They are excellent feeders, accepting everything offered (even fish) and hatchlings don't take long to snatch up pinkies. They could be called a "lazy" snake preferring to soak up the sun rather than try to escape and become very docile. It is possible to have one of these sit around your shoulders like a python. Care should always be taken though as they are the 21st most venomous snake in the world. A bite is not class as fatal, (There have only been two deaths credited to the Red Bellied Black, both toddlers before the creation of antivenene) but all bites hurt a lot and make you extremely sick.



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